Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Shayla Evans - Elizabeth City State University
Co-Author(s): James Nyachywa, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND
The study reported here came from a group activity from a general chemistry (II) class. This study looked at the extent to which second semester general chemistry students applied their knowledge of acid-base neutralization in different contexts. The students covered acid-base neutralization in general chemistry (I). As part of the course, they carried out a lab experiment on neutralization involving a strong acid and a strong base, and determined the end-point using an indicator. In this research study through a series of ‘leading questions’ students (in groups of 3-5) were expected to apply their prior knowledge of acidbase neutralization to conductiometry, where the acid-base reaction would be monitored using electrical conductivity. Results indicate that students struggled with very basic ideas regarding acid-base chemistry, such as identifying the right species involved in a neutralization reaction. Students also struggled with providing symbolic and sub-microscopic representations of the acid-base reaction. Most students could not accurately predict how electrical conductivity would change as the neutralization reaction progressed. None of the groups provided an accurate sketch depicting the trend of electrical conductivity. None of the groups correctly applied acid-base ideas to the context of conductiometry, indicating that students were not able to transfer knowledge to this new context.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): National Science Foundation REU Grant Number; #1156974 North Dakota State University
Faculty Advisor: Raynard Townsel,