The Use of Simulations in Correcting Electricity Misconceptions of Grade 10 South African Physical Sciences Learners

Umesh Ramnarain, Sumayya Moosa

Abstract


This study investigated the use of interactive computer simulations in addressing misconceptions held by Grade 10 South African learners on electric circuits. The sample comprised 130 learners from three under-performing schools in a socio-economically disadvantaged township. The misconceptions were identified by means of a three-tier diagnostic test. The first tier consisted of conceptual questions; the second tier asked for reasons for the choice made on the first-tier item; and the third tier addressed the confidence level of the respondents. A statistical analysis of the data collected revealed a significant difference in the performance of learners on the pre-test and post-test, with learners performing better on the post-test. This suggested that the use of simulations in the science classroom did, to a certain extent, reduce the number of misconceptions previously held by learners. The results from this study support the findings of studies conducted in other countries, and suggest that simulations may be a viable cognitive learning tool in enabling learners to investigate their pre-conceptions and thereby effect conceptual change.

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