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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 13 Issue 4 (2008) pp 214-219

Assessing Pre-Service Middle School Teachers Science Education Utilizing an Outdoor Field Experience to Demonstrate Chemical Equilibrium Concepts

Suzanne K. Lunsford,*,†, William Slattery, and K.V. Nedunuri§

Department of Chemistry, Wright State University, Dayton, OH 45435,; Departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Teacher Education, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio 45435; §International Center for Water Resources and Management, Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio 45384
Received September 24, 2007. Accepted February 18, 2008.

Published online: 21 July 2008

Abstract. An inquiry-based module centered around a field-based investigation at the Huffman Dam on the Mad River, Dayton Ohio was designed to teach chemical equilibrium concepts to preservice teachers at the middle (grades 4–9) level. We are continually challenged as educators to aid students in visually making a connection between chemical equilibrium and the environment around them. This inquiry module is unique in having the middle-school teachers carry out the chemical equilibrium reactions in an outdoor field experience. Chemical equilibrium theory was taught by investigating water quality of the Mad River around the dam. The impact of mineral dissolution on water quality helped to integrate geology and chemistry. The pedagogical purpose of the module was to infuse inquiry into learning science, including a hands-on approach in gathering data, and to allow the students to evaluate data in order to better understand scientific theory and use active evaluation methods. Students were pre-tested on chemical equilibrium and subsequently post-tested on the same concepts. After the field-based investigations, the normalized gain index was 0.63, indicating significant gain in student understanding. An evaluation of student performance was also done using Bloom’s taxonomy. Students demonstrated gains of 71% in application, 60% in analysis, 32% in synthesis, and 40% in evaluation.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; K-12

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Instructor's Guide (516 KB)

Issue date: August 1, 2008

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