Grade 11 learners' alternative conceptions on the states of matter and phase changes
Mabalane, Julia Mabel
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States of matter and phase changes are important topics in the teaching and learning of physical science. It is a common fact that learners find it difficult to understand the states of matter and phase changes. One of the main reasons is that learners do not abandon their own naive perceptions when the scientific concepts are taught. They do not connect their experiences outside the laboratory / classroom with their experience in science lessons. Learners consequently hold their own views even after instruction. According to the constructivist view on teaching and learning educators need to take learners' perceptions into account in the teaching of these topics. The first aim with this study was to determine learners' alterative conceptions about the states of matter and phase changes from a literature study. The second was to determine by means of an empirical study the alterative conceptions Grade 11 learners still hold after instruction of the topics. The empirical survey was conducted amongst a group of 110 Grade 11 learners studying physical science. A questionnaire was used to obtain information on this group of learners' knowledge on the states of matter and of phase changes after instruction of these topics. From the results of the questionnaire alternative conceptions could be identified. The results of the empirical study indicate that learners still have alternative conceptions about the states of matter and phase changes after instruction. Alternative conceptions were identified and recommendations on how to teach the states of matter and phase changes more effectively were made.
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