The Problems Observed During Carrying Out Physics Experiments In Elementary Science Lessons At Schools Which Have Different Socio-Economic Levels

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1 Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) TÜRK FEN EĞİTİMİ DERGİSİ Yıl 3, Sayı 1, Mayıs 2006 Journal of TURKISH SCIENCE EDUCATION Volume 3, Issue 1, May The Problems Observed During Carrying Out Physics Experiments In Elementary Science Lessons At Schools Which Have Different Socio-Economic Levels Aykut Emre Bozdoğan Research Assist, Gazi University Kırşehir Faculty of Education, Department of Science Education, Kırşehir Received: 18 June 2005 Revised: 17 October 2005 Accepted: 16 November 2006 The original language of article is Turkish (v.3, n.1, May 2006, pp ) SYNOPSIS Introduction With the purpose of bringing up necessary brain power for following the developments in science and technology, many countries in Europe and especially the USA spend much more effort in science education and the activities related to this subject. In this process, it is emphasized that, reforms should be started from pre-school and need to be focused on elementary education. These reforms often intensify on; improving curriculum, supporting schools to apply this improved curriculum and to developing appropriate methods (Ayas, 1995; Ergül and Bulunuz, 2001) The quality of science instruction and education; is believed to be improved by student centered and research based education, individual and group works and with reflection of science to real life (Bell, 2001). In this context Rhoton (2001) arranges a list of specifications of the science programs those needed to be performed as follows: 1. Active student participation and student teacher interaction should be increased. 2. Discussion based learning ambiance should be formed. 3. The curriculum that suit to the needs of students must be prepared 4. Learning environments should be improved and student misunderstandings should be decreased. 5. Various kinds of methods should be used for effective teaching. 6. İndividual variances and learning difficulties have to be taken into consideration. Laboratories are the most appropriate environments for science courses aiming students to obtain scientific knowledge and skills. Without laboratories it is not easy to make students understand the science topics which are mostly abstract and make them accustomed to these subjects (Şahin and the others, 2000). While looking at the intentions standing behind the idea that settles laboratory applications to curriculum, some of these

2 Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) purposes appear as: to attract children s attention on science subjects, to increase the level of student s understanding by the support of scientific methods and with basic knowledge and skills preparing individuals to the universities (Johansen and Nilsson, 1999). It is obvious that the level of practical science education and number of experiments in the curriculum is lower comparing to the European countries. Insufficient laboratory facilities and laboratory activities affect the level of learning negatively. In order to determine the appropriate provisions for laboratories, number of studies have been made for identifying difficulties in laboratory activities (Akdeniz and Karamustafaoğlu, 2003; Bıkmaz, 2003; Arslan, 2000; Güzel, 2000; Aydoğdu, 1999; Akaydın, 1998; Korkmaz, 1997; Aşıcı, 1990). In a study Bozdoğan and Yalçın (2005) determined that, students attitudes towards physics subjects are differing according to the schools which have different socioeconomic backgrounds (classified through training-education and teacher-student numbers). In this study, the relation between the socioeconomic level of schools (classified through training-education and teacher-student numbers) and problems which have been occurred through physical experiments in physic courses in primary school had been examined. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the difference in the requirements of schools which are different in terms of socioeconomic levels and to determine appropriate laboratory atmospheres. Purpose The main purpose of this study is to identify the problems during the laboratory activities in schools with different socioeconomic levels. In the study answers to following questions have been sought: Does the students point of view, studying at different socioeconomic level of schools change? 1. According to ratio of physics experiments done in the science lessons, 2. According to the techniques of doing physics experiments done in science knowledge courses, 3. Are there any problems that occur during physics experiments in science education. Methodology In the study materialized techniques with the description-survey, a preliminary test for determining the reliability of measuring instrument has been used. Preliminary results showed that reliability and consistency of student questionnaire were high enough (α = 0. 79). In the process of preparing questionnaire, some interviews have been carried out with teachers and problems have been classified with the help of expert opinions. The questionnaire was applied to 337 students studying at 6, 7 and 8th grades and from different schools that varies according to their socioeconomic level. Within the general frame of the study, the data obtained from questionnaires which were prepared for examining answers of the research questions, subjected to statistical tests by the help of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) and explained with the values of (f) frequencies, (%) percentages and (λ 2 ) Chi-Square Test results. Universe of the study is students studying at 6, 7 and 8th classes of primary schools bound to National Education Ministry. The sample of the study, 9 schools in Kırşehir, determined by the opinions of experts with their appropriateness for questionnaire. Three

