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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Kathleen Davis

Second Advisor

Martina Nieswandt

Third Advisor

Julian Tyson

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology | Curriculum and Instruction | Organic Chemistry | Other Chemistry | Science and Mathematics Education | Theory, Knowledge and Science


The study of organic chemistry requires the understanding and use of spatial relationships, which can be challenging for many students. Prior research has shown that there is a need to develop students’ spatial reasoning skills. To that end, this study implemented guided activities designed to strengthen students’ spatial skills, with the aim of preparing students for organic chemistry and other future STEM courses. Students, taking the second semester of a two-semester general chemistry course, engaged in these activities. This study followed a quasi experimental design, in which the experimental (n = 209) and the control group (n = 212) were administered a pre-test. Students voluntarily chose to participate in one, two or three activities during their laboratory periods. At the completion of the semester, both groups participated in a post-test designed to measure spatial skill acquisition. The results show that the mean score rose in the experimental group after each successive intervention. A one-way ANOVA confirmed that student performance differed significantly between the three interventions and the control group. When disaggregating post-test results by gender, male and female students showed approximately the same overall mean score improvement.


Pretest_GenChem.pdf (971 kB)
Pre-test file

PostTest_GenChem.pdf (499 kB)
Post-test file