Primary Students Conceptions about Dissolution: Relating Empirical and Microscopic Representations

By Grammatia Gkermpesioti and Helen Stavridou.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

The aim of this research was a) to detect primary students’ initial conceptions about dissolution, b) to help students develop and relate appropriately representations issued from the empirical and microscopic levels, using an interactive computer simulation, c) to study students’ conceptual evolution during an innovative teaching approach concerning the concept of dissolution. The sample of this research consisted of 61 primary students (aged 11-12). Thirty two (32) students formed the experimental group and 28 the control group. Experimental students worked for 4 hours in small groups carrying out simple laboratory experiments and activities and for 4 additional hours in the computer, using particulate models of matter for the representations of solid, liquids and gases, as well as for the dissolution of different crystalline substances. Before and after teaching, all students answered the same written questionnaire. Research data is issued both from the students’ answers to the questionnaires, as well as from their remarks, drawings and conclusions written in their worksheets. Initially, some students did not understand matter conservation when salt or sugar is dissolved into water, they confused dissolution and melting and they did not have mental representations of the phenomenon in the microscopic level. After teaching, their initial conceptions improved substantially and they were able to apply a particulate model of matter in order to represent and explain dissolution.

Keywords: Dissolution, Microscopic Level, Particulate Model of Matter, Computer Simulation, Conceptual Evolution

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp.47-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 946.222KB).

Grammatia Gkermpesioti

Primary Education Teacher, University of Thessaly, Karditsa, Greece

Student in the post-graduate program “Modern Learning Environments and Development of Educational Materials” of the Univesrity of Thessaly

Helen Stavridou

Professor, 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-France. She has participated in numerous research programs, studying students and student teachers’ understanding about science concepts and phenomena and also aiming at the development of educational software and multi-media material for a more efficient teaching in primary and secondary students. Mrs Stavridou has 126 published articles in scientific journals and proceedings of 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 Development of Educational Materials” of the same institution.

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