The effectiveness of applying conceptual development teaching strategies to Newton's second law of motion
Meyer, Carel Hendrik
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School science education prepares learners to study science at a higher level, prepares them to follow a career in science and to become scientific literate citizens. It is the responsibility of the educator to ensure the learners’ conceptual framework is developed to the extent that secures success at higher level studies. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of conceptual change teaching strategies on the conceptual development of grade 11 learners on Newton’s second law of motion. The two strategies employed were the cognitive conflict strategy and the development of ideas strategy. A sequential explanatory mixed-method research design was used during this study. The qualitative data were used to elucidate the quantitative findings. The quantitative research consisted of a quasi-experimental design consisting of a single-group pre-test post-test method. During the qualitative part of the research a phenomenological research approach was utilised to gain a better understanding of participants’ learning experiences during the intervention. The quantitative research made use of an adapted version of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI). The data collected from the pre-test were used to inform the intervention. The intervention was videotaped and the video analysis or qualitative data analysis was done. After the intervention the post-test was written by the learners. Hake’s average normalised learning gain <g> from pre- to post-scores was analysed to establish the effectiveness of the intervention. The two sets of results (quantitative and qualitative) were integrated. Information from the qualitative data analysis was used to support and explain the quantitative data. The quantitative results indicate that there was an improvement in the students’ force conception from their initial alternative conceptions, such as that of an internal force. Especially the learners’ understanding of contact forces and Newton’s first law of motion yielded significant improvement. The qualitative data revealed that the understanding of Newton’s second law of motion by the learners who partook in this study did improve, since the learners immediately recognised the mistakes made when confronted with the anchor concept. The cognitive conflict teaching strategy was effective in establishing the anchor concept of force which proved to be useful as bridging concept in the development of ideas teaching strategy. The data from both data-sets revealed that the cognitive conflict teaching strategy for the initial part of the intervention was effective. It was evident that for development of the idea teaching strategy the two data sets revealed mixed results. Recommendations were made for future research and implementation of conceptual development teaching strategies.
- Education 
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