Out-Of-School Laboratory Activities - An Observational Study of how Visits to a University Laboratory on a Regular Basis affects Secondary School Students’ Interest in Chemistry and Further Education in Science.
Examensarbete för masterexamen
This master’s thesis project comprises a study with the aim to investigate how visits to a university laboratory at a regular basis can affect secondary school student’s interest in chemistry and further education in science. The project also aimed to investigate the differences between the laboratory activities at Chalmers and a secondary school laboratory. The research questions were investigated by an observational study of a class performing lab experiments at Chalmers on a regular basis. A control group for the study was chosen from a school with similar admission points and students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds. The participating students’ interest in chemistry and further education in science were measured by a survey before and after the observational study. The differences between the laboratory activities at Chalmers and the control school were investigated by direct observations. The results showed no significant increase of students’ interest in chemistry and further education in science due to visits to Chalmers after a statistical difference-in-difference analysis. The direct observations showed some differences between the laboratory activities, such as that the laboratory at Chalmers appeared less suitable for the experiments being performed. Further differences include the observed teachers’ way of acting in the laboratory. Taken together, the most likely conclusion that can be drawn is that the visits to a university laboratory on a regular basis to some extent promotes students’ interest in chemistry and further education in science, however, that this effect was neutralized by how the teacher conducted the experiments in the control group. Further research is required to verify this conclusion. Some areas of improvement during the observed laboratory activities at Chalmers were found and implementation of these could increase the promotion of students’ interest due to the visits.
Secondary School , Chemistry , Science Education , Student Labs , Out-of-school Learning , Interest , Further Education