Teaching the properties of chromium's oxidation states with a case study method
The purpose of this study was to investigate how a mixed-method case study affects pre-service science teachers' awareness of hexavalent chromium pollution and content knowledge about the properties of chromium's different oxidation states. The study was conducted in Turkey with 55 sophomores during the fall semester of 2013–2014. The students were taught using a case study about chromium's properties, the qualitative and quantitative analysis methods used with chromium compounds, the effects of chromium compounds on human health, and the chemical techniques that can be used to remove hexavalent chromium from wastewater. Open-ended questions were applied to determine the students' pre- and post-knowledge before and after instruction. An open-ended questionnaire and semi-structured interviews showed that the case study had a positive effect on all participants in terms of increasing their awareness of the hazardous effects of hexavalent chromium. Pair sample and independent sample t-test results revealed that the presenting and the audience groups significantly increased their content knowledge after instruction. On the other hand, while there was no statistically significant difference between the groups on verbal questions, there was a difference between the presenting and the audience groups on calculative questions. This finding shows that the mixed-method case instruction might not have affected all subjects in the same way.