chapter  2
7 Laboratories
Pages 6

The laboratory is a commonplace of science and school science. For more than a

century, it has been uniquely associated with the pursuit of school science. The

science curriculum is infused with images of students conducting rigorous labora-

tory-based experiments, mimicking the behaviour of real scientists in real scientific

laboratories. ‘Hands-on’ has become a catch cry for science education, particularly

over the past forty years, driving curriculum development (and facilities manage-

ment) in the developed and developing worlds. And yet, notwithstanding the

central place of the laboratory in school science, there is a growing corpus of

research which calls into question both its value and effectiveness, and its connec-

tion to the enterprise of science (Hegarty-Hazel 1990; Hodson 1993; Lazarowitz

and Tamir 1994; Milne and Taylor 1998; Tobin 1990).