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ERIC Number: EJ812410
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Promoting Pre-Experimental Activities in High-School Chemistry: Focusing on the Role of Students' Epistemic Questions
Neber, Heinz; Anton, Michael
International Journal of Science Education, v30 n13 p1801-1821 Oct 2008
In high-school chemistry the pre-experimental phase of inquiry cycles often remains neglected. According to a procedural model, which is described in the text, this phase begins with an observation that stimulates students' prior factual knowledge, the formulation of a research question for further elaboration (epistemic questions), the anticipation of a hypothetical answer, and the planning of experimental steps for deciding on the hypothetical answer. These activities were explicitly prescribed in an experimental group of 28 10th-graders. Raising the quality of students' epistemic research questions by providing structured help was a special focus of the intervention. Hypothesised motivational and cognitive effects were measured and compared with a group of 25 students (control group) who engaged in non-structured pre-experimental activities. The intervention provided to the experimental group resulted in stronger preferences for a more open and non-recipe type of experimentation, in more intense cognitive activities (thoughts), and, most importantly, in increased skills for formulating causal epistemic questions. Supporting such procedural skills in classrooms may contribute to transforming labwork into intentional activities and students into active learners by helping them focus on further elaborating their knowledge. (Contains 3 figures and 5 tables.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 10; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A