Students’ Conceptions in Science and Socio-cognitive Conflict Processes

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Abstract

There have been limited attempts to investigate socio-cognitive conflict processes with respect to changing students’ conceptions of science concepts and phenomena. The present study focuses on presenting the instructional treatment of students’ conceptions of the flotation and sinking of objects through socio-cognitive conflict processes. A study was prepared including the design and evaluation of a teaching sequence implemented in school classroom. The research sample included twenty students (fourteen years old) in middle school in Greece. Data collection was carried out through interviews and analysis of students’ writings and talk during the teaching sequence. Data analysis demonstrated that the elaboration of students’ conceptions through socio-cognitive conflict processes is attainable. The analysis of students’ writings and discussions showed gradations of reactions to situations of socio-cognitive conflict and bringing out different learning outcomes. Moreover, students seemed to abandon their initial conceptions and they adopted and used the pursued conception as the teaching sequence was in progress.