Improving Students' Perceptions of Benefits of Science Demonstrations and Content Mastery in a Large-Enrollment Chemistry Lecture Demonstration Course for Nonscience Majors

By Majerich, David M.; Schmuckler, Joseph S. | Journal of College Science Teaching, May-June 2007 | Go to article overview

Improving Students' Perceptions of Benefits of Science Demonstrations and Content Mastery in a Large-Enrollment Chemistry Lecture Demonstration Course for Nonscience Majors


Majerich, David M., Schmuckler, Joseph S., Journal of College Science Teaching


A large enrollment, instructor-centered chemistry course taught with science demonstrations was transformed into one that was more student-centered. Course survey and examination results revealed more positive perceptions of the benefits of demonstrations and greater content mastery for students in the modified course than for those in the traditional course.

Science instructors commonly strive to make their introductory science courses more interesting, to promote content mastery, and to make them relevant to students' lives. In this article, we'd like to share how we transformed a large enrollment, instructor-centered traditional lecture demonstration chemistry course using a series of science demonstrations into one that promotes greater content mastery and is more engaging for students (using the same series of science demonstrations).

The use of demonstrations for the teaching of science is widely viewed as beneficial (Ogborn et al. 1996; Chiappetta and Koballa 2002; Shakhashiri 1992; Trowbridge, Bybee, and Powell 2000). While we were able to locate at least 10 identifiable merits associated with the teaching and learning of science using demonstrations (Majerich 2004), most of these claims remain unsubstantiated in the research. Figure 1 contains a facsimile of our previously published list.

Despite the scarcity of research to support these merits, science educators continue to champion the use of demonstrations as an essential tool for the teaching and learning of science (Buchanan et al. 2004; Shmaefsky 2004; Ophardt, Applebee, and Losey 2005).

Research has shown that, when the traditional lecture for large classes was accompanied by a few science demonstrations, the majority of students did not learn from these science events as typically performed

(Majerich and Schmuckler 2006). However, a recent study has shown that when instructional practices were modified to be more student centered (Bodner 1986), students did learn from science demonstrations and retained this information long after the instruction had ended (Buchanan et al. 2004). So, we decided to modify our Chemistry 51/52 course, a traditional lecture demonstration format, to make it more student-centered (Bodner 1986; Mintzes, Wandersee, and Novak 1998). Overall, our research goals were to

* begin to substantiate the 10 anecdotal merits associated with using demonstrations for the teaching and learning of science with students' perceptions of science demonstrations used in our course; and

* establish a research-based, student-centered instructional method using science demonstrations, improving students' mastery of content, for adaptation by all science teachers (NRC 1996).

Chemistry 51/52

This course is for nonscience majors, and is mandated by the provost's office to use a hands-on, participatory lecture demonstration technique using science demonstrations. Up to 200 students enroll in Chemistry 51; no more than 80 students enroll in Chemistry 52. One section of this course exists each semester; the course meets twice a week for a total of three hours and forty minutes. Herein is a discussion of the first semester of the course, with the larger group of students, taught with the traditional lecture demonstration method (TLD) and with a modification to the method, herein renamed the science lecture demonstration method (SLD), one year later.

As science educators are advised not to change curriculum in an attempt to compensate for poor student learning outcomes (Bodner 1986), we retained the same instructor, course content, textbook, sequence/location/number of science demonstrations, 10-minute daily quizzes (14 total), and number of examinations (3) for the TLD and SLD sections. The topics discussed were chemical and physical properties, chemical and physical changes, density, chemical reactions, laws of chemistry, cathode ray tubes, radioactivity, electromagnetic radiation, and atomic structure. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Improving Students' Perceptions of Benefits of Science Demonstrations and Content Mastery in a Large-Enrollment Chemistry Lecture Demonstration Course for Nonscience Majors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.