3 Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) of these schools are primary schools in villages bound to city center, 3 other are normal primary schools in city center and the other three is most preferable and crowded primary schools in city center. For facilitating forward analysis, the first group of schools limited with training and education possibilities and number of teachers in the villages bound to city center called as type-1 schools, normal schools in city center which has -compared to first group- much better possibilities and number of teachers called as type-2 schools and most preferable schools in city center, crowded on number of teachers and students with most better education and training possibilities called as type-3 schools. Results 1. Only %8,9 percent of total 6, 7 and 8th class students studying at primary schools with different socioeconomic levels stated that, all of the physics experiments in science knowledge courses had been done. Together with this statement, also including all of the schools, only %8,3 of students stated that physics experiments are being made individually. It has been determined that, especially in type-2 and type-3 schools physics experiments are done through demonstration techniques, but in type-1 schools physics experiments are mostly done through group work techniques. Excessive demand for type-3 schools might cause an increase in the number of students. It can be said that, crowded classes and limited materials being used in experiments might cause teachers working in this type of schools consider mostly doing experiments with demonstration techniques. 2. When we look at the answers of primary school students studying at 6, 7 and 8th classes and in schools with different socioeconomic levels, the following results can be seen: a) Almost one third of students from type-1 schools stated that in doing physics experiments lack of experiment materials is a serious problem and almost one third of students from type-3 schools stated that in doing physics experiments limited number of experiment materials is a serious problem. Both in type-1, type-2 and type-3 schools students (%62,3) pointed out broken or non operating experiment materials as a serious problem. In the study it had been determined that, experiment materials are limited particularly in type-3 schools. It can be said that, excessive demands for enrollment to these schools are causing increases at number of students and this causes experiment materials to be insufficient to meet the demands of excessive number of student. b) %54,3 of the students had stated physical insufficient of laboratories as not a serious problem. c) Almost half of the students had stated time allocations of the lessons as not sufficient and as a problem. Especially %44 of students from type-1 schools, had stated time limits of lessons during physics experiments as a big problem. It can be said that, doing physics experiments by group work technique (Table-2) causes insufficient in terms of the duration of the lessons. d) %58,7 of students out of all schools, stated that necessity of preliminary preparations to physics experiments as not a serious problem. e) Almost one four of the students from type-3 schools, had stated excessive number of students while making experiments as a serious problem. It can be said that, type-3

4 Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) schools over crowded number of students causes more problems than the type-1 schools during physics experiments. f) Almost two third (%66,1) of students from all types of schools, had stated students lack of interest during physics experiment as a not serious problem. g) %42,1 of type-1 school students, %26,2 of type-2 school students and %21,4 of type-3 school students had stated complexity of physics experiments as a serious problem while doing the experiments. Type-1 school s students having more problems with the complexity of experiments might be explained with their group work techniques of doing physics experiments. h) It had been determined that, more of the students (%35,7) from type-1 schools compared with type-2 and type-3 school students, have problems with using the materials which are being used at physics experiments. It can be said about this subject that, because of being not given permission to use experiment materials individually, type-1 school students might have more problems with using that materials. i) %60,8 of students from all types of schools had stated problems with school managements approach to experiment materials being use at physics experiments in terms of fixing them as not serious. Discussion The study reveals that experimental devices and tools in science laboratories are not sufficient for students use. It can be suggested that, schools should demand these tools according to the number of students they have from the related institutes. In parallel to this, science teachers should be trained (by in-service training seminars or guide books etc.) in carrying out science experiments with simple devices and tools. By examining the results of the study, it had been determined that, time limits of the lessons is not sufficient for appropriate lecturing methods (group working and individual working). Time limits of science courses and the duration of laboratory works should be increased. Especially, too much demand for type-3 schools causes an increase at number of students in each classroom and this limits the education opportunities directly. It also causes problems in lecturing physics related subjects and also may cause not being able to make experiments or making the experiments just by demonstration techniques which affect the success of students on physics courses negatively. Crowded classrooms may influence both science knowledge courses and other courses reaching their goals. Hence school management must be more careful in accepting students more than school capacities during enrollments. It has been determined that, during applying physics experiments as group works, complaining of the students are increasing about complexity of the experiments and not knowing about how to use the tools and devices being used in the experiments. This problem might be solved with science teacher s more effective guidance and introducing the tools and devices being used in experiments to students.

