Making abstract concepts concrete - Mr Khemistry IP Chemistry Tuition

16th December 2018

Making abstract concepts concrete – IP Chemistry Tuition

IP Chemistry Tuition

Making abstract chemistry concepts concrete is one of the most important teaching skills a teacher need to possess.

Among the three sciences, chemistry is arguably the hardest to comprehend. Case in point, the Avogadro’s constant (mole 6.023 x 10^23) is such a big number, that it’s hard for students to fully grasp the magnitude of it. Much of the reasoning in chemical bonding requires students to explain physical phenomena using electrostatic attractions between sub-atomic particles.

For IP chemistry, students are exposed to chemistry in modules since Secondary 1. At that age, it can be difficult for students to process such abstract information. Thus it is not surprising parents look for IP chemistry tuition to help their children catch up on the content.

Case Study

Image result for made to stick

Chip and Dan in their book “Made to Stick”, quoted a case study on how students learnt function in Mathematics. The teacher used the analogy of temperature being a function of how fast crickets chirp. She told the students to observe and count how fast the crickets chirp at various temperatures.

The students realised that the higher the temperature, the faster the crickets chirp. (At extremely high temperature however, the crickets stopped chirping altogether.) So she related how the temperature acts as a function of how fast crickets chirp.

This is an example of how a teacher was able to bridge the gap between an abstract concept (a function) to a sensory reality.  The more sensory hooks the teacher is able to construct for an abstract concept, the easier it will be for the students to grasp the concept.


Sensory experiences helps us to remember things better, think of how easy it is to remember the lyrics in your favorite song compared to the 16 digits on a credit card.

Remember, ground teaching in the concrete rather than abstraction and conceptual language.

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