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Chemistry in context: Students’ problem-solving processes and teachers’ scaffolding — an international perspective

Research project One suggestion from previous chemistry education research striving towards meaningful learning, is to implement context-based learning (CBL) approaches. In this project, students’ problem solving of meaningful tasks in order to characterise the cognitive aspects of students’ learning is explored.

The purpose of the project is to explore how students reason about concepts and contexts related to organic chemistry, an important topic within school chemistry and everyday life, and how this reasoning is affected both through scaffolding from teachers as well as how the curriculum is written (i.e. with a context-based or a more conventional approach).

Head of project

Karolina Broman
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2017-01-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Science and Mathematics Education

Project description

In this project, focus will be on students’ problem-solving strategies, i.e. how students approach new problems aiming for higher order thinking, in this case context-based chemistry tasks. Moreover, since teachers often need to scaffold students in their problem-solving process, analysis of both students’ responses as well as an interviewer’s hints from think-aloud interviews will be analysed according to a chemistry-specific framework, the Model of Hierarchical Complexity in Chemistry, MHC-C. This framework makes it possible to assess students’ chemistry content knowledge within evidence-based, outcome-oriented educational systems such as the Swedish school system and has proven useful in previous empirical studies.