Engaging Learners with Chemistry: Projects to Stimulate Interest and Participation
Chapter 4: Engagement and Relevance Through Context-based, Everyday Life, Open-ended Chemistry Problems
Published:27 Jul 2020
Special Collection: 2020 ebook collection
K. Broman, in Engaging Learners with Chemistry: Projects to Stimulate Interest and Participation, ed. I. Parchmann, S. Simon, and J. Apotheker, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2020, ch. 4, pp. 52-72.
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Context-based learning approaches have been introduced in several countries all over the world to make chemistry more relevant and interesting, and to enhance students’ learning outcomes. This more unconventional approach towards chemistry, emphasises meaningful learning through higher-order thinking. An educational challenge has been to develop suitable tasks adapted to both affective and cognitive aspects of learning. To assess students’ chemistry content knowledge and to engage students, tasks for use in class need to be designed. Also, to make the tasks interesting and relevant to the students, the teachers are central. In an on-going project, Swedish chemistry teachers attending two different teacher conferences have worked together to suggest contexts that are possible to develop further into context-based everyday life open-ended chemistry problems. In this chapter, teachers’ suggestions of relevant and interesting contexts will be described through frameworks of interest, relevance and engagement. Moreover, the design process of context-based problems will be elaborated upon and the upcoming work where the problems are applied in class where students solve the problems, will be explored. Final reflections will be made regarding this type of teacher professional development program (i.e. chemistry teacher conferences), where practitioners meet researchers for design-based research and how these initiatives hopefully empower teachers in their profession.