Faculty of Education, Gazi University, Turkey
Science educators have generally agreed that understanding the
atom concept is the basis of science education. However, the
numerous research studies have shown that many students at all
educational levels have difficulties understanding this concept.
This study was developed under three headings. The first was to
identify misconceptions that prospective teachers (PTs) had about
atomic structure in the context of electrification by friction (ASCEF).
The second was to study the effectiveness of the branch differences
(basic sciences, social sciences, physics, chemistry, biology,
mathematics) on the levels of their misconceptions. The third, based
on students' misconceptions, was to examine the effectiveness of the
activity 'Modelling of the Atomic Structure' (MAS). The study was
divided into two stages. First, in order to identify the PTs'
misconceptions, an Understanding the Nature of Electrification by
Friction Test (UNEFT) which could be summarised by the question 'is
electrification by friction due to the electron transfer?' was
applied to the PTs who attended the Primary School Teacher Education
Pedagogical Formation Certificate Program (PSTEPFCP) at a large
public university for a five weeks science teaching course followed
by an examination after the static electricity topic had been
presented. It was found that the PTs from all branches of science
held the misconception that electrification by friction was due to
the transfer of protons. At the same time the effects of the branch
differences on the levels of the PTs' misconceptions was studied and
was not significant in groups other than the basic scientists-social
scientists pairing. In the second stage, using the students'
misconceptions, the effectiveness of the MAS activity was examined
in the experimental and control groups and was found to be
significant at all levels. From this result, it was found that the
models were quite useful in teaching science and that the
construction of knowledge would be possible if students played an
active role in the learning environment.
Atomic structure, electrification by friction,
misconception, modelling, science education