Building Mental Models: Teaching Carbon and its Compounds to Class X
Stutchbury, K. (Kris) ; Banks, F. (Frank) ; Dewan, H. (Hardy) (2016)
Physical models use real objects to represent parts of a system. Mental models are also representations of systems and processes, but are usually more abstract than physical models. They are schematic rather than concrete, and often use diagrams and equations. The Class X textbook chapter, ‘Carbon and its compounds’, introduces students to different ways of representing molecular structures. If students are to become proficient in their understanding of the topic, they need to make effective use of mental models of molecular structures. All models have their strengths and limitations, and students need to be aware of the strengths and limitations of the models that they use. In this unit the focus will be on helping your students to develop mental models in the context of carbon and its compounds. What you learn about developing mental models will also be applicable to other topics. In this unit you will learn about some of the aspects of carbon chemistry that students often find challenging, how developing appropriate mental models is an important part of learning about carbon compounds, and how you can use physical models to support the development of mental models when teaching about carbon and its compounds.