The Knowledge And Misconception Of Some Basic Science Concept By Junior Secondary School

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The Knowledge And Misconception Of Some Basic Science Concept By Junior Secondary School

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the study

Misconceptions are not only to be observed in today’s children or studentseven scientists and philosophers developed and lived with many misconceptions in the past. Historical concepts and their changes are very interesting because similar ideas can help our students today: just like early scientists did they develop their own concepts by similar observations e.g., in regard to combustion. Ideas that are developed without having any prior knowledge of the subject are not necessarily wrong but can be described as alternative, original or preconcepts [1]. Every science teacher should know these preconcepts for his or her lessons – this is why many empirical researchers are working all over the world. Increasingly however, researchers are also finding chemical misconceptions in advanced courses. Because they cannot be only attributed to the students but mainly caused by inappropriate teaching methods and materials, they can be called school-made misconceptions. They are clearly different from preconcepts that tend to be unavoidable. Inappropriate teaching methods can be stopped by keeping teachers up-to-date in their subject through advanced education. Over the years, the problem of conceptual and cognition of the processes in the life sciences has been the focus of research (Mintzes, Tombridge, Arnandin and Wandersee 1991, Songer, 1993) in Minztese&Novoak (1994). One of the major issues explored in these evolving research programme was students’ alternative conceptions in natural phenomena, and that of understanding the conceptual change (Wandersee, Minztes and Novoak, 1994). It was discovered that students come to class with a lot of naïve and prefixed, ideas about certain natural phenomena and construct knowledge individually using these ideas which may be resistant to change and which may lead to error and misconception. An error is operationally taken to represent a mismatch of student’s performance with the correct model. An Error as defined by the chambers dictionary is a blunder or mistake. Some scholars defined error in relation to performance and knowledge. An error is an observable event or performance which in a way judged to be significant, differs from an expected ideal, (correct) model of performance.(Sanders & Crammer, 1992). A number of Nigerian science educators has investigated secondary school students’ error in mathematics (Isineyi, (1991), Akusoba, Okafor& Nwokolo,2003) discovered that secondary school students develop error in solving in-equalities. Ivowi,(1983) discovered that physics students develop error in certain physics concepts. Soyibo,(1985,1992) discovered preservices teachers errors in certain biological diagrams. Some non-Nigerian science educators also worked on error and discovered that even teachers have error in the subject they teach. In their work with South African pupils, Sandars and Crammer (1993), discovered that teachers may propagate erroneous ideas about respiration to their students through dishing out inaccurate information, as well as not using the available texts critically. It is pertinent to note recently that no work has been done on the influence of teachers’ error on students understanding of a concept, such as respiration. However these researchers choose to focus on respiration as respiration has been identified by many researchers as a difficult concept that is poorly understood by students’.(Soyibo, (1985) Igelstud, (1988). The WAEC chief examiner’s report.(1995 – 2000) showed consistency in students’ poor performance in respiration. Respiration can be defined as a process by which food substances in the body are oxidized to release energy. It is an important biochemical process the understanding of which is critical to a meaningful appreciation of life at organism and community levels of biological organization. Understanding the events in cellular respiration is critical to an understanding of several of the conceptual understanding of topics in the biology discipline, including energy flow in the Ecosystem and metabolic activities of multicellular organisms. When students have difficulty in understanding a particular science concept, they develop erroneous views, which may impede the understanding of related concepts in order areas of subject matter. The identification of error is an important and obvious stage in remediation of students’ misconceptions and error. Driver and Easely,(1978) in Okoli, (2003) opined that not until the reasons for students misconceptions are understood will progress be made in instructional terms. It is these possibilities that have informed the need to identify errors held by secondary school students about respiration and the possible influence of teachers in the development of these errors. The purpose of this study therefore is to identify the conceptual errors about respiration held by biology students and their teachers, and to determine the extent or the influence which teachers’ errors have on students in understanding of the concept respiration. The process whereby conceptual change occurs is of central interest in helping us to understand the process of learning, and is also of considerable importance when considering the design of instruction. Since the incompatibility between some common-sense understandings of the world and accepted scientific explanations is inevitable, it is necessary that instructors be able to affect whatever changes are necessary for comprehension of the scientific explanations to develop.

1.2 Statement Of Problem

Teachers can be astonished to learn that despite their best efforts, students do not grasp fundamental ideas covered in class. Even some of the best students give the right answers but are only using correctly memorized words. When questioned more closely, these students reveal their failure to understand fully the underlying concepts. Students are often able to use algorithms to solve numerical problems without completely understanding the underlying scientific concept. Mazur (1996) reports that students in his physics class had memorized equations and problem solving skills, but performed poorly on tests of conceptual is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the effect of misconception of some basic science concept by junior secondary school student

1.3 Objective Of The Study

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the knowledge and misconception of some basic science concept by junior secondary school student. However, for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following sub-objective;

  1. To ascertain the effect of basic knowledge of science among junior secondary school student before learning of science
  2. To evaluate the effect of misconception of science on the learning culture of the student
  3. To ascertain the relationship between basic knowledge of science and misconception of some basic science concept in the teaching and learning of science in junior secondary schools.
  4. To proffer solution to the identified problems

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

  1. H0: basic knowledge of science has no effect on the teaching of science in junior secondary schools
    H1: misconception of science has no significant impact on the learning culture of science among junior secondary school students
  2. H0: misconception of science has no significant impact in the learning culture of science among junior secondary school student
    H2: misconception of science has a significant impact in the learning culture of science among junior secondary school student

1.5 Significance Of The Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study the findings will be of great importance to the teachers of sciences in junior secondary school as the study seek to make right and correct the misconception of sciences in junior secondary schools, the study will also be of benefit to the management of secondary schools to organized a pre-science tutorial, workshops and seminar to enlighten the student and prepare their minds for the teaching and learning of sciences, so as to correct some of the misconceptions The study will also be of importance to researcher who intends to carry out study in similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point. Finally the study will be of significance to academia, student, teachers, lecturers and the general public as the findings will also contribute to the pool of knowledge.

1.6 Scope And Limitation Of The Study

The scope of the study covers the knowledge and misconception of some basic science concept by junior secondary school student. But in the course of the study, there were some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability Of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 Definition Of Terms


Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit or explicit; it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology; the philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as “justified true belief”, though this definition is now thought by some analytic philosophersto be problematic because of the Gettier problems while others defend the platonic definition.


A view or opinion that is incorrect because based on faulty thinking or understanding

Basic science

Definition of basic scienceany one of the sciences (such as anatomy, physiology, bacteriology, pathology, or biochemistry) fundamental to the study of medicine.

1.8 Organization Of The Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

The Knowledge And Misconception Of Some Basic Science Concept By Junior Secondary School

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