The Use of Comics in Experimental Instructions in a Non-formal Chemistry Learning Context

Fiona Affeldt, Daniel Meinhart, Ingo Eilks
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Practical work is an essential component of science education. However, insufficient approaches towards practical work can limit the potential it has for promoting both students' motivation and situational interest. One suggestion to solve this problem is to use alternative forms of lab instruction which are both motivating and easy to comprehend. One potential avenue is the increased use of pictorial information instead of pure text-based approaches. This case describes the use of comics in experimental instructions in non-formal chemistry learning. Comics visualise stories, are viewed as comprehensible to students, and also allow instructors to connect scientific tasks with authentic situations taken from students´ lives. This paper describes a study of 6th grade students´ perceptions (age range 11-13 years) of using comic-based lab instructions in a non-formal inquiry-based laboratory learning environment which focused on the chemistry of water quality. Semi-structured interviews of pairs of students were conducted during their visits to the non-formal laboratory. These 22 interviews (44 students total) were then analysed using qualitative content analysis. Overall, very positive perceptions by the students could be identified with respect to comic-based experimental instructions. Further research on the most promising use of comics in science education is needed.

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Affeldt, F., Meinhart, D. & Eilks, I. (2018). The use of comics in experimental instructions in a non-formal chemistry learning context. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology (IJEMST), 6(1), 93-104. DOI:10.18404/ijemst.380620


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