Enhancing secondary students’ conceptual understanding of states of matter through practical work

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


This study presents findings of a small-scale action research carried out in one of the private schools of Gilgit-Baltistan. The study was conducted in a chemistry classroom with Grade 9 students and the class teacher. The research explored how practical work, in Grade 9 chemistry facilitates students' conceptual understanding of the selected concepts (States of Matter). The study was conducted over five weeks in two cycles. In the reconnaissance stage, two classes were observed, a pre-test, a focused group interview of six students and an interview of the teacher was taken. In cycles 1 and 2, the chemistry teacher and I planned and taught six lessons using this strategy. Data was collected through classroom observations, interviews and pre and post-test. The findings of the study revealed that students started getting familiarized with practical work; as a result there was a shift from a teacher directed class to a student led class. In the teacher directed class, the students did practical work according to the teachers' instructions. However, at the end of the 6th lessons, students developed the process skills i.e. investigated the topic, observed the process accurately, collected the data, and drew conclusions. The findings of the study also showed a considerable progression in terms of a shift from individual work to Collaborative work, resulting in confidence building and a shift from memorizing to engaging in practical science. Moreover, the significant difference (p < 0.001) in paired sample t-test showed a positive impact of the intervention on students learning. The study highlighted time, teacher and students' misconceptions, lack of laboratory resources, space, and students' lack of self-confidence as challenges in implementing practical work in the classroom. However, cognizant to its significance the study has implications for school in terms of students' better learning and effective teaching. Therefore, schools need to relook its method of teaching from theory to practices and teacher need to change their theoretical based teaching to practical based teaching.

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