Confront and Cluster—How Different Groups of Primary School Children Respond to Instruction towards Conceptual Change at an Out-of-School Learning Setting

Sabine Glaab, Thomas Heyne

Abstract


We sampled the alternative conceptions of 257 third grade students (8-11 years old) using an open questionnaire. The answers were categorized into three topics and used to construct a multiple choice instrument. Following the pretest our instruction phase contained the confrontation with the students’ own alternative conceptions about humans’ and cats’ vision at a wildlife-park. Immediately after instruction, the multiple choice instrument was presented as a post test and several weeks later as a retention test. Due to the heterogeneity within our student sample we defined and found five different groups. Our data shows that the instruction of primary school children using confrontation according to the conceptual change theory does not lead to a change of conceptions or to synthetic models, furthermore we found no detectable conceptual growth. Finally, students with the accepted scientific conception as well as students with other concepts seemed to be confused by this instruction.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22158/wjer.v4n3p417

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