A Case Study on Primary School Students’ Ideas Evolution about Simple Circuit and Parallel Connection

By Vassiliki Pilatou and Helen Stavridou.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The aim of this case study is to detect the evolution of students’ initial ideas on the notion of simple circuit and parallel connection of the house electric installation into a collaborative learning environment. For this purpose we analyzed the drawings of three 11-year-old students. In total, the innovative approach was tested with 83 pupils of the 5th grade in Volos – Greece studying “Current and main electricity”. During the intervention, children worked in small groups of 4-5 persons with the appropriate workshop material and with the help of worksheets that the researchers of this study developed. Research data came from the elaboration of three students’ drawings to one question of an initial and final questionnaire. The other four questions are presented to the worksheets that pupils discussed during the instruction. From the analysis of three students’ drawings it is obvious that one of them improved her understanding on the phenomena under study substantially, since she represents gradually – from unit to unit – the whole circuit of an electric device and the parallel connection among three electrical appliances. Finally one other pupil created quite satisfactory mental representations of the concept of circuit, while the last one child did not show satisfactory improvement. Conclusions were drawn on studens’ learning difficulties and proposals were formulated for the improvement of teaching and learning main electricity in primary school.

Keywords: Students’ Ideas Evolution, Simple Circuit, Parallel Connection, House Electric Installation, Collaborative Learning, Constructivist Approach, Primary School

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp.233-248. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.119MB).

Vassiliki Pilatou

Teacher, Researcher of Science Education, Pedagogical Department of Primary Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

Mrs. Vassiliki Pilatou received her bachelor in Pedagogy from the Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly (1997) and PhD in Teaching and Learning Science Education (2003) from the same institution. She has participated in numerous research programs, which include “The island of Faiakes: A pilot educational exploitation of the network and the computational technology in Elementary School” and “Innovative approaches for an effective teaching and learning of the concepts of vital and non-vital substance”. Mrs. Pilatou has many published articles in scientific magazines written in English and Greek. She works as a teacher in a Primary School and she teaches Science Education to the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly.

Helen Stavridou

Professor of Science Education, Pedagogical Department of Primary Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece

Mrs. Helen Stavridou received her Bachelor in Chemistry from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1974) and her Master (D.E.A.) and PhD in Science and Technology Education in 1985 and 1990, respectively, from Paris 7 University. She has participated in numerous research programs, which include “The ideas of students and student teachers as a guide for a more rational Science teaching in Primary Education”, “Teaching approach of concepts and phenomena of chemistry and development of software and multi-media material for a more efficient teaching in pupils and undergraduate students”, “The island of Faiakes: A pilot educational exploitation of the network and the computational technology in Elementary School” and “Innovative approaches for an effective teaching and learning of the concepts of vital and non-vital substance”. Mrs Stavridou has 126 published articles in scientific magazines and national and international conferences, written in English, French and Greek. She is currently a professor of Science Education in the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly and the director of studies of the post-graduate program “Modern Learning Environments and Educational Material Production” of the same institution.

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