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Ning, H. T., & Subramaniam, R. (2004). Fostering functional understanding in students through the use of physics demonstrations. In L. C. Chew (Ed.), Innovation & enterprise: Education for the new economy: Proceedings for the ERAS Conference (pp. 248-265). Singapore: Educational Research Association.
The topic of Electrostatics in Physics was used to study the effectiveness of demonstrations
in promoting functional understanding among secondary school students. One class of
secondary school students was used as the test group while another class of students served
as the control group; the latter group was taught the topic via the conventional chalk-and-talk
approach. Analyses of students' responses to survey instruments as well as of another
instrument to gauge content acquisition and functional understanding show that the use of
demonstrations promotes a learning climate which is conducive for the acquisition of key
concepts and also helps to scaffold students' thinking in a more pronounced manner as
compared to the traditional approach. Despite having a better academic standing, the control
group performed only slightly better than the demonstration group. Some implications of
this study are discussed.
This paper was published in the Proceedings of ERAS Conference held in Singapore from 24-26 November 2004
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