STUDENTS’ CONCEPTIONS OF THREE DIMENSIONAL ORGANIC MOLECULAR STRUCTURES IN CHEMISTRY
Background of the Study
In the Nigerian education system, science is so important that it's teaching and learning has been greatly emphasized. Chemistry is one of the most important branches of science; which enables learners to understand what happens around them. Chemistry is a core subject for Medical Sciences, Textile Science, Agricultural Science, Synthetic industry, printing technology, Pharmacy, Chemical technology, etc (Jegede, 2007). Chemistry is one of the science subjects in the science curriculum that is important for any given progress in technology. It occupies a central position among all sciences (Ahiakwo, 2012). The current West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and National Examination Council (NECO) syllabus in chemistry contain topics in physical, inorganic, analytical, and organic chemistry which is the basic focus of this study.
Organic chemistry is an essential part of everyday life and it has enormous economic importance in breweries, cosmetic industry, plastic, etc. Chemistry learning requires much intellectual thought and discernment because it is replete with many abstract concepts (dissolution, particulate nature of matter, bonding and structures, etc.) which are central to further learning in both chemistry and other sciences (Taber, 2002). These abstract concepts are important because further studies in chemistry concepts or theories cannot be easily understood if these underpinning concepts are not sufficiently grasped by students (Coll & reagent, 2001; Nicoll, 2001). One of the essential characteristics of concept learning in chemistry is the constant interplay between the three levels of thought (macroscopic, microscopic, and symbolic levels). In organic chemistry, the symbolic level which involves formulas, structures, and equations, etc is a major challenge to students (Sirhan, 2007).