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Faculty Sponsor

Eric Tippmann; Matthew Perkins Coppola

Sponsor Department/Program

Chemistry; Educational Studies

Student Department/Program



The current American Chemical Society (ACS) public policy statement confirms that students who have “well-designed laboratory experiences develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills.” Furthermore, the ACS stresses that a hands-on experience cannot be replaced by theoretical work. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the percentage of students in home schooling has been steadily increasing. With this increase in students, there may be a need for outreach programs to fill the void in the hands-on education of these students, specifically in subjects for which it is difficult to create a safe and cost-efficient laboratory experience. Thus far, there has been a relative dearth of research regarding the benefits of a science outreach program targeted to home-school students. A science outreach lab hosted on March 5, 2018 for area home-school students may provide insight into the benefits of such an experience. Does this hands-on laboratory prove to be an effective pedagogical tool in learning chemistry? Does a laboratory in a university setting provide the experience necessary to improve a student’s self-efficacy in data collection, data analysis, and transition to college lab work? Home-school students between the ages of 13 and 17 will be brought to IPFW to participate in a chemistry lab. As part of this voluntary study, these students will be asked to complete a pre-lab and post-lab survey and will also be observed by key personnel. These survey questions will be analyzed using individual comparisons as well as group comparisons of these anonymous surveys. A previous study at Clemson University provided positive results with an increase of self-efficacy. For our study, an increase in sample size as well as the additional analysis of the improved content knowledge resulting from a hands-on lab, should provide more guidance about the implementation and utility of such outreach programs.


Chemistry | Education

Evaluating the Benefits of a Chemistry Lab for Homeschool Teenagers in a University Setting