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DESCRIBING THE BEHAVIOR OF GASES: A PHENOMENOGRAPHIC APPROACH TO STUDENTS’ UNDERSTANDING PATTERNS AND EXPERIENCE VARIATION

R. Abia, L. Roleda

De La Salle University (PHILIPPINES)
Constructivism tells us that not all students learn equally despite receiving similar instructions. This study was conducted to probe students’ experience and understanding of the behaviors of gases through phenomenographic approach. This study examined students’ patterns of understanding through the gas concept interviews and drawings using the instrument Phenomenographic Interview and Research Protocol. The validated instrument was administered to selected students from different public secondary schools in a major city in the Philippines. Their differing views on gases were clustered into different levels of complexity and depth of understanding. The first cluster consisted of prior knowledge derived from observation and experience. The second cluster was composed of ideas obtained from comparison of the behaviors of gases in different situations. The third cluster showed the attempts to connect these behaviors of gases. It was revealed that the students had difficulty recognizing the common underlying principles behind the different situations. The fourth cluster formed the interplay of various conceptions of the students in explaining certain behaviors of gases. Results showed that the respondents possessed some kind of understanding acquired from their experiences and prior knowledge learned in school. Not surprisingly, the level understanding of Grade 7 and Year 2 students were lower compared to that of Years 3 and 4 students.