5 Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) REFERENCES Akaydın, G. & Soran, H. (1998). Liselerdeki Biyoloji Öğretmenlerinin Dersleri Deneylerle İşleyebilme Olanakları. H.Ü. Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi. 14, Akdeniz, A.R. & Karamustafaoğlu, O. (2003). Fizik Öğretimi Uygulamalarında Karşılaşılan Güçlükler. Türk Eğitim Bilimler Dergisi. 1(2), Arslan, M. (2000, 6-8 Eylül). İlköğretim Okullarında Fen Bilgisi Öğretimi ve Belli Başlı Sorunları. IV. Fen Bilimleri Eğitimi Kongresi, Ankara. Aşıcı, H. (1990). Fen Bilgisi Derslerinin Biyoloji Konularındaki Deneylerin Yapılmasında Karşılaşılan Güçlükler. Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Gazi Üniversitesi Fen Bilimleri Enstitüsü, Ankara. Ayas, A. (1995). Fen Bilimlerinde Program Geliştirme ve Uygulama Teknikleri Üzerine Bir Çalışma: İki Çağdaş Yaklaşımın Değerlendirilmesi. H.Ü. Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi. 11, Aydoğdu, C. (1999). Kimya Laboratuar Uygulamalarında Karşılaşılan Güçlüklerin Saptanması. H.Ü. Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi. 15, Bell, G.L. (2001, January 18-21). Reflective Journal Writing Paired with Inquiry-Based Science Instruction: Effects on Elementary Pre-Service Teachers Science and Science Teaching Beliefs. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science. Costa Mesa, CA. Bıkmaz, F. (2003). İlköğretim 4.ve 5.Sınıf Öğrencilerinin Fen Bilgisi Dersindeki Başarılarını Etkileyen Faktörler. Eğitim Araştırmaları. Anı Yayıncılık, 11, Bozdoğan, A.E. & Yalçın, N. (2005). İlköğretim 6., 7. ve 8. Sınıf Öğrencilerinin Fen Bilgisi Derslerindeki Fizik Konularına Karşı Tutumları. G.Ü. Kırşehir Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi. 6(1), Ergül, R. & Bulunuz, N. (2001). Öğretmen Adaylarının Fen Öğretiminde Matematik Bilgiyi ve Laboratuar Ölçüm Araçlarını Kullanmalarında Kendilerine Olan Güvenlerini Belirleme Üzerine Bir İnceleme. Uludağ Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi Dergisi. 14(1), Johansen, K.E. & Nilson, C. (1999). Stockholm Science Laboratory for Schools: A Complement to the Traditional Education System. Physics Education. 34(6), Güzel, H. (2000, 6-8 Eylül). İlköğretim Okulları I. ve II. Kademedeki Fen Bilgisi Derslerinde Laboratuar Etkinlikleri ve Araç Kullanımının Düzeyi. IV. Fen Bilimleri Eğitimi Kongresi, Ankara. Korkmaz, H. (1997). İlkokul Fen Öğretiminde Araç-Gereç Kullanımı ve Laboratuar Uygulamaları Açısından Öğretmen Yeterlilikleri. Yayınlanmamış Yüksek Lisans Tezi, Hacettepe Üniversitesi Sosyal Bilimleri Enstitüsü. Ankara. Rhoton, J. (2001). School Science Reform: An Overview and Implications for the Secondary School Principal. NASSP Bulletin 85, no: Şahin, N.F., Şahin, B. & Özmen, H. (2000, 6-8 Eylül). Liselerdeki Biyoloji Öğretmenlerinin Derslerini Deneylerle İşleyebilme ve Laboratuar Kullanma Olanaklarının İncelenmesi. IV. Fen Bilimleri Eğitimi Kongresi, Ankara.

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