Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Research suggests that connecting the visible (macroscopic) world of chemical phenomena to the invisible (particulate) world of atoms and molecules enhances student understanding in chemistry (Birk and Yezierski 2006; Gabel, Samuel, and Hunn 1987; Johnstone 1993; Nakhleh 1992). This approach aligns with the science standards (see box, p. 58) and is fundamental to the redesigned AP Chemistry curriculum. However, chemistry is usually taught at the abstract symbolic level, rarely incorporating particulate-level instruction. This article addresses that shortcoming by describing how to use particulate diagrams in a chemistry course.

Original Citation

Pentecost, T., Weber, S., & Herrington, D. (2016). Connecting the Visible World with the Invisible: Particulate Diagrams Deepen Student Understanding of Chemistry. The Science Teacher, 83(5), 53–58.