New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Enhancing Students’ Motivation to Learn the Chemical Elements Using Map Puzzles in Secondary Education

Antonio-Joaquín Franco-Mariscal, University of Malaga (Spain)

María-José Cano-Iglesias, University of Malaga (Spain)

Enrique España-Ramos, University of Malaga (Spain)


The teaching and learning of the chemical elements and their symbols is considered an important part of chemistry programmes in secondary education. However, the large number of elements that make up the periodic table, and the low perception that high school students have of its usefulness, means that different strategies must be used in order to enhance students' motivation away from boring and traditional memorization. In this regard, the use of game-based approaches in chemistry teaching has become accepted as a powerful strategy in recent years. Map puzzles can be useful tools in this learning since they can be used to link the cities and regions of different countries with the learning of chemical elements in a playful manner, thus allowing pupils to learn chemistry by forming the names of cities or other geographical elements from the chemical symbols (for instance, P-Ar-I-S or S-Pa-In).
The rules of the game are simple: the map puzzle of a country is presented to students in order to discover the names of its cities from a set of chemical symbols for which only the names are given in a disordered manner. A review of the literature regarding the application of map puzzles to chemistry, and their educational possibilities, is presented in this paper using the geography of Italy as an example. The game is well received by students and engages them more intensely and for a longer period in learning of the chemical elements than traditional memorisation.

Keywordschemical elements, educational game, map puzzle, secondary education; 


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