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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 9 Issue 1 (2004) pp 4-8

Integrating Case-Based Computerized Laboratories into High School Chemistry

Yehudit J. Dori,*,†,‡ Irit Sasson, Zvia Kaberman, and Orit Herscovitz

Department of Education in Technology and Science, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel, and Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 02139,
Received January 12, 2003. Accepted April 21, 2003.

Published online: 15 January 2004

Abstract. The importance of integrating experiments into chemistry teaching is well documented. Researchers emphasized both the theoretical aspects—fostering meaningful learning, as well as stimulating critical scientific thinking—and the practical aspects—selfexperiencing by carrying out and monitoring processes and phenomena. During the last two decades, however, most of the laboratory experiments in high school chemistry in Israel are performed in tenth grade and they are rare in 12th grade. The reasons are lack of appropriate resources and the matriculation examination, which does not include laboratory. Our project was aimed at integrating computerized experiments into chemistry teaching in order to foster students' higher-order thinking skills, to teach in an up-to-date environment, and to motivate and stimulate the students. We developed a study unit, which was taught for about seven months, that integrates case-based computerized laboratories with emphasis on scientific inquiry. The research included about 200 honors 12th-grade students from various high schools. They were tested before and after studying the unit for higher-order thinking skills, such as question posing, inquiry, and graphing. Some students were also interviewed regarding the new study unit. We found a significant improvement in the posttest students' scores, compared to the pretest, in question posing, scientific inquiry, and graphing skills, as well as in students' satisfaction of the computerized learning environment and the case-based inquiry approach.

Key Words: In the Classroom; high school chemistry; general chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Supporting Materials:

The supporting material (A Test Sample: MTBE in Car Fuel) is available in a Zip file (77 KB).

Issue date: February 1, 2004

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