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Virginia Flood Thesis, Dec. 7 2012

November 27th, 2012
 

The RiSE Center
and the University of Maine

present

ORAL THESIS DEFENSE

 MST Candidate
Virginia J. Flood
Thesis Advisor: Dr. François G. Amar

An abstract of the Thesis Presented
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Science (in Teaching)

December, 2012

 

A PHENOMENOLOGICAL APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING
THE ROLE OF BODILY ACTIVITY IN CHEMICAL
IMAGINING

 

            I present a phenomenological approach to understanding the role of bodily activity when students talk and problem-solve about sub-microscopic three-dimensional chemistry phenomena. Students asked to predict the molecular geometry of small molecules use their bodies to test and enact three-dimensional geometric configurations in the process of devising a solution. Expressive gestures enact chemistry ideas beyond verbal description, demonstrating that chemical knowledge can exist as nonpropositional, embodied action. Insight into these phenomena are achieved through moment-to-moment multimodal microanalysis of students’ experiences during video-recorded interviews. This work adopts an enactivist approach to cognition and argues that researchers and instructors must pay close attention to students’ situated, bodily activity to fully appreciate their chemistry problem-solving strategies and knowledge.

205 Little Hall
Friday, December 7, 2012
4:30 – 6:30 pm

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