CONCEPTIONS AND MISCONCEPTIONS OF THE CONCEPT OF BIOMASS IN PRIMARY AND LOWER SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN

V. Pavlátová, L. Minaříková

Univerzita J. E. Purkyně (CZECH REPUBLIC)
Teacher's knowledge of which concepts pose problems for students, is a prerequisite for successful teaching. It is possible, however, that students see the difficulty of the concepts differently from the teacher. In our research, we compare the perception of the difficulty of the concept of biomass by teachers of 10 primary and lower-secondary schools (N=60; the research tool was a questionnaire) and their students (N=1341; the research tool was a cognitive test). In addition to perceiving the difficulty, we were also interested in understanding the meaning and the conception of this understanding including variables that influence it (the students’ age, the stage of education, the gender of the respondents, the popularity of a science subject with the students and the influence of the increased interest of schools in ecology and environmental education).

Using the methodological triangulation, we further worked with the concept of biomass which proved to be the most difficult for the students according to the results of the cognitive test while using follow-up qualitative research, where the research tool was a conceptual map (N=79) supplemented by an interview (N=4) with some respondents.

A statistically significant difference in the understanding of the significance of the concept was found, depending on the research tool used (Z=2.22, p =.026). Possible reasons for children’s conceptions and misconceptions are discussed here, which, according to the research results, persist with the age of the students.