Daniel Tan, Goh Ngoh Khang & Chia Lian Sai
National Institute of Education
Keith S. Taber
University of Cambridge
Monograph: February, 2005, ISBN: 981 - 05 - 2995 – 3
Previous research has shown that A-level students in the United Kingdom had difficulty understanding the concepts involved in ionisation energy. This report describes the development and administration of a two-tier multiple choice diagnostic instrument on ionisation energy to determine if A-level students (16 to 19 years old) in Singapore had similar alternative conceptions as their counterparts in the United Kingdom, as well as explore their understanding of the trend of ionisation energy across Period 3. The results showed that students in Singapore applied the same octet rule framework and conservation of force thinking to explain the factors influencing ionisation energy as the students in the United Kingdom. In addition to the above alternative frameworks, many students in Singapore also resorted to relation-based reasoning to explain the trend of ionisation energy across Period 3 elements. The authors believed that the way ionisation energy was taught by teachers and presented in textbooks could be the cause of students’ difficulties in understanding ionisation energy. Teachers and textbooks need to focus explicitly on the effects of nuclear charge, the distance of the electron from the nucleus, the repulsion/screening effect of the other electrons present, and the interplay between these factors to explain the factors influencing ionisation energy and the trend in ionisation energy across period 3.
Full text may be downloaded here:
The text is the copyright of the authors, but is available for 'fair use' in teaching, scholarship and research.
This research was funded by the Academic Research Fund, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (RP 8/00 TKC)
Dr Keith S Taber: firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Cambridge Faculty of Education
© Keith S Taber