Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Educational Studies, Under the Supervision of Professor David W. Brooks. Lincoln, Nebraska: June 2011

Copyright 2011 Daniel S. Price


While lecture demonstrations have been conducted in chemistry classrooms for hundreds of years, little research exists to document the frequency with which such demonstrations are employed or their effect on learners’ motivation and performance. A mixed-methods research study was performed, using quantitative and qualitative survey data, along with qualitative data from follow-up interviews and structured correspondence, to determine the extent to which lecture demonstrations are used in high school chemistry instruction, and the perceived effects of viewing such demonstrations on students’ performance on course assignments and on motivation to excel in current and future chemistry courses. Fifty-two randomly selected chemistry teachers completed a survey regarding their present and projected use of classroom demonstration. Twelve of the survey participants provided elaboration in the form of an extended questionnaire. Data indicate that all except one of the survey participants currently employ lecture demonstrations, and all anticipate performing the same amount of, or more, demonstrations in their future instruction. Extended questionnaire and survey data reveal that the participating chemistry teachers perceive substantial positive effects on students’ performance on classroom assignments and a lesser, though still positive, effect, on learners’ motivation. No correlations were observed between the number of lecture demonstrations performed and educators’ years of experience teaching chemistry, previous exposure to demonstrations, or undergraduate degrees earned.

Adviser: David W. Brooks