Organic chemistry is a heavily information and structure-laden discipline, and relies on making sense of the implicit deep level. A huge amount of problem-solving and reasoning in organic chemistry requires drawing and/or interpreting structural representations of chemical substances. The ability to interpret a given representation and go beyond the explicit image is thus one of the major skills to successfully perform in chemistry. However less is known about what information students are actually processing when they need to draw connections between a chemical representation and the chemical meaning that it is meant to convey. How do they connect perceptional âsurface-levelâ attributes of a representation with âdeep-levelâ implicit attributes, what are productive resources in students reasoning? To fill this gap, we performed several qualitative studies with undergraduate organic chemistry students to characterize studentsâ mechanistic reasoning and to derive instructional support.
Nicole Graulich (The Institute of Chemistry Education Justus-Liebig-Universitat Gieben)