PbI1@School: On Singapore Secondary One students’ perception and understanding of work done and moment of force

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Munirah Shaik Kadir
Lee, Paul Choon Keat
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Studies indicate primary school students' interest and attitudes towards science decline as they progress into the secondary years. Experience shows that Singapore students are no exception. Knowing these students’ perceptions of science and understanding of science concepts should help in developing pedagogical approaches and lesson packages that will address the decline. Therefore, in our on-going study data are collected from students of six secondary one classes in a school in Singapore to learn of their views of science, reasons for liking or disliking science and their understanding of the topics in the science curriculum before and after instruction. This is done for a range of physics topics in their science syllabus. In this paper, we report the preliminary findings on the topic “Forces at Work” consisting of two sub-topics, ‘Moment of Force’ and ‘Work Done’. We group our findings into three main categories, ‘Students’ Perceptions’, ‘Students’ Preconceptions’ and ‘Students’ understanding of concepts’. Among the early findings are 1) students are confused between the two concepts of ‘Moment of Force’ and ‘Work Done’ 2) students are concerned about having to memorize a lot of information and solve many quantitative problems 3) students prefer to be given opportunities to carry out experiments as a means of verifying physics concepts to theory lessons where information is passed on to them verbally, and 4) students are good at using keywords as reasoning without actually understanding what they mean. This study surfaces key issues in understanding these young students’ learning journeys in the world of science. As such, the results from this research can guide curriculum development. We will be developing a curriculum that take into account these research results and the constraints of the school.
Paper presented at the 3rd Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 1 - 3 June 2009