Using Predict- Observe-Explain technique to enhance students' understanding of chemical reactions

Year: 2001

Author: Mthembu, Zuziwe

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The grade 10, 11 and 12 Science Curriculum in South Africa places great emphasis on practical activities as tools for learning science. However, resources in schools are limited and some of the teachers are not competent in using the materials needed for practical work. This study investigates the outcomes of a new teaching strategy called Predict-Observe Explain (POE), that can be used to teach practical activities and which is negotiated with science teachers from secondary schools. The main interest in this study is to find out how the POE as a teaching strategy impacts on the students’ understanding of redox reactions.

Data sources are students’ POE tasks responses, interviews with individual students and the teachers, pre-test and post-test, classroom observation and students questionnaires. The POE tasks are concerned with redox reactions. The data demonstrates how students’ prior knowledge can influence their predictions and observations. The results show that the teachers can use POE tasks to design learning activities that start with students’ viewpoint. This paper will report on preliminary findings from the study, focusing mainly on students’ written responses to hands- on tasks based on redox reactions.