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'misconception' Search Results



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This article presents an international study that documented the conceptions of atomic models held by 1062 in-service high school science teachers from 58 countries. First, a previous study on pre-service science teachers’ conceptions of atomic models was successfully replicated as a pilot study with an international sample of in-service science teachers. Teachers’ conceptions were investigated by analysing their drawings of atomic models. Based on these results, a multiple-choice questionnaire was developed for the main study. This questionnaire collected data on teachers’ conceptions of atomic models, teachers’ knowledge about their students’ conceptions of atomic models, and teachers’ use of atomic models in the classroom. The results show that the teachers’ conceptions of atomic models are almost evenly distributed over six different atomic models. These models are the Bohr model, the Rutherford model, the probability model, the orbital model, the probability orbit model, and the wave model. The vast majority of teachers assume that their students’ conceptions are centred on two historical atomic models, namely the Bohr model and the Rutherford model. Furthermore, the majority of teachers prefer to use historical atomic models over modern atomic models in the classroom. However, the findings also highlight that the use of modern atomic models in the classroom is positively correlated with growing teaching experience, and that teachers’ conceptions of atomic models and their knowledge of students’ conceptions of atomic models significantly influence teachers’ classroom practice.

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10.12973/ejmse.1.2.67
Pages: 67-80
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An Analysis of Errors and Misconceptions in the Study of Quadratic Equations

error misconception quadratic equation

Jane Tendere , Lillias H. N. Mutambara


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This study attempts to investigate the errors and misconception that form three students reveal using symbolic equation and word-problem representations. The participants were thirty form three students, from a high school in Zimbabwe. Three mathematics teachers from the same school also took part. Data was collected from the students through a questionnaire, a test, follow up interviews and semi-structured interviews. Semi structured interviews were also conducted with the three mathematics teachers. In data analysis, the students’ written responses and data from questionnaire were qualitatively analysed to determine the nature of the students’ errors when solving quadratic equations. The results revealed that the students had difficulties in solving symbolic quadratic equations by the factorisation method as well as the use of the quadratic formula such that many misconceptions were exposed. The following types of errors were revealed: conceptual, procedural and technical. It was found out that it is an advantage for teachers to teach students with the knowledge of these errors in an effort to eliminate them.

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10.12973/ejmse.1.2.81
Pages: 81-90
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The purpose of this paper is to report a part of a calculus research project, about the performance of a group of pre-service mathematics teachers on two tasks on limit and differentiation of the trigonometric sine function in which the unit of angle measurement was in degrees. Most of the pre-service teachers were not cognizant of the unit of angle measurement in the typical differentiation formula, and a number of participants recognized the condition on the unit of angle measurement but did not translate this to the correct procedure for performing differentiation. The result also shows that most of the participants were not able to associate the derivative formula with the process of deriving it from the first principle. Consequently, they did not associate it with finding  . In the process of evaluating this limit, the pre-service teachers exhibited further misconceptions about division of a number by zero.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.1.1
Pages: 1-12
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This study aimed to develop a two-tiers diagnostic test to assess the high school, junior high school, and elementary pre-service teachers about the heat and the temperature concepts in a general physics course. There are two tiers in this test: The first tier composed of six items consisting of multiple-choice questions related to the heat and the temperature, including the correct answer. The second tier of each item contains reasons for students choosing their answer to the first tier. The second tier included four or five responses, one of which is a correct conceptual understanding. The wrong answers, also called distractors, were based on students’ misconceptions. To this end, 128 pre-service teachers from Quebec in Canada completed a pencil-paper questionnaire of sixty minutes duration composing of six questions (four open-ended questions and two multiple choice questions with justifications). As illustrations, the following  conceptual understandings have been identified in our qualitative analysis of the data collected: 1. The change of state of the matter does not require a constant temperature; 2.  The temperature is a measure in degrees to indicate the level of heat of an object or person; 3. The mercury contained in a thermometer expands when it is heated so that the particles which constitute it expand; and 4. The sensation of cold (or warm) is related to the difference in temperature.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.1.23
Pages: 23-34
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Exploring Zimbabwean A-Level Mathematics Learners’ Understanding of the Determinant Concept

