Interconnection of Chemical Content in Teacher Training Studies

Concept Map zur Organischen und Physikalischen ChemieImage: aus XMind

Contact person: Marina Birkenstock


In the educational standards for chemistry, the special internal interconnectedness of chemical content is described by the basic concepts (KMK, 2008). However, Baumert et al. have shown that science teaching only shows interconnectedness to a limited extent. Due to a lack of interconnectedness of subject content, it does not only seem to students as if a new and independent chapter is opened with each subject area (Baumert & Lehmann, 1997), but also students of teaching chemistry in university may have such problems. This is even more serious because confidently navigating the multifaceted interconnected content of a subject is an essential aspect of teacher professionalism (Shulman, 2007). The extent to which interconnectedness - if not already inherent in university training - will occur "automatically" in later everyday teaching can be critically questioned when considering the intense pressures on teachers. Therefore, within this project, measures are being developed that test how and at which point the interconnection of chemical contents in the teacher training program can be improved. In a first step, an advance organizer (Ausubel, 1960) in the form of a concept map (Novak, 2008) will be created to enable chemistry students to recognize and internalize the interconnectedness of the chemistry content within their studies. In creating this concept map, we specifically refer to the college level and the corresponding course content. We assume that this is exactly where students lack obvious and relevant interconnections. Both the interconnections within the subfields (inorganic, organic, and physical chemistry) and the interconnections among the subfields are to be considered.

In order to be able to identify the latter, a concept map was first created for the subareas of organic and physical chemistry, which should make possible connections between the subareas clear and accessible. During its development, the concept map was constantly validated by expert interviews.

In order to investigate the effectiveness of such a concept map, it is also crucial to find out to what extent students’ interconnected understanding in chemistry is influenced by it. To answer this, students were asked to work with the concept map in a case study while the movement of their eyes was observed via eye tracking. Thus, it is evaluated whether the way of working with the concept map has a relation to their interconnected understanding.



KMK. (2008): Beschlüsse der Kultusministerkonferenz Bildungsstandards im Fach Chemie für den Mittleren Schulabschluss (Jahrgangsstufe 10): [Beschluss vom 16.12.2004] (KMK, hrsg.). München: Luchterhand.

J. Baumert, R. Lehmann (1997): TIMSS — Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftlicher Unterricht im internationalen Vergleich: Deskriptive Befunde. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.

L. Shulman (2007): Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. Educational Researcher15(2), 4–14. 

D.P. Ausubel (1960): The use of Advance Organizers in the Learning and retention of meaningful verbal material. Journal of Educational Psychology51, 267–272. 

J. D. Novak (2008): The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. IHMC CmapTools, 1–36.