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Perceptions of chemistry: Why is the common perception of chemistry, the most visual of sciences, so distorted?

Abstract

Chemistry has evolved from a science dominated by mathematics into a science highly dependent on spatial-visual intelligence. Yet the chemical content of introductory courses remains taught essentially the same as 40–50 years ago. Chemistry, today, is recognized by chemists as the molecular science. Yet, school chemistry is alienated from that perception. Thanks to the computer, young people are more comfortable with visual imaging than their instructors were at the same age. Thus the time is rife to reinvigorate chemistry education by means of the visual-spatial approach, an approach wholly in conformance with the way modern chemistry is thought about and practiced.

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Habraken, C.L. Perceptions of chemistry: Why is the common perception of chemistry, the most visual of sciences, so distorted?. J Sci Educ Technol 5, 193–201 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01575303

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Key Words

  • Chemistry
  • chemistry education
  • multiple intelligences
  • imagery
  • visual-spatial thinking