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Title: PBI1@SCHOOL: On secondary one students’ understanding of volume and density
Authors: Wong, Darren Jon Sien
Lim, Chim Chai
Munirah Shaik Kadir
Foong, See Kit
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Paper presented at the 4th Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 30 May to 1 June 2011
Abstract: In this paper, we focus on students’ understanding of the concepts relating to buoyancy: namely, (a) the level of displaced liquid as being dependent on the volume of the object that is submerged in it, and (b) density as a characteristic property of a material which is unaffected by its size. The study used a pretest-posttest control group design. The students were secondary one (grade 7) students. Due to limitation of time, the data in this paper were derived from analysing two classes (N = 72) out of six in the experimental group which
experienced the PbI1@School curriculum, and two classes (N=80) out of five in the control group which were taught using the traditional approach. We used two pretests to probe students’ preconceptions of the two concepts (a) and (b) stated above. The common preconceptions identified from students’ answers in the pretests include: the idea that mass and/or weight of the object and the depth at which an already completely immersed object is placed below the surface of the liquid affect the level of displaced liquid. Another common preconception is the idea that the mass/weight of the object determines its buoyancy (i.e. whether it will sink or float). From the reasoning seen in their responses, it was clear that many students, prior to instruction, were not able to distinguish between the concepts of mass, weight, volume and density. Results from our analysis showed the effectiveness of the adapted inquiry-based materials and instruction in developing student conceptual understanding. A good understanding of the common student preconceptions and how
instruction can be designed and facilitated to help students resolve their preconceptions to
better learn the concepts would be beneficial to physics teachers in secondary school.
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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