Impact of cost barrier on high school chemistry laboratory teaching practices

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UNI ScholarWorks, University of Northern Iowa, Rod Library

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Livermore, Robin
Chemistry--Study and teaching (Secondary); Science rooms and equipment--Costs; Chemistry teachers--Attitudes;
thesis / dissertation description
It is well known that the scientific community has valued laboratory experiences in classroom settings for many years (Hofstein & Lunetta, 2003; Lumpe & Oliver, 1991; Kang & Wallace, 2004), but providing laboratory experiences to students can be costly for different reasons. High school chemistry is included among other subject areas that utilize laboratories; therefore, cost is a potential barrier that may impact the laboratory-related teaching practices of chemistry teachers. However, cost does not correlate just to money and funding. Different “costs” of implementing chemistry laboratory-based activities could include laboratory space, class time, teacher preparation, or safety equipment. To better understand how the various costs affect the incorporation of laboratory-based activities in high school chemistry, this study used an electronic survey to explore chemistry teachers’ classroom laboratory practices and the barriers they perceive regarding their ability to do experiments. Teaching decisions may be impacted by the different types of costs associated with providing laboratory-based experiences to students, therefore, it is important to understand the effects of cost on the incorporation of laboratory activities. This study complements a growing body of literature and research about chemistry classroom laboratory practices and can lead to further research about alleviating the issues associated with cost in the chemistry classroom.