Increasing student motivation and the perception of chemistry's relevance in the classroom by learning about tattooing from a chemical and societal view
This paper presents a study on tattooing as a topic for chemistry education. The selection of the topic was inspired by a newly suggested framework, which focuses on the question of relevance of science education. The aim of this case was to get evidence on how topics selected based on the suggested model of relevance of science education affect learners' overall motivation and perception of chemistry learning. For the purpose of the study a lesson plan was cyclically developed and tested within a project of Participatory Action Research. The lesson plan focuses both the chemistry behind tattoo inks and the societal perspectives surrounding tattoos. The study description first includes some background information about tattooing and tattoo inks. It then continues with a description of the lesson plan and ends with reporting experiences and findings taken from lesson plan evaluations at the lower secondary chemistry teaching level (age 14–15). The topic and lesson plan proved themselves to be very motivating for students. Indicators that this lesson plan can potentially contribute to positive changes in students' perceptions of learning chemistry were observed. Implications arising from this case are also discussed.