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Alternative Conceptions in Chemistry Its Implications to Chemistry Teaching


Lets do some exercise!

1. Based on this equation, Zn (s) + CuSO4 (aq)

ZnSO4 (aq) +Cu (s)

What will be the same before and after the reaction? a) b) c) d) e) The number of molecules of all substances involved. The number of atoms of each type involved. The sum of the masses of all substances involved. Both (b) and (c) must be the same. Each of the answers (a), (b), and (c) must be the same.

What do you think the correct answer???

2. A beaker of pure water has been boiling for 30 minutes and bubbles are formed. What is in the bubbles in the boiling water? a) b) c) d) Tiny water droplets. Oxygen and Hydrogen gases. Heat. Water vapor.

What do you think the answer for this question???

Students always misconception about Chemistry..

What exactly the meaning of misconception???


Students self-constructed conceptions that are not in agreement with accepted scientific ideas.

It will make Chemistry is difficult to learn and students lost interest to study!

Preconceived notions
rooted in everyday experiences ( heat, energy, and gravity)

Nonscientific beliefs
views learned by students from sources other than scientific education

Factual misconceptions
The thing you learned from early age is unchanged until you adulthood. It will remain at your belief system.

Terms in Misconception

Vernacular misconceptions
the use of words that mean one thing in everyday life and another in a scientific context

Conceptual misunderstandings
Students are taught scientific information in a way that they do not understand. Students tend to build their own nonscientific belief.

Hmm.. What I think are : 1. When water boils and give bubbles, the bubbles are air, oxygen or hydrogen. 2. Steam will become air when it disappear. 3. Ice molecules are colder than water molecules. 4. Condensation is when air turns into a water.

Are they Correct???

But, in the scientific way, the correct concept are: 1. Bubbles formed by boiling water consist of water vapor (steam). 2. When water vapor condenses in the air it is visible as tiny water droplets. 3. Ice molecules have less kinetic energy than water molecules. 4. Condensation is water vapor in the air that cools enough to become a water.

Experiences encountered in daily life.

Chemical terms that have changed their meaning.


Particle of sands something that we can see!

Atom, ion and molecule something that we cannot see!

The Difficulties of Students to relate Chemistry knowledge with micro, macro, and symbolic level.
Micro?? Macro?? Symbolic??

Micro-Atom are burning? Macro Symbolic reaction for burning process?

Students have difficulties to change their point of view that they have since childhood

Oh, things that we can see do not have any mass!

Argghh.. Why they said gasses have mass?? We cannot see it!

The religion and mythical facts are always differ from scientific facts


Characteristics of Misconception

Characteristics of Misconception
hard to change


well embedded

difficult to extinguish

Implications to Chemistry Teaching

Implications to Chemistry Teaching

Teacher should aware of students idea

Teacher should allow students to express their own preconceptions

Teacher should give some proof to support the scientists view

Implications to Chemistry Teaching

Teacher should identify students' misconceptions.

Teacher must help students to reconstruct and internalize their knowledge, based on scientific models.

Teacher can use demonstrations to help students to overcome misconceptions

Implications to Chemistry Teaching

Student have to solve practical problems by using concepts as a basic.

Teacher can use questions and discussion in class to avoid additional misunderstanding in class

Teacher can use a variety of teaching techniques and strategies to overcome misconceptions.

Model of Teaching

Needham 5 phase

Needham 5 phase
Phase 1: Orientation
Find a problem to solve

Phase 2: Generation of Ideas

Questions and answers that encourage thinking based on problem given.
Explore students prior knowledge

Needham 5 phase
Phase 3: Restructuring of Ideas
Hand-on and minds on activities. Example: discussion, presentation and so on.

Phase 4: Application of Ideas

Problem solving based on students idea

Needham 5 phase
Phase 5: Reflection
Reflect on the students ideas Monitor the progress of learning Correct the errors Analyze effective strategies Change the learning when necessary