Practical work is defined to be any science teaching and learning activity which involves students, working individually or in small groups, manipulating and/or observing real objects and materials, as opposed to the virtual world (Science Community Representing Education (SCORE), 2008). This practical work has become a well established part of secondary school science within England as part of the National Curriculum (Office for Standards in Education (OfSTED, 2008). Indeed, since 1988, the National Curriculum has brought about ‘practical work by order’ (Wellington, 2002, p.57) and current science teaching involves students carrying out practical work within their biology, chemistry and physics lessons. As is currently practiced, students claim to find practical work an ‘enjoyable and effective way of learning science’ (Hodson, 1992, p. 115) and this has been reported in many previous studies (Osborne &Collins, 2001; Jenkins &Nelson, 2005).
The word Chemistry usually bring up a mental picture of the many synthetic substances that we see around us. We may think of dyes, plastics, fibres and drugs are manufactured by chemical processes. The study of these processes would not answer the question. Each new discovery in the field of chemistry depends upon either discourages, sometimes in other fields such as physics and biology. During the science subjects, what then sets chemistry apart from physics and biology? It is still convenient, to associate chemistry primarily with the study of matter – its composition, the changes is undergoes, and the energy exchanges involved in these charges.
Probably, the best way to seek an answer to the question is to trace the development of some particular chemical discovery. Chemistry is the study of the properties and composition of matter and the changes with matter undergoes. It is far more than that. We shall see it as concern with the energy exchanges that accompany all changes in matter. Chemical knowledge derived from this study is based on experiments in which very careful observations are made usually a particular question.
A chemist is always on the workout for a regular pattern of behavior. The more scientist seek answers to their questions, the more they realize that absolute answers are rarely if ever.