Published in volume 3 number 1, 27 March 2010


University-School partnerships: Polymer Chemistry days run at a University for 14-15 year olds and their impact on attitudes to Science

Amanda J. Shaw, University of Bristol (UK)

Timothy G. Harrison, University of Bristol (UK)

Marcus I. Medley, University of Bristol (UK)

Linda Sellou, University of Bristol (UK) & Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Karen L. Shallcross, University of Bristol (UK)

Susan J. Williams, University of Bristol (UK)

Steve J Croker, University of Bristol (UK)

Dudley E Shallcross, University of Bristol (UK)


Abstract: Polymer Chemistry days run by Bristol ChemLabS at the School of Chemistry, University of Bristol for year 10 (14-15 year olds) school students are described. Pre and post questionnaires were analysed to determine the impact on attitudes to science. There was no change in attitudes to the importance of science or practical work in science, but increases were observed in attitudes to learning science in school, self-concept in science, science outside of school and future participation in science. Using a two-tailed t-test at the 2σ level of significance (95% confidence level) or higher a ‘combined interest in science’ (combining items from learning science in school, science outside of school and future participation in science) was significantly increased.  Using a two-tailed t-test at the 3σ level of significance (99% confidence level) or higher self concept in science was increased. Such an increase at such a high tolerance level is noteworthy. Both males and females attitudes to science increased as a result of the polymer workshops but scores for males were consistently higher than for females. Students studying individual science subjects (triple science) and combined science at GCSE (UK) both returned very high scores for enjoyment of the day. The results of these surveys are discussed in detail in the paper. 

Keywords: Attitudes to science, Bristol ChemLabS, polymer workshops, School Teacher Fellow, University-School Partnerships.


Received 7 January 2010, accepted 16 March 2010

Pages 19-26.           Download PDF


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