Session S39b (Tuesday, 2pm, Thomas 117)

P501: Bridging the gap in chemistry misconceptions research

Muireann Sheehan, Peter Childs (University of Limerick, Ireland)

Misconceptions in science have been well researched internationally among students at all levels of education. They are known to be resistant to change by traditional teaching methods.  However, this research appears to have had little effect on the teaching practices of instructors. Studies in Ireland found that misconceptions remain prevalent in primary- and secondary-level pupils. Results of a pilot study involving pre-service science teachers indicate that chemistry misconceptions are widespread and remain unaffected by the study of chemistry at third-level. A wider-scale study is underway, involving concurrent and consecutive pre-service science teachers from institutions across Ireland. The purpose of this study is to determine the most poorly understood areas of the national curriculum using a chemistry misconceptions instrument. The findings of this research will be presented. An intervention programme will later be designed to target these misconceptions and provide pre-service teachers with materials to address this problem with their pupils.

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