A Critical Study of the Linkages between Theory and Physics Laboratory work in Senior Secondary Classes

Shruti Chopra


It has been emphasized that all laboratory work should be integrated with theoretical considerations for gaining an understanding of concepts. Further, it is essential for teachers to provide opportunities to help students develop linkages between an observation and associated concepts to construct meaningful knowledge of science. This study aimed at critically examining the laboratory work in physics in senior secondary classes and investigating the teacher’s role in linking theory with laboratory work. The data showed that the laboratory activities were carried out as following ‘recipes’ wherein the students were given straightforward procedures to be followed and were told in advance the results they ought to get. The experiments were not conducted as a process of enquiry with students performing tasks independently, applying their prior knowledge to find an unknown. Teacher recognized gaining of better understanding of physics concepts and verification of theories as the goals of laboratory work but they failed to realize the need to explicitly link the laboratory activities with the related theory to achieve the goal. Moreover, there was a lack of understanding of their own role in providing opportunities to students to link the concrete experiences with the abstract physics concepts

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