Open-ended investigations and
V diagrams in chemistry education
Berit Kurtén-Finnäs, FD
Liselott Forsman, FD
Doctoral thesis, 2008:
It was interesting you had
to think so much.
Open-ended investigations and
V diagrams in chemistry education
Some of the theoretical background
Meaningful learning, V heuristic (Ausubel,
Novak, Gowin)
Open investigations (Hegarty-Hazel)
Authentic school science (Roth)
Objectives for my doctoral study
contribute to the development of the
laboratory work within education in
contribute to research by careful study of
the implementation of open-ended
investigations and a modified version of
Gowin’s V diagram
focus on affective variables of students’
learning; self-concept, beliefs, attitudes
and interest
Methodology and research methods
design-based research
questionnaires, interviews, selfassessment, audio recording in the
4 open-ended investigations together with V
diagrams in grade-7 in a comprehensive
school in Finland (21 students, 13-14 years
old); their first chemistry course
the problems were chosen by the researcher
together with the teacher; context-based
laboratory groups of 2-5 students
Some results and conclusions
The work with open-ended investigations and
with V diagrams had a favourable effect on the
students self-concept, and on their interest in
The group interactions seemed to be important
in the students’ development of their
A majority of the students felt the V diagrams
had helped them in their understanding of the
The S-team project – our part
cooperation with two chemistry teachers in a secondary
school and one teacher at the teacher education
students in a chemistry class in the secondary school
(16 years old), in a pre-IB class and primary teacher
students have worked with open-ended investigation in
combination with V diagrams
 video-recordings in the classrooms; focus on
teachers introductions
students discussions during their planning and practical work
a presentation of open-ended investigations and of V
discussions of different aspects of the work with openended investigations and with V diagrams
The structure of the web resource
Part 1
1. What is an open-ended investigation?
2. Introducing an open-ended investigation in
3. Students planning their investigation.
4. Teacher students working with an openended investigation.
5. Concluding discussions about open-ended
Part 2
6. What is a V diagram? Theoretical background.
7. Introducing V diagrams in class.
8. Students working with V diagrams.
9. Concluding discussions about V diagrams.
Part 3
10. Guidelines for language support in chemistry

Open-ended investigations and V diagrams in chemistry