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Boo, H. K., & Ang, K. C. (1999). Finding out what pupils are thinking concerning electricity: An exploratory study. 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. 833-840). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
There have been many studies conducted world wide to find out what pupils think about
various aspects of electricity. While some of these studies were conducted based on Asian
samples, there had been none, in the literature, reported using Singaporean samples.
The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study, conducted on a sample
of primary four (P4) pupils, to find out what their views on various aspects of electricity were
before formal instruction was given to them. The study also looked at how such views may be
influenced by formal instruction. A separate group of primary five (P5) pupils, of similar
ability and background and who had been given formal instruction on the same aspects of
electricity one year earlier, were also studied to find out how similar or dissimilar their views
might be as compared with the P4 pupils after instruction.
Information was obtained through written responses to a paper-pencil questionnaire.
A subset of the sample was interviewed, one-to-one, to validate interpretations of their views
expressed in the questionnaire.
The results indicate that pupils do bring with them a range of preconceptions about
electricity into the Science classroom. Some of these ideas are amenable to change through
formal instruction while others are more resistant to change.
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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