Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Heather Miller

Abstract

Many students have problems learning stoichiometry, a complex mathematical chemistry concept used to determine how much product will be produced or formed from a given quantity of reactants. The problem addressed in this study was teachers' lack of understanding of how to teach stoichiometry in a Midwestern urban school district. The conceptual framework of the study was based upon constructivist theory. A qualitative narrative approach was used to obtain the perceptions of 5 high school chemistry instructors related to their experiences, successful or unsuccessful, in teaching stoichiometry to students in Grades 10 and 11. Data were gathered through face-to-face interviews, which were analyzed via an inductive approach to reveal 6 themes: a difficult subject to teach, presentation of stoichiometry, relevancy, students' reactions, barriers, and gender differences. Findings suggested the need for teachers to be knowledgeable, creative, and resourceful in their subject areas to help their students to learn stoichiometry. Findings also revealed the need for teachers to adapt their instructional strategies and modes of delivery to reflect their students' individual learning styles. Understanding how the participating teachers explained stoichiometry to their students might help other chemistry teachers to examine and adapt their own instructional styles and delivery methods of the concept. This understanding might, in term, help to improve student achievement in stoichiometry in particular and chemistry in general.