Research in Science Education

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 285–300 | Cite as

Problem-Based Learning in 9th Grade Chemistry Class: ‘Intermolecular Forces’

  • Leman Tarhan
  • Hulya Ayar-Kayali
  • Raziye Ozturk Urek
  • Burcin Acar


This research study aims to examine the effectiveness of a problem-based learning (PBL) on 9th grade students’ understanding of intermolecular forces (dipole–dipole forces, London dispersion forces and hydrogen bonding). The student’s alternate conceptions about intermolecular bonding and their beliefs about PBL were also measured. Seventy-eight 9th grade students were stratified by cognitive levels and then randomly assigned to experimental (PBL, 40 students) and control (lecture-style teaching, 38 students) groups. Following a preparatory lesson where activation and remediation of existing knowledge occur, a pre-test was given, and no significant difference was found between the two groups of students (p > .05). After the instruction was completed, a post-test and also a questionnaire related to the quality of the problem, the teacher’s role and group functioning were administered. Results from the post-test of both groups (p < .05) and questionnaire showed that PBL is affective on students’ achievement, remedying formation of alternate conceptions and also social skills.


Problem-based learning Intermolecular forces Alternate conceptions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leman Tarhan
    • 1
  • Hulya Ayar-Kayali
    • 1
  • Raziye Ozturk Urek
    • 1
  • Burcin Acar
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemistry Education, Faculty of EducationDokuz Eylul UniversityIzmirTurkey

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