Inquiry-Based Chemistry Education Activities in a Non-formal Educational Setting for Gifted Students

  • Miha Slapničar Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana; Biotechnical Educational Centre Ljubljana - General Upper Secondary School and Veterinary Technician School, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Luka Ribič Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Iztok Devetak Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Luka Vinko Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Keywords: non-formal education, gifted students, inquiry-based learning, interest, motivation


Student giftedness is a complex, developmentally dynamic and contextual phenomenon that teachers confront every day. In the classroom, teachers often meet students who have exceptional potential or achieve very high learning goals. The aim of this study is to illustrate the evaluation of inquiry-based learning activities in a specific context (Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion learning modules) implemented in a non-formal educational setting for gifted students in relation to their level of individual interest and their autonomous and controlled motivation, comparing different groups of students. We investigate how these activities affect the students’ attitudes towards inquiry-based learning, their situational interest and their interest in science careers. A total of 264 Slovenian lower secondary school students participated in the study. The students participated in non-adapted and adapted activities based on the inquiry-based learning approach. The data were collected using pre- and post-activity questionnaires. Participation in the study, which took place in the period between the 2021/22 and the 2022/23 school years, was voluntary. The data was collected anonymously and used for research purposes only. The results show several statistically significant differences in how students’ level of individual interest, autonomous motivation and controlled motivation for learning chemistry affects their attitudes towards inquiry-based learning, their situational interest in Diversity in Science towards Social Inclusion activities and their interest in science careers. For the gifted and non-gifted students who participated in “Forensics Science†lab activities before and after the adaptations to the modules, the results related to their attitudes towards inquiry-based learning and situational interest are also reported. Thus, the results of the study provide useful insights for researchers in the field of chemistry education as well as for chemistry teachers in lower and upper secondary schools. The presented study is a good example of best practices that chemistry teachers can apply in teaching chemistry, thus enabling all students, not only the gifted ones, to learn chemistry using the inquiry-based learning approach.


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How to Cite
SlapničarM., RibičL., Devetak, I., & Vinko, L. (2024). Inquiry-Based Chemistry Education Activities in a Non-formal Educational Setting for Gifted Students. Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, 14(1), 143-169.