chemistry education research

CER is an interdisciplinary field combining chemistry theory,
educational research, and the psychology of learning.

Our group explores three main areas…

Publications: 2019-2020

Building mental models of a reaction mechanism: the influence of static and animated representations, prior knowledge, and spatial ability
Bongers, Beauvoir, Streja, Northoff, Flynn.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice 2020 21 (2), 496-512

Is Learning Scale Free? Chemistry learning increases EEG fractal power and changes the power law exponent
Bongers, Flynn, Northoff.
Neuroscience Research (in press).

Working with mental models to learn and visualize a new reaction mechanism
Bongers, Northoff, Flynn.
Chemistry Education Research and Practice 2019 20 (3), 554-569

Publications: 2018 and earlier

Click here for a list of current publications on Amanda’s ORCID page

Sustainability in chemistry

Chemistry has a central role to play in solving global challenges, but is this how we teach chemistry? We are exploring how sustainability is incorporated into general and organic chemistry education in Canada, and if a curriculum centered on sustainability improves students’ success and attitudes!

Cognition & learning

We’re combining research tools from educational research, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience to study learning in science. This project is interdisciplinary at its core; our goals are to both impact classrooms and inform future research. With our approach, hypotheses from learning can be translated into research questions to be tested with cognitive science, and similarly, discoveries in cognitive science can be translated into practices to be implemented and researched in the educational context.

self-concept in education

Chemists are skilled in asking questions, developing and using models, and interpreting data, but are educators helping students develop these skills, or testing their abilities in these areas (hint: no!)? We’re exploring ways to incorporate these Science Practices into learning and assessments, and if these changes increase students’ self-concept as scientists, attitudes towards chemistry, and academic achievement.


Amanda Bongers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Leads the group in studying learning in chemistry and science.

Phung Nguyen

M.Sc. Student

Studying the effects of drawing on chemistry learning.

Kristin Drescher

Summer Research Student

Con. Ed. B. Sc. Chemistry

Alex Parker

Undergraduate Thesis Project

B.ScH in Chemistry with a minor in French

Cameron Aerts

Undergraduate Thesis Project

B. Sc. Chemistry, Con Ed

Please email Prof. Bongers with your CV if you are interested in joining our group!

Active studies

Recruiting for study “Multi-modal learning of organic reaction mechanisms”

We are looking for undergraduate and graduate students who are (or were) enrolled in chemistry courses at Queen’s to participate in an online research study about learning and memory in chemistry! The study is part of a research project by Prof. Bongers and her research assistant Manisha Blaskevitch, and is not related to the courses in any way. The study takes place online over two sessions, one week apart, for a total of around 1 hour.

Contact Prof. Bongers to sign up!

This study has been approved by the Queen’s General Research Ethics Board (GREB). For more information contact Prof. Bongers. Any questions about ethics can be directed to the GREB at