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VisChem Institute

Moving Students From Description to Explanation with VisChem workshop at the
2024 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education on Sunday, July 28, 2024,
8:30 AM-4:15 PM.

Learning Outcomes for VisChem Institute

A teacher who successfully completes the VisChem Institute should be able to:

  1. Use the particulate level to explain core chemistry concepts; relate these explanations to macroscopic phenomena, symbolic representations (formulas, equations), and mathematical relationships (e.g., concentration as a crowding of particles in a given volume of solution represented as c = n/V).
  2. Identify the limitations of dynamic molecular models generally (and specifically VisChem animations) and recognize how limitations influence student thinking and generate inaccurate ideas.
  3. Use VCI tools (e.g., frames from animations, static models, sample drawings and graphics) and strategies (e.g., peer discussion, storyboarding, attention focusing, segmenting) with students to effectively reduce the cognitive load associated with visualizations.
  4. Diagnose students’ alternative conceptions from drawings and descriptions in storyboards.
  5. Challenge students to notice key features of animations, to make sense of phenomena while also ignoring contextual visual information (e.g., uninvolved water molecules in the background).
  6. Generate questions that encourage students to rationalize macroscopic observations with their own molecular-level drawings and explanations, and express these using conventional symbolism.
  7. Facilitate class discussions that motivate students to imagine molecular processes as a narrative, and improve their storyboards, explanations, and quality of evidence.
  8. Help students to identify generalizable molecular behavior (e.g., competing attractions, effective and ineffective collisions) that enables them to transfer understanding to new chemical systems.
  9. Construct appropriate assessment items that evaluate students’ explanations of phenomena at the three thinking levels for chemistry and aligned with 3D learning.