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Students’ Achievements in Solving Authentic Tasks with 3D Dynamic Sub-Microscopic Animations About Specific States of Water and their Transition

Miha Slapničar, Valerija Tompa, Saša A. Glažar, Iztok Devetak, Jerneja Pavlin


This paper aims to identify differences in the justification of the selection of 3D dynamic submicroscopic-representation (SMR) of the solid and liquid states of water, as well as the freezing of water presented in selected authentic tasks. According to students’ achievements in solving these tasks at different levels of education, their explanations were identified. To explain in greater detail how students attempted to solve the authentic tasks, an eye-tracking method was used to identify the differences in the total fixation durations on specific areas of interest at the specific SMRs between successful and unsuccessful students in three age groups. A total of 79 students participated in this research. The data were collected with a structured interview conducted with students when solving three authentic tasks displayed on the computer screen. The tasks comprise text (as problem and questions), macro-images (photos of the phenomena) and SMRs of the phenomena. The eye-tracker was also used to measure the students’ gaze fixations at the particular area of interest. The results show that successful students’ justifications for a correct SMR include macroscopic and sub-microscopic representations of the chosen concepts. Along different stages of education, the selection success increases and sufficient justifications comprise the sub-microscopic level. It could be concluded that there are mostly no significant differences between successful and unsuccessful students within the same age group in the total fixation duration at the correct SMR. Further studies are needed to investigate the information-processing strategies between high and low achievers in solving various authentic tasks comprising SMRs and those that integrate all three levels of the representation of chemical concepts.


States of water; freezing of water; authentic tasks; 3D dynamic SMR; eye tracking

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Copyright (c) 2020 Miha Slapničar, Valerija Tompa, Saša A. Glažar, Iztok Devetak, Jerneja Pavlin

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