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Crafting Molecular Geometries: Implications of Neuro-Pedagogy for Teaching Chemical Content

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journal contribution
posted on 01.03.2021, 15:05 by Debora Marchak, Inna Shvarts-Serebro, Ron Blonder
Using three-dimensional models in chemistry is a common teaching practice aimed at elevating the level of understanding of abstract concepts. However, the experience of using chemical models is still quite passive in terms of students’ input, requiring the students to utilize mainly visual, auditory, and some tactile information processing pathways. We present here a sequence of four short activities, which together constitute a change in the traditional teaching practice regarding molecular geometry. The goal is to offer a more active approach to working with models, one that involves multiple content processing pathways and exposes the learner to varied modes of learning. This set of activities was developed in line with the neuropedagogical literature while keeping in mind the brain mechanisms expected to affect learning and memory consolidation. We kept the activities simple so that implementation requires only minor adjustments to the routine practice, thus making this neuropedagogical approach accessible to chemistry teachers. A positive contribution of this kind of approach was evident from the scores of 10th grade chemistry students during consequent pilots.