The Persistence of Students’ Conceptions about Buoyancy in Gases

By Anastasia Pantazopoulou and Michael Skoumios.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Over the last forty years, a significant part of research in science education was focused on investigating students’ conceptions about science concepts. While students’ conceptions of buoyancy in liquids have been widely investigated, the study of students’ conceptions about buoyancy in gases was relatively limited. Investigating the evolution of students’ conceptions on buoyancy during their education was never done. This study focuses on high school students’ conceptions on buoyancy in gases. Specifically, it aims to investigate how the students develop conceptions about the factors that affect buoyancy in gases before and after an instruction of the topic buoyancy in the classroom. The research tool used for collecting the data was a written questionnaire answered by 213 high school students in Greece (106, 13-year and 107, 14-year-old students). The 14-year-old students were taught the concept of buoyancy and the factors affecting it while the 13-year-old students were not taught about this concept. Absolute frequencies and percentage frequencies of students’ responses and justifications were calculated based on the values of x² and standardised residuals- the relationship between students’ conceptions about buoyancy in gases and their age. The analysis of the results allowed the identification of students’ conceptions about buoyancy in gases and as well as their resistance to some conceptions. More specifically, it appears that students' conceptions about the factors that affect the buoyancy in gases do not differ significantly for the two groups of students (13-year-old and 14-year-old). The results of this study can contribute to the construction and development of instructional materials for a more effective instruction of buoyancy in gases.

Keywords: Students’ Conceptions, Buoyancy, Science Education

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.95-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 523.181KB).

Anastasia Pantazopoulou

Teacher of Physics, Hellenic Open University, Thessaloniki, Greece

Anastasia Pantazopoulou obtained a first degree in Physics from the University of Crete in 1991 and a Master in Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2012. Her research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools. She is currently giving physics lessons to students of secondary schools.

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Lecturer, Department of Primary Education, University of Aegean, Rhodes, Dodecanisa, Greece

Michael Skoumios obtained a first degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1987, a second degree in Education from the University of Aegean in 1992 and his PhD in Science Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2005. His research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools. He is currently teaching Science Education in the Department of Primary Education of the University of the Aegean (Greece).