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A cross-age study on the understanding of chemical solutions and their components1


Muammer Calik
KTU Giresun Faculty of Education, Department of Elementary Science Education, Giresun, Turkey
muammer38@hotmail.com 

Alipasa Ayas 
KTU, Fatih Faculty of Education, Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics Education, Sögütlü - Trabzon, Turkey

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1This article was extensively edited by Dr B. Matthews, Research Associate, Flinders University Institute of International Education

Abstract

The aims of this study were considered under three headings. The first was to elicit misconceptions that students had about the terms 'solute', 'solvent' and 'solution.' The second was to understand how students' prior learning affected their misconceptions. The third was to determine if students were able to make a connection between their own knowledge and chemistry in everyday life. To achieve these aims, a paper and-pencil test composed of 18 open-ended questions was designed, but only four questions related to chemical solutions and their components. The test was administered to 441 students from different grades that ranged from Grade 7 with students aged 13-14 years to Grade 10 with students aged 16-17 years. As a result of the analyses undertaken, it was found that students' misunderstanding about the concepts of dissolution and conservation of mass influenced their knowledge about the these terms. Moreover, it was found that students had difficulties making connections between their knowledge and life experiences. Furthermore, it was elicited that the examples given by most of students under investigation were limited to particular solid-liquid and liquid-liquid solutions; however, some students in the upper grades referred to solid-solid and gas-gas solutions such as air, nitrogen and oxygen (N2-O2), and alloy composition. Therefore, it was concluded that although students' conceptions and misconceptions were acquired and stored, they occurred without ostensible links between everyday life and school experiences. Furthermore, depending on the instruction students received and over time, it was deduced that their conceptual understanding showed a steady increase from Grade 7 to Grade 10, except in the case of Item 1. In light of results of this study, some suggestions for future instruction were made.

Chemistry education, solute, solvent, solution, misconceptions

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Calik, M. and Ayas, A. (2005) A cross-age study on the understanding of chemical solutions and their components. International Education Journal, 6 (1), 30-41.
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