Understanding Chemical Change in Primary Education: The Effect of Two Cognitive Variables

Mar. 01, 2012

Source: Journal of Science Teacher Education, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 177-197, March 2012.

The authors explored pupils’ understanding of chemical change.
This change was investigated in relation to two cognitive variables: logical thinking and field-dependence/field-independence.

The participants were 99 sixth-grade elementary school pupils, which were involved in two different tasks related to combustion.

The pupils were tested for their understanding by means of an instrument, where they were asked to describe and interpret the phenomenon.

The application of multiple regressions on students’ mean achievement score along with analysis of variance demonstrated that the above variables were statistically significant predictors with logical thinking to be the most dominant one.

The findings provide empirical evidence that the above individual differences have an effect on pupils’ understanding the phenomenon of chemical change at that critical age.

Implications for science education are also discussed and it is pointed out that cognitive variables, such as, logical thinking and field-dependence/field-independence should not be ignored in potential teaching interventions.

Updated: Apr. 23, 2013