Development and Assessment of a Paper Electrophoresis Simulation Software for Chemical Equilibrium Teaching and Learning

E. Montagna, G.A. Marzon, B.B. Torres


Chemical Equilibrium misconceptions impaired the learning of many biochemicalundergraduate content. It was widely reinforced by chemical education data. On the otherhand there was no data for the consequences in biochemistry learning. OBJECTIVE Weproposed the construction of an Aminoacid Paper Electrophoresis software as a tool forChemical Equilibrium teaching and learning which aims to integrate the representationallevels, being macroscopic, microscopic and symbolic in a way to evidence to student thedynamic character of the equilibrium phenomena. It attenuates misconceptions andreduces impairments on biochemistry learning. Although the simulator is based onclassical biochemistry topic it is designed to deal with chemical equilibrium concepts in thecontext of biochemistry. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The software is an PaperElectrophoresis Simulator programmed in HTML5 language. It guides the student stepstoward the simulation showing the technique fundamentals and variables allowing tochoose aminoacids in a list, as well as build even tetrapeptides and run even four samplesin a single simulation after what is defined a pH for simulation. The simulation results areshown in a depiction of a paper electrophoresis device (macroscopic) the speciesproportion in the medium based on the Handerson-Hasselbalch formula (symbolic) and thespecies charge change based on the medium pH (microscopic). All activities are guided bya task list based on previous diagnostic on chemical equilibrium misconceptions.RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Results were based on observation of students classdiscussion and survey. Many of previously diagnosed misconceptions were attenuated intests of chemical equilibrium falling from a 72% to 35% error average; and a studentssurvey agreed with simulator objectives (90%), ease of use (94%), chemicalrepresentations straightness (82%), simulation results (71%) integration ofrepresentational levels (87%). CONCLUSIONS: Students declared the software usabilityand reduced its misconceptions on chemical equilibrium.


Educational software, Chemical equilibrium, Misconceptions

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