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Learning and Teaching Aspects of Inquiry-based Chemistry Experiment What is chemistry? How to help students learn chemistry? Why chemistry is difficult to learn? Matter can be represented on the macroscopic, particulate, and symbolic levels.

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why chemistry is difficult to learn
Why chemistry is difficult to learn?
  • Matter can be represented on the macroscopic, particulate, and symbolic levels.
  • It is important to provide opportunity for students to link up their understanding through hands-on activities, processing of information and thinking.
practical work an important component in science learning
Practical work – an important component in science learning
  • Cognitive domain:
  • Improve pupils’ understanding of science
  • Promote their conceptual development
  • Illustrate, verify or affirm “theory work”.
practical work an important component in science learning6
Practical work – an important component in science learning
  • Skills domain:
  • Develop manipulative skills
  • Promote higher-level, transferable skills(such as observation, measurement, prediction and inference)
  • Develop communication skills
practical work an important component in science learning7
Practical work – an important component in science learning
  • Affective domain :
  • Practical work is motivating and exciting
  • Generate interest and enthusiasm
  • Help learners to remember things
two types of practical work

Two types of practical work


Inquiry-based / Investigation

Inquiry involves raising questions, posing explanations, testing them for validity, and presenting the evidence to others. (Yager, 2001)

what is the present situation
What is the present situation?
  • “Cookbook” dominated  Ownership?
  • Do students have opportunity to decide on / think about data collection strategies to be used in an experiment?
  • “Hands-on”“Minds-on”?
science as inquiry the nsess
Science as Inquiry – the NSESs
  • Design and conduct a scientific investigation
  • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data
  • Apply critical thinking skills to establish relationships between evidence and explanations
the nsess claim that students who are involved with inquiry are the ones who
The NSESs claim that students who are involved with inquiry are the ones who:
  • better understand basic science concepts
  • develop an appreciation of "how we know" the science that we think we know
  • understand the real nature of science
  • develop the needed skills to become independent inquirers
  • can use the skills, abilities, and attitudes associated with science and scientists
ase s recommendation
ASE’s Recommendation:
  • Teaching and learning in science should provide opportunities for learners to:
    • enquire, predict and hypothesize
    • explore, observe, investigate and discover
    • solve problems
    • discriminate, judge and evaluate
excerpts from uk scheme of work for ks3 unit 9m investigating scientific questions



Excerpts from UK Scheme of Work for KS3 Unit 9M “Investigating scientific questions”


pan canadian protocol for collaboration on school curriculum
Pan-Canadian Protocol for Collaboration on School Curriculum
  • Skills

It is expected that students will...

    • Initiating and planning
    • Performing and recording
    • Analysing and interpreting
    • Communication and teamwork
what is an inquiry based chemistry experiment
What is an inquiry-based chemistry experiment?
  • addressing problems
  • making hypotheses
  • designing ALL or PART of the experimental procedures
  • decide what and how data to record, to analyse and to interpret
  • drawing conclusions
  • making evaluation
what do students acquire in s1 3
What do students acquire in S1-3?

The ability to

  • observe closely and carefully
  • classify
  • measure accurately
  • handle equipment and apparatus properly and safely
  • infer from observations and experimental data
  • predict
  • propose hypotheses
  • interpret data
  • control variables
the new chemistry curriculum skills and thinking processes
The new chemistry curriculum –Skills and Thinking Processes

“performing experiments to ……” expect

  • more instructions to help students develop practical skills

“designing and performing experiments to ……” expect

  • less instructions but more space to students to carry out inquiry-based learning
prepare for implementation
Prepare for implementation
  • Analyse current situation and reflect critically
    • Strength Weakness Opportunity Threat (SWOT)
    • review current practice
    • understand culture
  • Share experience
  • Develop vision and visualize potential benefits
resources for implementation
Resources for implementation
  • Resources on inquiry-based chemistry experiments
    • acquire
    • modify
    • develop
  • Equipment and apparatus
  • Textbooks
  • Reference books
  • MSDS
prepare people for implementation
Prepare people for implementation
  • Team building
    • panel chairman
    • teachers
    • laboratory technician
  • Work and teach collaboratively to bring the best skills to make learning meaningful
  • Find creative ways of looking at using existing resources and making better use of them
  • Develop mission and implementation plan together
implementing tip 1
Implementing tip #1
  • Prepare students to
    • review their concepts and understanding about scientific investigation or inquiry
    • develop their and practical skills
    • learn how to develop a plan and write a report
  • Allow students to use inquiry for learning
implementing tip 2
Implementing tip #2
  • Remind students to consider safety issues
  • Provide adequate safety instruction and feedbacks to students’ plans
  • Provide personal protection equipment (PPE) and access to fume cupboard etc. for students and remind them to use
prepare for implementation29
Prepare for implementation
  • Be ready for
    • noise (unavoidable for active learning, healthy phenomenon)
    • encountering a little messy at start
    • students are not ready to write their own reports, start with small
  • Work with students, laboratory technicians and fellow teachers to review the implementation
  • Positive and negative comments are equally useful
  • Be prepare to make changes and seek ways to improve
how many
How many?
  • What is the number of inquiry-based chemistry experiments needed?
reference article
Reference Article
  • Title: A Model for Extending Hands-On Science to Be Inquiry Based.
  • Author: Huber, Richard A.; Moore, Christopher J.
  • Source: School Science & Mathematics, Jan 2001, Vol. 101 Issue 1, p32
  • Abstract: Presents a model describing one approach for extending hands-on activities into inquiry-based science lessons. Disadvantages of student's engagement in worksheet and textbook-based hands-on activities; Facilitation of students in planning investigation; Implication for the professional development of science teachers.
reference book
Reference Book
  • Title: Inquiry-based experiments in chemistry
  • Author: Valerie Ludwig Lechtanski
  • Publisher: Washington, D.C. : American Chemical Society ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2000.