Front loading science-related math skills in high school chemistry
Giammo, Cheri Lynn
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Student achievement in a chemistry curriculum can be greatly impacted by whether they have an understanding of critical math concepts and the skills to perform those concepts. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of frontloading the required math concepts, practicing the skills involved in problem solving and providing the relevance of the concepts to chemistry. Tests, surveys, formative assessments and interviews were used to compare a treatment and a non-treatment group. The treatment group received the specific math lessons and practice at the beginning of a unit along with the application to the chemical topic. The non-treatment group was taught with conventional methods of learning the chemistry formulas through lectures and textbook assignments with the assumption that their math skills were adequate. The tests were utilized to determine the increase in content knowledge as well as mathematical strengths in problem solving. Surveys, formative assessments and interviews were used as qualitative data to measure chemistry and math attitudes and confidences. The results of this study showed no statistical difference in overall achievement averages or confidence/attitudes among the treatment and non-treatment groups when taught math up front as compared to within the unit.