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Small-scale chemistry for a hands-on approach to chemistry practical work in secondary schools: Experiences from Ethiopia

G Tesfamariam
A Lykknes
L Kvittingen


The purpose of this study was to investigate the possibility of using a small-scale chemistry (SSC) approach as a means of performing chemistry practical activities in Ethiopian secondary schools. A total of eight  experiments from two topics, electrolysis and rate of reaction, in the  Ethiopian grade 11 chemistry syllabus were modified into SSC for use with the MyLab Chemistry Kits (Northwest University, South Africa). The  evaluation involved classroom testing of the SSC materials to investigate the effect of the approach compared to the regular teaching approach. Two comparable groups of Grade 11 science stream students (188 experimental; 195 control) and their chemistry teachers participated in the study. Triangulation procedures involving classroom observation of the use of the SSC approach in classrooms, student achievement tests (pre and post-test), questionnaires, and interviews were employed for data  collection. Results showed that the SSC approach can increase students understanding of chemistry concepts. Furthermore, despite the presence of some challenges in operating the smallscale equipment, collecting  quantitative data, and maintaining class discipline, the SSC approach was viewed by both teachers and students as cost and time saving, safer, easy to use and enjoyable. [AJCE 4(3), Special Issue, May 2014]