linear algebra matrix and determinant understanding

Conilius Chagwiza , Lillias Hamufari Natsai Mutambara , Gladys Sunzuma


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Learners bring prior knowledge to their learning environments. This prior knowledge is said to have an effect on how they encode and later retrieve new information learned. This research aimed at exploring ‘A’ level mathematics learners’ understanding of the determinant concept of 3×3 matrices. A problem-solving approach was used to determine learners' conceptions and errors made in calculating the determinant. To identify the conceptions; a paper and pencil test, learner interviews, and learner questionnaires were used. Ten learners participated in the research and purposive sampling was used to select learners who are doing the syllabus 6042/2 Zimbabwe School Examination Council (ZIMSEC). Data was analyzed qualitatively through an analysis of each learners' problem-solving performance where common themes were identified amongst the learners’ work. Results from the themes showed that Advanced level learners faced some challenges in calculating the determinant of 3×3 matrices. Learners were having challenges with the place signs used in 3×3 matrices, especially when using the method of cofactors. The findings reveal that learners had low levels of engagement with the concepts and the abstract nature of the concepts was the major source of these challenges. The study recommends that; teachers should engage learners for lifelong learning and apply some mathematical definitions in real-world problems. Teachers should address the issues raised in this research during the teaching and learning process. In addition, teachers should engage learners more through seminars where learners get to mingle with others from other schools.

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10.12973/ejmse.2.2.85
Pages: 85-100
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The ability to think critically is a basic competency that must be possessed by students. This study aims to determine the level of critical thinking skills of junior high school students in Bima Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Various studies have been carried out that explain how important students' critical thinking skills are, but there have not been too many studies on efforts to develop and empower students' critical thinking skills in a practical way. In this thesis, we introduce the technique of empowering students' critical thinking skills by developing a virtual laboratory media based on problem based learning on the material of the human excretory system. In this development, use software construct2 to develop a device which is then integrated with a problem based learning model. It is proven that a virtual laboratory based on problem based learning can improve the critical thinking skills of junior high school students in Belo Kaputen Bima District. We hope that the development of PBL-based virtual laboratory media can improve dramatically, such as the use of 3-dimensional and 4-dimensional software to improve students' understanding of critical and constructive thinking without losing quality.

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10.12973/ejmse.3.1.35
Pages: 35-47
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The focus of this action research was to adapt Bruner’s 3-tier theory to enhance conceptual knowledge of teacher trainees on integer operations. It looks into how learners' conceptual knowledge of integer operations changes over time, as well as their attitudes toward using the 3-tier model. Eighty-two (82) teacher trainees, who were in their first year semester one of the 2020/2021 academic year were purposely selected for the study. Data was collected using test and semi-structured interviews. The study found that using Bruner’s 3-tier theory contributed to substantial gains in conceptual knowledge on integers operations among learners.  It was also found that learners proffered positive compliments about the Concrete-Iconic-Symbolic (C-I-S) construct of lesson presentation and how it built their understanding to apply knowledge on integers operations. Learners also largely proffered positive image about C-I-S construct as it aroused interest and activated unmotivated learners. On these bases, the study concludes that lessons presentations should mirror C-I-S construct in order to alleviate learning difficulties encountered on integer operations. To do this, the study suggests that workshops on lesson presentation using C-I-S construct be organized for both subject tutors, mentors and lead mentors to re-equip their knowledge and to buy-in the idea among others.

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10.12973/ejmse.3.2.61
Pages: 61-77
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This paper reports an exploratory study on the pre-service teachers’ content knowledge on school calculus. A calculus instrument assessing the pre-service teachers’ iconic thinking, algorithmic thinking and formal thinking related to various concepts in school calculus was administered to a group of pre-service mathematics teachers. Their performance on five of the items is reported in this paper. Other than their good performance in the iconic recognition of stationary points, their recognition on points of inflexion, differentiability and notion of minimum points was relatively poor. In addition, they appeared to lack the algorithmic flexibility in testing the nature of stationary points and the formal thinking about definition of an extremum point. The implications of the findings are discussed.  

