Examining the Impact of Directly Addressing a Major Misconception about Photosynthesis Prior to Instruction

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Title: Examining the Impact of Directly Addressing a Major Misconception about Photosynthesis Prior to Instruction
Author: Adcock, Bess Currin
Advisors: Glenda Carter, Committee Chair
Abstract: Science education literature includes many studies of common misconceptions held by science students. But there are fewer studies that address ways of helping students to overcome those misconceptions. This study explored whether making students aware of a major misconception about photosynthesis prior to instruction would provide the dissatisfaction with their current conceptions necessary for helping students to achieve accommodation of new, scientifically more acceptable concepts. This study was framed around the conceptual change model. An experimental group of high school biology students viewed a PowerPoint presentation with slides that revealed the major misconception. The control group of high school biology students viewed a similar PowerPoint presentation with the misconception slides omitted. Students responded to an open-ended question and several multiple choice and short answer questions in pretests and posttests. All students participated in the same unit of study, which included strategies geared toward eliminating misconceptions about photosynthesis. Findings indicated that both groups made gains on the open-ended question, with the experimental group making greater gains than the control group. Posttest results indicated that the majority of all students no longer held the misconception, with varying degrees of sophistication in terms of accommodation of a new conception. Implications for classroom teachers related to instruction geared toward conceptual change are addressed.
Date: 2003-04-08
Degree: MS
Discipline: Science Education
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/370


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