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    Understanding of the Mole Concept Achieved by Students in a Constructivist General Chemistry Course

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    The purpose of this research project was to study the conceptual understanding achieved in a general chemistry course based on a constructivist approach. A group of 28 students participated in repeated measures obtained by means of conceptual maps about the mole concept prepared three times during the course: at the beginning the course, immediately after the concept was studied, and after studying other related concepts. In addition, eight students selected from the group of 28 were interviewed. The interviews were carried out focusing on their conceptual maps. The analysis of the repeated measures indicated signiļ¬cant differences among the three times, especially between the ļ¬rst two. It was evidenced, therefore, that these students obtained a signiļ¬cantly higher level of understanding of the mole concept. The qualitative analysis carried out with students identiļ¬ed a broad range of responses that represent different levels of hierarchical organization, of progressive differentiation, and of formation of signiļ¬cant relations of the mole concept. Some recommendations offered are to develop and implement teaching methods that promote understanding of scientiļ¬c concepts, and to prepare science professors and teachers to emphasize teaching for conceptual understanding
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