Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 5476-5485
ISBN: 978-84-617-2484-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 7th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 17-19 November, 2014
Location: Seville, Spain
The main purpose of science education is to improve students understanding of scientific concepts. Chemistry has been described by students of different ages and grade levels in different countries as a difficult subject because it has a lot of abstract concepts and requires understanding on both macroscopic and microscopic levels.

It is referenced that students who have been trained according to teacher centred traditional approach were less able to integrate their knowledge and to think critically and creatively, this causing lower learning achievements. For this reason active learning methods requiring actively participated students have began to take more interest, which engage students in higher order thinking skills and minds-on activities. According to the modern theories of learning, students construct their own understanding on the basis of an interaction between knowledge and views they already hold and/or information they encounter participating actively in the process of meaningful construction.

Laboratory activities may make students more active in their learning than in a classroom setting. It has been suggested that students enjoy laboratory activities because of the fact that it is more active. In the laboratory setting, students have a chance to engage in hands-on activities. In order to make those laboratory activities highly effective, different active learning approaches have been described, including science inquire model and Kolb’s experiential learning cycle.

Arguments to communicate explanations in the step of communicating and justifying explanations.
According to Kolb, knowledge results from the interaction between theory and experience: “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”. This direct experiential encounter with a learning event requires active engagement of the student as opposed to passive engagement commonly associated with teacher directed instruction. In Kolb’s experiential learning cycle, learning takes place in four stages:
● Concrete Experience: the learner actively experiments with a concept (feeling)
● Reflective Observation: the learner consciously reflects back on that experience (watching)
● Abstract Conceptualization: the learner attempts to generalize a model of what is experienced (thinking)
● Active Experimentation: the learner applies the model to a new experiment (doing)

In order to a higher join between secondary and university levels, the Technical University of Cartagena has implanted a workshop about vegetal pigments designed according to active learning approaches in order to motivate to students and to obtain the develop in the students of the five integrated science process skills:
1) identifying and controlling variables,
2) defining operationally,
3) formulating hypotheses,
4) experimenting including being able to design their own experiment to test a hypothesis using procedures to obtain reliable data, and
5) interpreting data and drawing conclusions. A description of this experience is described in the paper.