Guided learning chemistry activities in the physical science (PSCI 1030) lab at Middle Tennessee State University /

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Farris, Barry
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Middle Tennessee State University
Guided learning labs as alternatives to traditional style chemistry-related labs were tested in the course, Topics in Physical Science. Guided learning labs emphasized students' conceptual understanding of the science content and actively involved the instructor during the lab. The control group performed traditional lab exorcise while students who carried out the guided learning activities formed the treatment group. Both groups had similar demographic and academic backgrounds. This research compared student performances on the three labs: Density, Kinetic Theory and Chemical Reactions. Both groups completed pre-lab and post-lab quizzes and answered conceptual questions for each lab. Students also participated in a post-course quiz via email. Scores on all these assessments were compared using independent samples t tests.
The treatment group outscored the control group on all summary assessments, and performed significantly better than the control group on the post-lab quizzes and conceptual questions for all three labs. Students in the treatment group demonstrated stronger Pearson's correlations between their ACT Mathematics, Science Reasoning and Reading Comprehension scores and their scores on the assessments. Student reactions to the guided learning style of lab were favorable. The implication is that guided learning labs improve conceptual understanding of chemistry concepts in a physical science lab course.
Adviser: Judith Iriarte-Gross.