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Dr. Barbara Gonzalez

Professor Chemical Education

Gonzalez 1

Applying the constructivist constructs of conceptual change, problem solving, visualization and transformation of particulate and mental representations to learning in chemistry; impact of computer technology on the learner's ability to represent molecular models and to solve novel problems.


Office: MH-543A
Phone: (657) 278-3870
Lab: MH-543
Phone: (657) 278-5214
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 102 Physical Science for Future Elementary Teachers
  • CHEM 115 Introductory General Chemistry
  • CHEM 120A General Chemistry
  • SCED 550 Theoretical Designs in Science Education
  • SCED 552 Review of Research in Science Education
  • SCED 554 Issues in Science Education


Postdoctoral University of California, Los Angeles, CA
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles, CA
M.Sc. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
B.Sc. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

Research Interests

My research agenda in chemical education investigates the impact of visualization on conceptual understanding in chemistry along three pathways. One pathway investigates the impact of technological tools, a second pathway explores chemical literacy, and the third pathway applies my personal basic research agenda to the evaluation of the educational components of the projects of other scientists. The technological tools pathway incorporates studies in the effect of Web-delivered learning tools, computer-interfaced data collection devices, and Web-delivered tools for collection of chemical education research data. My chemical literacy studies explore how conceptual understanding is linked to formal logical reasoning; novice-expert problem solving patterns; and the developmental progression of fundamental chemical concepts such as density, physical change, chemical change, heat, temperature, energy, and the three-dimensional structure of atoms and molecules. As an evaluator I am often asked to assist scientists who do not have a background in chemical education to develop goals and objectives to evaluate the educational components of basic science research projects. I help them to plan and develop educational activities in conjunction with their grants. Scientific literacy is essential for the United States to maintain its technological advantage in a rapidly changing world. Chemistry education research provides answers to fundamental questions about teaching and learning chemistry that can lead to improved pedagogy, curriculum and instructions that promotes the scientific chemical literacy of our nation.

Selected Publications

Gonzalez, B.L., Dorland, E., Heyden, R. and Radcliff, M. (2009) A Prototype for Visualization of Molecular Geometry and Polarity with Embedded Dynamic Assessment. American Chemical Society Committee on Computer in Chemical Education.

Monteyne, K. Gonzalez, B. L. and Loverude, M.E. (2008) An Interdisciplinary Investigation of Student Ability to Connect Particulate and Macroscopic Representations of a Gas.  Proceedings of the 2008 Physics Education Research Conference.  American Association of Physics Teachers Physics Education Research Group:  Rochester, NY.

Gonzalez, B.L., Wegner, P. A., Arasasingham, R.D., Martorell, I. (accepted).  A Cross-Institutional Analysis of the Effect of Web-Assisted Tools on Visualization and Logical Reasoning in Chemistry.  Journal of Science Education and Technology.

Yeend, R. E., Gonzalez, B. L, & Loverude, M.E.  (2001).  Student understanding of density:  A cross-age investigation.Proceedings of the 2001 Physics Education Research Conference.  American Association of Physics Teachers Physics Education Research Group:  Rochester, NY.  

Pelaez, N. J. & Gonzalez, B. L. (2002).  Sharing science:  Characteristics of effective scientist-teacher interactions. Advances in Physiological Education26(3), 158-167.

Gonzalez, B. L., Kouba, J., Yee, S., Reed*, C. A., Kirner, R. & Scheidt, R. W. (May 28, 1975).  Manganese (II) porphyrins.  Synthesis, structures, and preference for five-coordination.  Journal of American Chemical Society97(11), 3247-3249.