Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Education Honours


School of Education


Faculty of Education

First Supervisor

Frank Dymond


Practical work is considered important for learning science, by teachers and science educators. This acceptance though, has been reported as based on intuition rather than evidence (Atkinson & White, 1961). A significant proportion of class time is occupied with doing practical work. It is evident that in a majority of situations, students commence laboratory activities unsure of their aim, the procedure they are going to carry out, or that experimentation is a way of forming knowledge (Moreira, I 960; Novak & Gowin, I 964). Vee-maps (Novak & Gowin, 1 964) are one way of making laboratory work more meaningful. That is, by tying new knowledge to existing schemata students will learn more effectively. Vee-maps concentrate students' attention on the focus question, the event to be observed, and direct students to interpret results in terms of relevant prior knowledge. In this project the teacher was taught vee-mapping and then incorporated this into his pre-laboratory and post-laboratory discussion. A one-group pre-test-post-test design was used for this study where, all students (N= 13) were pre-tested after traditional instruction, and post-tested after a four week treatment program. Subjects for this study were on existing class of Year 11 Biology students at a Western Australian Senior High School. Two types of instruments were designed and used for the pre-test and post-test. These instruments gathered information about students understandings of a particular laboratory, and their perceptions of pre-laboratory and post-laboratory discussions. Observations were mode of the teacher's presentation and he was interviewed for his perceptions of student changes and opinion of implementation. The results of the study showed that students believed they had gained more from both the pre-laboratory and post-laboratory discussions after the vee-mapping strategy had been implemented. There was a significant gain in their ability to identify pre-requisite concepts of on experiment. However there was no increase in their ability to identify the purpose or the experimental outcomes of a laboratory exercise. The teacher found the vee-mopping strategy easy to implement into the pre-laboratory and post-laboratory discussions.