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Research on Bonding Misconception

Hapkiewicz, A. (1991), Clarifying Chemical Bonding. Overcoming Our Misconceptions. The Science Teacher, 5(3), 24-27.

This article of several years ago by Annis Hapkiewicz describes her first hand experience with bonding misconceptions encountered at the high school level. Not only is attention drawn to the widespread exothermic bond-breaking misconception, but also, the incorrect and confusing descriptions of the exothermic nature of ATP hydrolysis found in textbooks is identified as a major source of the confusion. As well, the author stresses the need for harmonizing bonding descriptions in chemistry and biology at an early level. The award-winning high school teacher also describes a number of simple experiments and exercises that can be used to re-enforce the correct picture of chemical bonding.

Boo, H. K., (1998), Students' Understanding of Chemical Bonds and the Energetics of Chemical Reactions. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 35, 569-581. (doi)

In this article Boo describes the results of her PhD studies in which the conceptual grasp of grade 12 high school students in England about the energy changes associated with chemical reactions was examined. Interviews were conducted with 48 students from 5 different high schools. The alternate conception (misconception) that bond making requires an input of energy was found to be common (23 of 48 students) as were contradictory notions.

Teichert, M. and Stacy, A. (2002), Promoting Understanding of Chemical Bonding and Spontaneity through Student Explanation and Integration of Ideas. Journal of Research in Science Teaching. 39, 464-496. (doi)

The research described in this article draws attention to the preconceptions and misconceptions with respect to the energetics of bonding and of thermodynamic stability that are held by students at the first year university level.. The authors describe a study in which improvement is demonstrated in students' conceptual grasp of the energetics of bond making and breaking and of stability following intervention sessions in which the students are encouraged to explore their misconceptions and contradictions through discussion. Rather than simply being informed of the appropriate answers students in this sessions were encouraged to explain to others or self-explain their understanding of these aspects of chemical behavior. The article draws attention to the fact that student bonding misconceptions are supported by descriptions found in texts. This article by Teichert and Stacy as well as that by Boo contain many valuable references.



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