Promoting Secondary Students’ Understanding of Scientific Concepts through a Guided-Inquiry Laboratory: Polymers and their Properties

By Wanchai Noiwong and Pranee Phinyocheep.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study employed a guided-inquiry laboratory exercise to attempt to make learning science more meaningful for secondary students. The learning unit, comprised mainly of a laboratory exercise on tensile properties of composite polymers based on natural rubber, was developed and implemented by 94 secondary students in their chemistry courses. Students’ understanding of the scientific concept was measured by using a pretest and a posttest. Students’ perceptions of the laboratory exercise were assessed by using a Likert-scale questionnaire and through classroom observation. The results revealed that there was a significant increase in the mean scores of the posttest over those of the pretest, with a 39 percent gain. The students also showed a positive attitude toward the designed learning unit, both in the laboratory activity and in the group work. The results clearly indicated that the designed laboratory exercise was effective in promoting students’ learning outcomes.

Keywords: Guided-Inquiry, Laboratory Exercise, Polymer, Tensile Properties

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.327-344. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 864.989KB).

Wanchai Noiwong

Ph.D. Student, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Wanchai Noiwong is a Ph.D student in science and technology education at the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. His research interest includes how to improve students’ learning in the concept in chemistry subject by using hands-on activities. He developed a laboratory activity with a simple apparatus and materials for students and looked at if it could be used to enhance students’ learning in chemistry, especially in polymer materials.

Dr. Pranee Phinyocheep

Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Dr. Pranee Phinyocheep is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department in the Faculty of Science at Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. She is also a staff member of the Polymer Science and Technology Graduate Programme. Her research interest is on polymer synthesis and chemical modifications of polymer. She has been working in particular chemical modifications of natural rubber, such as epoxidation, hydrogenation, and maleinization in order to increase value added to natural rubber.


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