Errors and difficulties of high school students' learning in the interpretation of the chemical reaction as a complex system

Abstract: Knowing the chemical reaction as a complex system is considered one of the aims of high school chemical education. This study aims to evaluate and understand this knowledge, considering the response given by 126 students who answered one question on Chemistry Federal University entrance exam in 2013. For this purpose, the answers were analyzed and the errors identified as well as the levels of ability development in interpreting a chemical reaction as a complex system, and these were related to learning difficulties. The results have shown the low performance of the students and the limitations of the understanding and integration of parameters that characterize a chemical reaction. These errors may also be associated with the fragmented way of organizing and teaching content related to chemical reactions, leading to learning difficulties, which requires new methodological proposals of an intradisciplinary nature.