Building bridges to chemistry through biological contents
Authors: Mareike Janssen and Martin Gröger
Abstract: In contrast to biological contents, chemical contents are still underrepresented in primary schools, although they are implemented in the curricula. This problem is largely due to an inadequate education of primary school teachers and a resulting lack of positive attitudes towards chemical contents and of interest in them. Closely related is a widespread negative self-concept for chemical topics and a low self-efficacy to teach them. In order to address this problem, a university seminar for students of general studies (science and social studies at primary school level) is developed and evaluated as part of a doctoral thesis . In this seminar, biological and chemical aspects of natural phenomena are examined in a near-natural environment. This combination is considered to help transferring the students’ positive attitudes towards biology also to chemistry. A combination of different methods is used to evaluate the effects of the seminar, including Own Word Mapping, a self-developed, picture based association test, the Semantic Differential, and a questionnaire with complementary oral questioning. The results indicate that the developed seminar helps students to perceive more connections between chemistry and biology and more chemical aspects in their environment. In addition, the seminar seems to have a positive influence on the unconscious attitudes towards chemistry and on the interest in chemical topics as well as on the self-efficacy concerning the teaching of chemical contents and the self-concept concerning chemistry. Thus the seminar helps to create favourable preconditions for the teaching of chemical contents in primary school as early as during university education.
Journal: The Journal of Health, Environment, & Education