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10.12973/ejmse.3.2.91
Pages: 91-103
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Research into knowledge which mathematics teachers require to teach abounds. There is also mounting interest among mathematics teacher education researchers to characterize mathematics teacher educator knowledge (MTEK). However, there is a generic dearth of studies focusing on conceptions of mathematics teacher educators (MTE) regarding MTEK. This article is a product of a qualitative case study underscoring teacher educator conceptions in that regard and the investigation involved two MTE who were practicing in a university. The research site was conveniently chosen, and participants were intentionally selected to respond to interview questions which elicited espoused views. Narrative analysis was used through exploration and subsequent interpretation of transcripts which aligned with questions posed. Analyses suggested a complexity to exhaustively categorize the MTEK necessary for MTE to train mathematics teachers. Notwithstanding, MTE believed that MTEK should include understanding of research in mathematics teacher education and teaching, mathematics teacher knowledge, and MTE professional development. Additionally, the findings suggested that MTE acquire mathematics teacher educator knowledge through postgraduate studies, on the job practice, mentorship, and participation in professional development activities. Research in other contexts is recommended to identify mathematics teacher educators’ understandings of MTEK and how that knowledge should be acquired.

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10.12973/ejmse.4.2.121
Pages: 121-131
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In terms of learning and academic level, this study compares the development of mathematical creative thinking skills between students who use the Blended Learning Model with GeoGebra support (BLM-G) and students who use the Blended Learning Model without GeoGebra aid (BLM-non-G). A nonequivalent control-group design and a quasi-experimental research methodology are being used. The participants in this study were eighth-grade SMPN students in Ternate City, Indonesia. The research sample was 125 people from two schools with different grade levels. The instrument used is a mathematical creative thinking ability test. Research result; Learning using BLM-G influences students' mathematical creative thinking abilities at high and medium school levels, with very high categories. When compared to kids who learn using BLM-non-G learning, students who use BLM-G learning exhibit greater growth in their capacity for both mathematical and creative thought. This is based on high school level pupils. Kids who study using BLM-G learning and students who learn using BLM-non-G learning exhibit equal increases in their capacity for mathematical and creative thought at the middle school level.

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10.12973/ejmse.4.2.149
Pages: 149-159
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The study investigated the impact of YouTube video assisted instructions (YVAI) on pre-service teachers’(PSTs) attitudes and academic performance in chemistry classroom. A quasi-experimental design was adopted for the study. One hundred and twenty (120) Pre-Service Teachers (PSTs) pursuing primary education programme constituted the participants of the study. Sixty (60) PSTs each were non-randomly assigned to the Experimental Group (EG) and Control Group (CG). Data on PSTs’ attitude and performance were collected with PSTAS and GCPT respectively. The SPSS software version 20 was used to analyse the data to generate descriptive and inferential statistics. A non-parametric analysis was used in the inferential statistics. The attitude means rank (MR=78.62) of EG (U = 713.000, Z=-6.924, p <.001) was statistically higher than CG (MR=42.38) (U = 713.000, Z=-6.924, p <.001) after treatment. The EG after treatment recorded a mean rank (80.86) statistically higher than CG (40.14), U = 578.500, Z = -6.441, p <.001 after treatment. YVAI was proven as an effective instructional strategy that enhances learners’ altitudinal changes and performance. The study recommended the use of YouTube technological-driven instructions to support classroom instructions.

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10.12973/ejmse.5.1.39
Pages: 39-50
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Use of Magic Tricks as Analogies in the Science Classroom

analogies magic tricks science instruction

Danny Rudnick , Sarah B. Boesdorfer


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Science, magic, and education have always been linked, from science-based magic shows to teachers presenting demonstrations as magic tricks to capture their students’ interest and provide a mnemonic reference for the topics under discussion. Magic as an art form is also often used to convey information or act as an analogy for invisible phenomena. This study examined how the use of a magic effect designed as an analogy for active and passive transport in cells affected student scores and perception of the activity when compared to a standard story analogy in a high school integrated science course. To determine this, students participated in either a magic-based analogy activity (MBAA) or a concrete story-based analogy activity (SBAA), and then data was collected and analysed using a pre-test/post-test for the content and a Likert-scale anonymous survey for the student perception of the activity. The MBAA was shown to be similar to the SBAA in helping students learn but had the added benefit of increasing students’ reported engagement with the activity. This study shows how bringing magic into the science classroom can have a positive impact on student engagement and provides teachers with another option to support student learning.

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10.12973/ejmse.5.2.105
Pages: 105-120
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