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Chemistry LibreTexts


Integration of the field trip and laboratory experiences was an effective learning mechanism that allowed students to make the connections between field observations and more abstract water quality concepts (oxygen concentration to temperature correlation, estimation of pH using law of mass action equations etc.). This approach is particularly useful to teach education pre-service majors who lack rigorous science content compared to science majors. Field trip would provide concrete experiences to facilitate understanding of abstract equilibrium concepts. This methodology can be applied to any college level of chemistry or environmental courses intended for education majors who would be teaching these courses in turn to their students. We stress that the student understanding of content gained during this course was not by volume or variety of course but by how the content was actively discovered by students in multiple learning environments. The results of this study are consistent with previous research that demonstrates field experiences attract students to science and make science learning more meaningful. This chemical equilibrium activity also adds to the integration of mathematical skills, laboratory skills and geology content as well. The students were given a guided inquiry lesson (see Teacher’s guide) that required students to read and compile data at the Huffman Dam on pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, nitrates, and carbonates. This data were interpreted using simple concepts on chemical equilibrium. A pre-/post-test as shown in Teacher’s guide was given to students to assess the content gain. The questions were designed in such a way that one can asses students’ ability in comprehending the lesson provided through guided inquiry included in Teacher’s guide, applying the lesson to analyze water quality in the river, analyzing the data collected from making measurements on the river and then synthesizing the overall results using chemical equilibrium to understand water quality by the Huffman Dam along the Mad River, Dayton, Ohio. It was found that students were excellent on comprehension and application of chemical equilibrium and were above average for the analysis and synthesis of the inquiry-based chemical equilibrium lesson as noted giving an overall 0.60 normalized gain. This field and lab experience has created real-world experiences that students will utilize as future teachers in their own classrooms (9-10).