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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3366

Title: An investigation of the effects of relevant samples and a comparison of verification versus discovery based lab design
Authors: Rieben, James C Jr
Keywords: Chemistry;Chemistry--Education;Physical sciences--Study and teaching
Issue Date: 20-Sep-2010
Abstract: This study focuses on the effects of relevance and lab design on student learning within the chemistry laboratory environment. A general chemistry conductivity of solutions experiment and an upper level organic chemistry cellulose regeneration experiment were employed. In the conductivity experiment, the two main variables studied were the effect of relevant (or “real world”) samples on student learning and a verification-based lab design versus a discovery-based lab design. With the cellulose regeneration experiment, the effect of a discovery-based lab design vs. a verification-based lab design was the sole focus. Evaluation surveys consisting of six questions were used at three different times to assess student knowledge of experimental concepts. In the general chemistry laboratory portion of this study, four experimental variants were employed to investigate the effect of relevance and lab design on student learning. These variants consisted of a traditional (or verification) lab design, a traditional lab design using “real world” samples, a new lab design employing real world samples/situations using unknown samples, and the new lab design using real world samples/situations that were known to the student. Data used in this analysis were collected during the Fall 08, Winter 09, and Fall 09 terms. For the second part of this study a cellulose regeneration experiment was employed to investigate the effects of lab design. A demonstration creating regenerated cellulose “rayon” was modified and converted to an efficient and low-waste experiment. In the first variant students tested their products and verified a list of physical properties. In the second variant, students filled in a blank physical property chart with their own experimental results for the physical properties. Results from the conductivity experiment show significant student learning of the effects of concentration on conductivity and how to use conductivity to differentiate solution types with the use of real world samples. In the organic chemistry experiment, results suggest that the discovery-based design improved student retention of the chain length differentiation by physical properties relative to the verification-based design.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3366
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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