New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Improving The Interest Of High-School Students Toward Chemistry By Crime Scene Investigation

Marina Alloisio, Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy)

Andrea Basso, Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy)

Marilena Carnasciali, Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy)

Marco Grotti, Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy)


Many researches highlight that students’ low or declining interest in science is largely due to its presentation as a collection of detached, de-contextualized and value-free facts that are not connected to their own experiences, therefore, a potential way of improving student motivation and interest in the subject is to use social and real-life contexts and practical applications as the starting point for the development of scientific ideas The effectiveness of a “context-based” learning environment in stimulating pupils’ interest in chemistry is reported. A context-based activity has been delivered to high-school students, aimed at raising their interest for chemistry by actively involving them in six different laboratory experiences, interconnected by the case study of the murder of Miss Scarlet, from the famous game Clue. Key points of the activity were: the interest aroused by the subject of crime scene investigation,  the direct involvement of the student in all phases of the work, from the realization of the experiments to the resolution of the case, the use of a multidisciplinary approach for addressing a complex scientific problem, the work in chemical laboratories with modern instrumentation, the team work and the supervision by young tutors. Evaluation of the effectiveness of the activity, performed by immediate and long-term feedback questionnaires, highlighted that the stage improved the interest of students toward chemistry and influenced their choice for the under-graduate courses.

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