Students' dilemmas in reaction stoichiometry problem solving: deducing the limiting reagent in chemical reactions

Article


Chandrasegaran, A. L., Treagust, David F., Waldrip, Bruce G. and Chandrasegaran, Antonia. 2009. "Students' dilemmas in reaction stoichiometry problem solving: deducing the limiting reagent in chemical reactions ." Chemistry Education Research and Practice. 10 (1), pp. 14-23. https://doi.org/10.1039/B901456J
Article Title

Students' dilemmas in reaction stoichiometry problem solving: deducing the limiting reagent in chemical reactions

ERA Journal ID20659
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsChandrasegaran, A. L. (Author), Treagust, David F. (Author), Waldrip, Bruce G. (Author) and Chandrasegaran, Antonia (Author)
Journal TitleChemistry Education Research and Practice
Journal Citation10 (1), pp. 14-23
Number of Pages10
Year2009
Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
ISSN1756-1108
1756-1116
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1039/B901456J
Web Address (URL)http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2009/RP/b901456j
Abstract

A qualitative case study was conducted to investigate the understanding of the limiting reagent concept and the strategies used by five Year 11 students when solving four reaction stoichiometry problems. Students’ written problem-solving strategies were studied using the think-aloud protocol during problem-solving, and retrospective verbalisations after each activity. Contrary to several findings reported in the research literature, the two high-achieving students in the study tended to rely on the use of a memorised formula to deduce the limiting reagent, by comparing the actual mole ratio of the reactants with the stoichiometric mole ratio. The other three average-achieving students, however, generally deduced the limiting reagent from first principles, using the stoichiometry of the balanced chemical equation. Overall, the students displayed limited confidence during problem-solving to determine the limiting reagent and to perform related computations.

Keywordslimiting reagent; reasoning strategies; retrospective verbalisations; stoichiometry problem solving; think-aloud protocols
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520402. Decision making
390113. Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
340601. Catalysis and mechanisms of reactions
390306. Secondary education
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Byline AffiliationsCurtin University of Technology
Faculty of Education
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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