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Paper presented at the 4th Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 30 May to 1 June 2011
Students come to formal science instruction with prior ideas or preconceptions concerning
natural objects and events. Preconceptions serve as a platform from which students interpret
their world. In most cases, preconceptions differ from scientific notions and if they are not
confronted in formal instruction, a diverse set of unintended learning outcomes and alternative conceptions occur. In this paper, we report on some of our findings on secondary one express stream students’ ability to solve problems on speed before intervention, as well as students’ performance after intervention. These findings were a part of our 3-year PbI1@School study, which is an on-going research project with an autonomous school in Singapore, to develop and validate effective inquiry-based classroom materials and instruction for secondary one students in the Singapore science classrooms. We attempt to answer the following research questions in this paper: 1. Are the students able to make calculations involving ‘average speed’?
2. Are students able to represent speed in terms of a strobe diagram? Our pre-tests findings revealed that even though most of the students (73%) were able to use the formula for speed and perform the calculations involving average speed correctly, their level of understanding of speed as “distance per unit time” remain questionable as they had problems representing speed in terms of position drawings in a strobe diagram, with only 5% success rate. The findings from the pre-tests have guided our research team in coming up
with a curriculum package that comprise hands-on activities, follow-up sessions, classroom
activities and homework. The positive post-test results from the 2011 intervention have motivated the research team to share our intervention strategies with more schools in Singapore and even educators around the world.
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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