Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 355-369

First online:

Using Drawing Technology to Assess Students’ Visualizations of Chemical Reaction Processes

  • Hsin-Yi ChangAffiliated withGraduate Institute of Science Education and Environmental Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University Email author 
  • , Chris QuintanaAffiliated withSchool of Education, University of Michigan
  • , Joseph KrajcikAffiliated withCollege of Education and College of Natural Science, Michigan State University

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In this study, we investigated how students used a drawing tool to visualize their ideas of chemical reaction processes. We interviewed 30 students using thinking-aloud and retrospective methods and provided them with a drawing tool. We identified four types of connections the students made as they used the tool: drawing on existing knowledge, incorporating dynamic aspects of chemical processes, linking a visualization to the associated chemical phenomenon, and connecting between the visualization and chemistry concepts. We also compared students who were able to create dynamic visualizations with those who only created static visualizations. The results indicated a relationship between students constructing a dynamic view of chemical reaction processes and their understanding of chemical reactions. This study provides insights into the use of visualizations to support instruction and assessment to facilitate students’ integrated understanding of chemical reactions.


Understanding Visualization Chemical reaction Secondary education