Syften och tillfälligheter i högstadie- och gymnasielaborationen: En studie om hur elever handlar i relation till aktivitetens mål<br>Purposes and contingencies in the lower and upper secondary school lab


  • Per Anderhag Institutionen för matematikämnets och naturvetenskapsämnenas didaktik, Stockholms universitet
  • Helena Danielsson Thorell Utbildningsförvaltningen Stockholms stad
  • Carina Andersson Utbildningsförvaltningen Stockholms stad
  • Andreas Holst Utbildningsförvaltningen Stockholms stad
  • Johan Nordling Utbildningsförvaltningen Stockholms stad



English title: Purposes and contingencies in the lower and upper secondary school lab: A study of how students act in relation to the goals of the activity

Studies have shown that students’ awareness of the goals and purposes of the laboratory activity is important for their possibility to participate in and learn from the activity. While practical activities often have been considered to be a central part of science education, relatively few studies have examined laboratory work in situ. In this paper we addressed these issues by examining (a) what purposes are distinguished when students’ work with a laboratory assignment and (b) how these purposes are made continuous with the teacher’s aim with the assignment. The data was based on classroom observations from two ordinary laboratory settings, one from a chemistry class in lower secondary school and one from a physics class in the natural science programme in upper secondary school. Although both student groups acknowledged their teacher’s intentions with the practical and could act towards the more student centered purposes of the activity, e.g. describe what happens with the copper and measure the speed of a small vessel respectively, there were differences regarding the possibilities the students had to act toward the activity’s final aim. The results showed that these factors can be referred to the amount of purposes introduced by the teacher as well as those that arose because of contingences, and the connection of these purposes to students’ prior experiences.