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ERIC Number: EJ1096064
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-1609-4913
Evaluating Evidence from a Historical Chemical Controversy: A Study in a French High School
Archila, Pablo Antonio
Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, v16 n2 Article 7 Dec 2015
This paper addresses the importance of evaluating evidence for enriching critical thinking in the chemistry classroom. The purpose of the study was to examine the usefulness of a historical chemical controversy in promoting students' assessment of evidence. The investigation was conducted in a high school in Melun, France. 63 participants (24 females and 39 males aged 16-17 years) evaluated evidence relating to the polemical question of who discovered oxygen, with Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742-1786), Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), and Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794) being possible contenders. This evidence was provided by the play "Oxygen", written by Carl Djerassi and Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann (2001a), and was classified as either experimentation in science or scientific communication. The findings indicate that this historical chemical controversy helped to raise the students' awareness of the essential role of evidence evaluation in the advancement of chemistry. Furthermore, they reveal that the participants evaluated "easier" evidence relating to experimentation in science rather than evidence relating to scientific communication. The main conclusion drawn from this study is that historical chemical controversies can enhance learners' assessment of evidence.
Hong Kong Institute of Education. 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: +011-852-2948-7650; Fax: +011-852-2948-7726; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A