Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article
11 (Jun., 2008)
Discussion and Implications
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of the teaching method consisting of concept maps given with the conceptual change texts in teaching about molecules carrying genetic information to the 11th grade high school students. 25 control group students and 25 experimental group students made a total 50 students who took place in the study. The teaching method consisting of concept maps given together with the conceptual change texts was applied on the experimental group and traditional biology teaching method was applied on the control group.
During the application, the control group students were instructed in the traditional biology teaching method using their course books. The experimental group students took lessons that used concept maps and conceptual change texts. Results showed that conceptual change texts and concept maps are useful in teaching about molecules carrying genetic information.
Turkmen et al. in their study “Determining the Misconceptions of Freshman High School Students About The Diversity and Classifications of Living Things and Correcting These Misconceptions with Concept Maps”, found misconceptions, and out the result, that concept maps given together with conceptual change texts are more effective than the traditional biology teaching method (Türkmen, Cardak & Dikmenli, 2005).
Marbach studied students of different ages in order to find their understanding of genetic concepts like gene-protein, gene-enzyme, gene-character, DNA-protein, DNA-enzyme and DNA-character and their perception level of understanding the relations between these concepts. In the study, the students applied concept maps, interviews and questionnaire; then it was found that they had some alternative conceptions. In our study, as a result of tests and interviews, some similar misconceptions related to these concepts were defined (Marbach, 2001).
As it was stated above, the biology achievement test was prepared by taking all of the aims into account before application on the students. During the study, students were motivated by researchers to read conceptual change texts. The benefits of concept maps and how to make a concept map were told to the students before the subject began. During the unit on molecules carrying genetical information, students were inspired to make concept maps. Students found it difficult to make a concept map on their first try.
When the statistical values of the experimental and control group were checked before the application, it was seen that there was no considerable difference in the biology achievement test as a pre-test (for BAT, see Table III). According to the pre-test results, both groups had almost the same level of success with the concepts of the subject of molecules carrying genetic information. The BAT was given to the student groups as a post-test after the application to compare and examine the effects of two different teaching methods (CCT, CMI and TBI) in understanding the concepts of molecules carrying genetic information.
It was seen that the experimental group students had more information about and an understanding of the scientific concepts than control group students. Both experimental group and control group students gained information according to the statistical post-test data (see Table IV). Although both group gained a lot, in terms of understanding concepts, the experimental group was more successful than control group (for BAT see Table 5, Table VI). These results confirm the findings of previous studies in that a text- based conceptual change approach can facilitiate learning of scientific concepts (Alparslan, Tekkaya & Geban, 2003; Tekkaya, 2003; Kinchin, Davids & Adams, 2000; Smith & Dwyer, 1995; Türkmen, Cardak & Dikmenli, 2005; Ozkan, Tekkaya & Geban, 2004; Amir & Tamir, 1995; Sungur, Tekkaya & Geban, 2001). These findings can prove that by correcting the misconceptions, the experimental group was more successful than control group. While the advantage of control group was 9.87%, the advantage of experimental group was 14.54% in terms of the biology achievement test.
The results of this study provided future evidence to support the findings in a growing body of literature indicating that students hold misconceptions on a variety of biology concepts. In addition, it was concluded that concept maps given together with conceptual change texts supported students in understanding the concepts. When misconceptions are found and are taken into account, the learning process becomes more effective. Stating the misconceptions and using concept maps together with conceptual change texts during the teaching process is one successful ways to improve education. The suggestions for additional study include the following:
A similar study can be conducted on different lessons and different levels of classes. The total number of students in this study is 50. In order to have more meaningful results in future, this number can be multiplied. Concept maps and conceptual change texts can be used to gauge and evaluate the level of the dwelling in students’ memory. The effects of concept maps and conceptual change texts can be compared with the teaching methods such as problem solving, co-operative teaching, demonstration, problem-based teaching and computer assisted teaching, etc. The attitudes of students against the concept maps and conceptual change texts can be examined.
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