Learning and Teaching the Basic Quantum Chemical Concepts

Chapter
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 19)

Abstract

In this chapter, after a review of the relevant literature on learning the basic quantum chemical concepts, I analyze and synthesize the findings of a number of my research group’s studies on the relevant misconceptions and learning difficulties occurring with students at the university and the high school level. University chemistry students who had passed the quantum chemistry course (at the physical chemistry level) demonstrated many failures. For many students both at the high school and the university level, the orbitals represent a definite, well-bounded space; also, they do not realize the approximate nature of atomic orbitals for many-electron atoms. The planetary Bohr model is strongly favored, while the probabilistic nature of the orbital concept is absent. Other students hold a hybrid model. A notable difference has been identified in performance on questions that tested recall of knowledge or application of algorithmic procedures with that on questions that required conceptual understanding and/or critical thinking. Four levels of students’ explanations as well as three levels of models have been reported based on Ausubel’s theory of meaningful learning. These were combined into four categories, of which two of the categories are in the rote-learning part of a continuum, while the other two categories are in the meaningful-learning part. Finally, we tested for deep understanding and critical thinking about the basic concepts taught at twelfth grade with the aim to achieve conceptual change in students. The method proved effective in a number of cases and ineffective in others. The chapter is concluded with implications and recommendations for learning and teaching.

Keywords

Quantum Chemistry Conceptual Change Conceptual Understanding Meaningful Learning Conceptual Question 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece

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