Macro-meso-micro thinking with structure-property relations for chemistry education: an explorative design based study

M.R. Meijer

Research output: ThesisDoctoral thesis 1 (Research UU / Graduation UU)


‘You went deeper, step by step, towards a level with a lower scale’. This is a statement of a student that is characteristic for macro-micro thinking in this thesis. Macro-micro thinking refers to a way of reasoning, using causal relations between properties of materials and submicroscopic models of molecules and atoms. Properties are caused by interactions between structures with a scale of meso levels, in between the macro and submicro level. This way of macro-micro thinking is common for experts in chemical engineering, material science and biochemistry. This study focuses on the use of macro-micro thinking with structure-property relations in upper secondary chemistry education in such a way that it is relevant from the students’ perspective. This means that the context, the enactment of each teaching-learning activity and the extension of knowledge with regard to necessary chemical concepts are relevant for the students. An adapted version of an authentic practice is used as a context. The design and evaluation of a unit on macro-micro thinking with structure-property relations are described in three chapters on the context, the sequence and the content of teaching-learning activities. This research aims at a better understanding of the design principles and the framework of learning phases, and the extent to which the intended effects are realized. In this study a specific approach of design-based research was used. This approach is described in a separate chapter and illustrated with examples from the studies on macro-micro thinking.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Utrecht University
  • Pilot, A., Primary supervisor
  • Bulte, A.M.W., Co-supervisor
Award date6 Jul 2011
Place of PublicationUtrecht
Print ISBNs978-90-73346-71-0
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2011


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