– PREVENTION, DIAGNOSIS, AND CURE
A 2 volume resource for classroom teachers
of Cambridge, Faculty of Education
by Keith Taber, London:
by Dr. Keith S. Taber, University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education.
These materials were developed during the author’s RSC Teacher
Fellowship (the 2000-2001 academic year), when he was Visiting Fellow at the
University of London Institute of Education.
They are the outcome of a project, fully funded by the RSC,
‘Challenging Misconceptions in the Classroom’.
purpose and approach of the project is reported in a paper: ‘Constructing
Chemical Concepts in the Classroom?: using research to inform practice’
published in the internet journal CERAPIE (Chem. Educ. Res. Pract. Eur.: 2001, 2, 43-51) and is available freely on the web at
materials are published in two volumes. The
first book provides background based on current thinking about how learning
occurs, and the types of ‘learning blocks’ that lead to ‘misconceptions’
in chemistry. Key chemistry
concepts (the particle model of matter, bonding, chemical change, chemical
equations etc.) are discussed in some detail.
The discussion draws upon research evidence and data from the project
itself: in the form of pupil responses to classroom probes.
chapter headings are:
conceptions in chemistry teaching; Concepts in chemistry; The structure of
chemical knowledge; Overcoming learning impediments; Scaffolding learning in
chemistry; Chemical axioms; Chemical structure; Chemical bonding; Chemical
reactions; Constructing chemical conceptions.
second volume provides classroom materials for use when exploring and
challenging pupils’ ideas and misconceptions about central chemical topics.
(These materials can also be down-loaded from the RSC website.)
classroom materials are entitled:
reaction to form silver chloride; Acid revision map; Changes in chemistry;
Chemical comparisons; Chemical stability; Completing word equations; Definitions
in chemistry; Elements, compounds or mixtures; Examples of chemical explanations;
Explaining acid strength; Interactions; Ionic bonding; Ionisation energy; Iron;
Mass and dissolving; Predicting the melting temperature of carbon; Reaction
mechanisms; Spot the bonding; Stability and reactivity; The atom and the solar
system; The periodic table; Types of chemical reaction; Why do hydrogen and
fluorine react?; Learning impediment record sheet
publication appears to have been well received.
The Journal of Chemical Education’s website has a ‘Chemical Education
Resource Shelf’ and named Chemical misconceptions : prevention, diagnosis
and cure as its pick of the month for September 2002…
for September, 2002: I usually avoid writing in this space about materials that
one might use directly in the classroom, since I am trying encourage teachers to
expand their scope. However, this two volume set recently published by the Royal
Society of Chemistry is enough to make me change the rules.
Keith Taber has clearly spent a great deal of time researching the causes
of student misconceptions about chemistry.
The first volume of the set provides the basis for understanding
impediments to student learning, and suggests strategies for overcoming them.
Volume 2 is conveniently wire-bound to facilitate the copying of the worksheets,
transparencies, and diagrams that it contains.
The books are both very oriented toward the development of mental models
and pictorial representations of chemical systems, rather than the memorization
of facts. I will be using some of
the materials from these two very interesting books in the workshops that
accompany the introductory chemistry class I am now teaching. Because chemistry is introduced to younger children in the UK
than here, even more of the material could be used directly in junior high
school or high school courses. The
principles of teaching apply at any level.
One can download student worksheets from this publication from the .” (Source of quotation -
accessed on 19th December 2002.)