The influence of teaching methodologies in the assimilation of density concept in primary teacher trainees

Heliyon. 2018 Nov 23;4(11):e00963. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00963. eCollection 2018 Nov.


Density is one of the most misunderstood concepts amongst the most basic scientific ones, although it is studied even from the earlier academic stages. This is the reason teachers must know its implications as well as possible, including not only the classical definition or what students called "formula" (density is equal to mass divided by volume) but also the concept itself (that is, an intensive matter property). According to this concern, the current research focuses its interest in studying how different teaching methodologies have different outputs in the learning process of pre-service primary teachers. The main aim of this research is to compare the learning results of a control group (n = 84), where mainly oral-based expositions were used as the teaching instrument, with an experimental group (n = 109), where the main educative tool were laboratory activities. The results show statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) between both methodologies and reveal the existence of difficulties in the conceptual and experimental understanding of the concept of density. Although those students that were submitted to hands-on activities presented a significant better comprehension of the density idea, the persistence of misconceptions regarding this scientific relevant concept is also confirmed at university level.

Keywords: Education; Physics.