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Use of lecture demonstrations in chemistry classes in elementary and secondary school

Luka Vinko (2019) Use of lecture demonstrations in chemistry classes in elementary and secondary school. MSc thesis.

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    Chemistry is an experimental discipline which applies the experiment as one of the main research methods. Laboratory work and other practical work is also essential in chemistry education. This may be observed by the primary and secondary school curricula which are mainly based on macroscopic level activities. Practical work involves activities in which students handle substances and materials themselves or observe demonstration experiments. Demonstration experiments are typically carried out by teachers or experts who can provide the best quality demonstration to the students. The latter should participate as active learners and acquire knowledge in an experiental way. The advantage of demonstration experiments is that teachers have greater control over the whole working arrangement of the experiment and can direct students’ attention to most important parts of the experiment. Based on a quantitative research approach, 81 primary and secondary school teachers from different regions of Slovenia participated in this research study. The participating teachers filled an online questionnaire comprising four topics: (1) teachers’ perceptions on the effects of demonstration experiments on students’ motivation and performance in chemistry classes, and on the quality of the student’s chemical knowledge, (2) the frequency of performing demonstration experiments, (3) teachers’ perceptions on a demonstration experiment of endothermic reaction and (4) teachers’ perceptions on a demonstration experiment of ammonia fountain. The results show that regardless of the years of experience of teaching chemistry, teachers’ education level and frequency of performing demonstration experiments, the participating teachers perceive demonstration experiments to have a positive effect on students’ motivation and achievements in chemistry as well as on the quality of student’s chemical knowledge. The results also show that most teachers demonstrate experiments twice to three times a month. When analysing teachers’ perceptions of the two demonstration experiments (endothermic reaction and ammonia fountain), the results show that more participating teachers demonstrate the experiment of the endothermic reaction than the ammonia fountain. The reasons for this may be, that the ammonia fountain experiment is not well known among teachers because it is not included in the primary and secondary school textbooks. The other reason may be that the ammonia fountain experiment is more difficult to perform as it requires more experimental skills from the teacher than the endothermic reaction experiment. Further findings refer to the fact that the participating teachers themselves describe the main observations of the experiment. However, in doing so, they are often inaccurate and/or vague which may lead to a further assumption that the teachers’ guidance trough demonstrations may also be inaccurate. Finally, the results indicate that the participating teachers do not have a clear insight into the development of concepts that may be discerned from individual chemical experiments which may contribute to the development of misconceptions among students.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: elementary school, secondary school, chemistry, practical work, demonstration experiments
    Number of Pages: 64
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Iztok DevetakMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12377929
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5685
    Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2019 08:31
    Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 08:31
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5685

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