Journal of Turkish Science Education, vol.6, no.1, pp.37-49, 2009 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
This paper includes two studies on understanding of physical properties of air, both conducted in Turkish middle schools. In the first study, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in public and private schools were compared on their understanding of Boyle’s Law and the Bernoulli Principle as well as the following: that air occupies space, has weight, exerts pressure, and rises when heated. No difference was found between the schools. The purpose of the second study was to investigate the effects of an intervention on private middle school students’ conceptions of the same properties of air. The intervention consisted of three 40-minute sessions with discrepant event demonstrations and hands-on activities. The private school students completed a questionnaire both before and after the sessions. The pre- and post-test data, analyzed by three grade levels (a 2 x 3 ANOVA), indicated that at all grades the students significantly increased their understanding of properties of air. A time x grade level interaction indicated that the 8th graders improved more than the other students. Implications are discussed.