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Student ideas about metabolism in plants

Titel: Student ideas about metabolism in plants

 Graduate student: undefinedTanja Steigert, PH Ludwigsburg
Academic adviser:     undefined Prof. Dr. Marcus Schrenk, Faculty II: Cultural Studies – and Science Institute of Science and Technology, Department Biology Abteilung Biologie, PH Ludwigsburg

Plant Nutrition and Photosynthesis are important basic ecological concepts without which a fundamental ecological education would not be possible. These concepts give insights into organic and inorganic nature. Knowledge about the evolution and composition of the atmosphere, the origins of our food products and fuels as well as the current discussion about climate change would not be possible without an understanding of these concepts. However, at the entry-level of secondary schools, the topic “Metabolism in Plants” is seldom touched upon.

The goal of this study is to verify whether six grade students at “Realschulen” in Germany develop adequate and expandable concepts about metabolism in plants when learning in a moderate constructive environment which attaches importance to experiments. Processes in plant metabolism, which usually cannot be directly observed, can be verified or at least understood by using experiments.

Since this study represents a ground breaking investigation in this area, the focus of this project is to clarify whether the illustrated topic can successfully taught according to the illustrated criteria and especially by employing numerous experiments. The concentration is on student’s perceptions and the changes in their perceptions. Using individual and group interviews as well as concept maps, the student concepts will be ascertained. The interviews will be evaluated using a qualitative content analysis. Cards with images, terms and structural elements shall be placed in a correct common context with the use of concept maps. The results can be quantified by counting the number of correctly placed cards. Questionnaires will be utilized which quiz students agreement with various concepts (and misconceptions) and additionally ascertain criteria of non-performance related objectives. The control group design of this study, which also takes various accompanying variables in account, makes it possible to ascertain the impact of the treatment. The study takes place over a period of fifteen lessons in nine different school classes.