Samuel Lackey

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Todd Lilly


The problem of practice in this dissertation in practice focuses on the lack of motivation and engagement exhibited by career technical education (CTE) students within the traditional high school chemistry classroom as a response to textbook and teacher-centered pedagogy. This qualitative action research study utilizes a game-based learning intervention that is ultimately based upon the personal interests and sociocultural discourses of the six case study participants and analyzes its impact on both the motivation and engagement of this particular sample of rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged, CTE secondary students. During the intervention, a total of five chemistry video games were played by the students over the course of eight weeks including Atom Builder, Bond Breaker, Smashbond, My Molecularium, and ChemCaper Act I: Petticles in Peril. In order to define and measure motivation, Ryan and Deci’s self-determination theory was used while Csikzsentmihalyi’s flow theory provides the framework for defining and measuring engagement. Findings suggest that the incorporation of gamebased learning to chemistry curriculum and instruction has a positive impact on both the motivation and engagement of these students within the high school chemistry classroom.