Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, vol.10, no.2, pp.1-20, 2009 (Refereed Journals of Other Institutions)
The purposes of this study were to examine initial content knowledge about properties of air by three cohorts of undergraduate and master's students studying elementary education and to determine forms of reasoning used to explain air phenomena and the effect of an intervention on content knowledge. Subjects were assessed using a 14-question test on air phenomena before and after a lab consisting of 17 hands-on activities and six discrepant event demonstrations. The activities and demonstrations included the following concepts: air occupies space, air exerts pressure, Boyle's Law and Bernoulli's Principle. Analysis of lab journals indicated that student reasoning was focused on what was happening rather than why it was happening. A 3 group x 2 time (pretest/posttest) ANOVA with repeated measures indicated that the groups did not differ, initial understanding of the air concepts was low, and all groups improved significantly on the posttest. Instructions for activities and demonstrations are included.