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Lee, Y. J., & Diong, C. H. (1999). Misconceptions on the biological concept of food: Results of a survey of high school students. In M. Waas (Ed.), Enhancing learning: Challenge of integrating thinking and information technology into the curriculum: Proceedings of the 12th Annual Conference of the Educational Research Association ( pp. 825-832). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
A questionnaire survey was administered to 66 secondary 5 Normal level students in Singapore to sample students' ideas on the scientific concept of food in school biology. Between 30% to 60% of the respondents believed that food yielded energy but this concept was context dependent and not widespread. Primary responses predominated as students felt that the biological functions of food were for sustenance, satiation, growth and general well-being. They seemed to hold a simplistic view that anything that was consumable (edible) was considered to be a food. More than 75% of the sample accepted the idea that food can be in liquid state. Students' understanding of the biological concept of food was anthropocentric and not applied across living organisms in heterotrophs (animals) or autotrophs (plants) as a whole. The components of a balanced diet were understood but many students confused the concepts of nutrients and water, believing the latter to be a food.
This paper was published in the 1999 Proceedings of the ERA Annual Conference held at Plaza Parkroyal Hotel, Singapore from 23-25 November 1998
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