Enhancing elementary science learning through organic chemistry modeling and visualization

Daniel B. Fried 1 * , Pablo P.L. Tinio 2, Aaron Gubi 3, Jean P. Gaffney 4 5
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1 Department of Chemistry, Saint Peter’s University, Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
2 Department of Educational Foundations, Montclair State University, Montclair, New Jersey, USA
3 Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology, Kean University, Union, New Jersey, USA
4 Department of Natural Sciences, Baruch College City University of New York, New York, New York, USA
5 The Graduate Center Program in Biology, City University of New York, New York, New York, USA
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp. 73-82. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9535
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The scientists of the future will need to begin studying science in great depth, much earlier in life, in order to keep up with the accelerating pace of discovery and technological innovation. For this to be possible, engaging and child-friendly pedagogical approaches need to be developed that leverage the natural enthusiasm of young science learners, as many students lose interest in science well before they encounter the rich subject matter of high school and college. This study provides evidence that a specially-designed chemistry curriculum can allow students 8-11 years old to rapidly learn advanced material while motivating them. The curriculum adhered to a backward design strategy and utilized a visual approach to chemistry learning. It also featured extensive use of hand-held organic chemistry model building and computerized molecular modeling activities. The 5-session study involved 63 students from grades 3-5 from an economically disadvantaged urban school in New Jersey. Despite the technical nature of the program, student motivation for chemistry learning was high, and assessment results showed students’ high-level understanding of the material.


Fried, D. B., Tinio, P. P., Gubi, A., & Gaffney, J. P. (2019). Enhancing elementary science learning through organic chemistry modeling and visualization. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 7(2), 73-82. https://doi.org/10.30935/scimath/9535


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