Title

Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Chemistry Experiments Towards Academic Achievement and 21st Century Skills of Students

Author

Corina Samin

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Science Education

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Armando Victor M. Guidote Jr.; PhD, Rhodora F. Nicdao, PhD

Abstract

Many watchwords in education have risen such as “21st Century Skills (21CS)” and “Do-It-Yourself (DIY)”. Both are grounded on project-based learning (PjBL) which deals with hands-on projects to apply theories. In chemistry, theories seem to be very difficult to grasp. To address this, the study considered DIY experiments to provide concrete learning and determine its impact on students’ academic achievement and 21CS. These DIY experiments dealt with different topics in General Chemistry and were built on the baseline data that were collected during the administration of the pretest. DIY1: “Making Crystals” tackles crystalline solids by forming crystals out of mixing water and borax from an all-natural powder. While DIY2: “Producing Sparklers” discusses types of solutions with sparklers being made from mixing sugar and fertilizers. DIY3: “Creating Chemical Cold and Hot Packs” addresses the energy changes. Cold packs were made by dissolving table salt and cornstarch in water while hot packs used vinegar and baking soda. All these DIY experiments were done voluntarily by students in their homes. A quasi-experimental non-randomized pretest-posttest group design was used in this study. Three instruments were administered to two groups (n1 = 40, n2 = 38) of students: (1) researcher-made test on General Chemistry, (2) Likert-scale Survey of 21CS (S21CS) developed by Ravitz J. (2014) and (3) an open-ended questionnaire for the participants to describe their experiences. Based on the analyses, DIY experiments had a significant effect on students’ academic achievement (p<0.0001) which is supported by students’ responses stating that they have learned chemistry in a more interesting and very informative manner resulting to the attainment of “Applying” and “Creating” cognitive domains. While for v the 21st century skills, no significant difference was observed (p<0.070) resulting in a negligible correlation between academic achievement and 21st century skills. Looking at the mean normalized gain of S21CS scores, the DIY learning group obtained higher mean (M=0.445) than the non-DIY group (M=0.356). Nevertheless, DIY experiments can still be considered as beneficial to the students’ overall academic achievement.

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