Teaching General Chemistry: A History and Philosophy of Science Approach


Mansoor Niaz
University de Oriente, Venezuela

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU029030

The main objective of this monograph is to incorporate history and philosophy of science in the chemistry curriculum in order to provide students an overview of the dynamics of scientific research, which involves controversies, conflicts and rivalries among scientists, that is the humanizing aspects of science.
A major thesis of this book is the parallel between the construction of knowledge by the students and the scientists. In looking for this relationship, it is not necessary that ontogeny recapitulate phylogeny, but rather to establish that students can face similar difficulties in conceptualizing problems as those faced by the scientists in the past. Given the vast amount of literature on students’ alternative conceptions (misconceptions) in science, it is plausible to suggest that these can be considered not as mistakes, but rather as tentative models, leading to greater conceptual understanding. Just as scientists resist changes in the ‘hard-core’ of their beliefs by offering ‘auxiliary hypotheses’, students may adopt similar strategies. Conceptual change, in science education can thus be conceptualized as building of tentative models that provide greater explanatory power to students’ understanding. (Imprint: Nova)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 – An introduction to the history and philosophy of science; pp. 1-7

Chapter 2 – Framework to understand conceptual change; pp. 9-18

Chapter 3 – A methodology for science instruction based on the history and philosophy of science; pp. 19-22

Chapter 4 – Understanding mole; pp. 23-26

Chapter 5 – Understanding stoichiometry: conflicts, lacunae, and perturbations; pp. 27-35

Chapter 6 – Understanding atomic structure: baroque tower on a Gothic base; pp. 37-57

Chapter 7 – Understanding gases: from ‘algorithmic mode’ to ‘conceptual gestalt’; pp. 59-72

Chapter 8 – Understanding heat energy and temperature: How students resist conceptual change from caloric to kinetic theory?; pp. 73-83

Chapter 9 – Understanding chemical equilibrium: Facilitating conceptual change; pp. 85-115

Chapter 10 – Epistemological beliefs of students and teachers about the nature of science; pp. 117-131

Chapter 11 – Conclusions; pp. 133-139


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