ANALYSIS AND CLASSIFICATION OF STUDENT’S LEARNING DIFFICULTIES IN THE WRITING AND BALANCING OF CHEMICAL EQUATIONS
Writing and balancing of chemical equation is so fundamental that without mastery in it, students find every other aspect of chemistry difficult. This notwithstanding, it remains a difficult chemical or conceptual skill to learn by the majority of the students in secondary school. This study was therefore carried out to analyze and classify the students’ learning difficulties in the writing and balancing of chemical equation. In carrying out this research, cross- sectional developmental survey design was employed. The sample of the study was 1130 chemistry students (SS 1 and SS111 from seventeen (17) secondary schools in Nsukka Educational Zone. The study was guided by six research questions and four research hypotheses. The analysis of data was carried out using frequencies and percentages. The chi- square was used to test the dependence of students’ difficulties in writing and balancing chemical equation on sex and across various class levels. The findings of the study revealed that student have difficulty in writing and balancing of chemical equation at the various class levels of senior secondary school because (1) they lack knowledge of valency of atoms in the formula of compounds reacting (ii) they lack knowledge of correct formulae of compounds (iii) they have poor knowledge of rules guiding the balancing of equation (iv) they interface or change the formulae of compounds during balancing (v) they are not able to check each atom on both sides of the equation to make sure that the coefficient used are all whole numbers and are reduced to their lowest terms. Finally, the research suggested that similar studies be extended to other areas of chemistry and order location.