The Problems Observed During Carrying Out Physics Experiments


The Problems Observed During Carrying Out Physics Experiments
Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) 2006
Journal of
Volume 3, Issue 1, May 2006
Yıl 3, Sayı 1, Mayıs 2006
The Problems Observed During Carrying Out Physics
Experiments In Elementary Science Lessons At Schools Which
Have Different Socio-Economic Levels
Aykut Emre Bozdoğan
Research Assist, Gazi University Kırşehir Faculty of Education, Department of Science Education, Kırşehir
Received: 18 June 2005
Revised: 17 October 2005
Accepted: 16 November 2006
The original language of article is Turkish (v.3, n.1, May 2006, pp.106-114)
With the purpose of bringing up necessary brain power for following the
developments in science and technology, many countries in Europe and especially the
USA spend much more effort in science education and the activities related to this subject.
In this process, it is emphasized that, reforms should be started from pre-school and need
to be focused on elementary education. These reforms often intensify on; improving
curriculum, supporting schools to apply this improved curriculum and to developing
appropriate methods (Ayas, 1995; Ergül and Bulunuz, 2001)
The quality of science instruction and education; is believed to be improved by
student centered and research based education, individual and group works and with
reflection of science to real life (Bell, 2001).
In this context Rhoton (2001) arranges a list of specifications of the science programs
those needed to be performed as follows:
1. Active student participation and student – teacher interaction should be increased.
2. Discussion based learning ambiance should be formed.
3. The curriculum that suit to the needs of students must be prepared
4. Learning environments should be improved and student misunderstandings should
be decreased.
5. Various kinds of methods should be used for effective teaching.
6. İndividual variances and learning difficulties have to be taken into consideration.
Laboratories are the most appropriate environments for science courses aiming
students to obtain scientific knowledge and skills. Without laboratories it is not easy to
make students understand the science topics which are mostly abstract and make them
accustomed to these subjects (Şahin and the others, 2000). While looking at the intentions
standing behind the idea that settles laboratory applications to curriculum, some of these
Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) 2006
purposes appear as: to attract children’s attention on science subjects, to increase the level
of student’s understanding by the support of scientific methods and with basic knowledge
and skills preparing individuals to the universities (Johansen and Nilsson, 1999).
It is obvious that the level of practical science education and number of experiments
in the curriculum is lower comparing to the European countries. Insufficient laboratory
facilities and laboratory activities affect the level of learning negatively. In order to
determine the appropriate provisions for laboratories, number of studies have been made
for identifying difficulties in laboratory activities (Akdeniz and Karamustafaoğlu, 2003;
Bıkmaz, 2003; Arslan, 2000; Güzel, 2000; Aydoğdu, 1999; Akaydın, 1998; Korkmaz,
1997; Aşıcı, 1990).
In a study Bozdoğan and Yalçın (2005) determined that, students’ attitudes towards
physics subjects are differing according to the schools which have different socioeconomic backgrounds (classified through training-education and teacher-student
In this study, the relation between the socioeconomic level of schools (classified
through training-education and teacher-student numbers) and problems which have been
occurred through physical experiments in physic courses in primary school had been
examined. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the difference in the requirements of
schools which are different in terms of socioeconomic levels and to determine appropriate
laboratory atmospheres.
The main purpose of this study is to identify the problems during the laboratory
activities in schools with different socioeconomic levels. In the study answers to following
questions have been sought:
Does the students’ point of view, studying at different socioeconomic level of schools
1. According to ratio of physics experiments done in the science lessons,
2. According to the techniques of doing physics experiments done in science
knowledge courses,
3. Are there any problems that occur during physics experiments in science
In the study materialized techniques with the description-survey, a preliminary test
for determining the reliability of measuring instrument has been used. Preliminary results
showed that reliability and consistency of student questionnaire were high enough (α = 0.
In the process of preparing questionnaire, some interviews have been carried out with
teachers and problems have been classified with the help of expert opinions. The
questionnaire was applied to 337 students studying at 6, 7 and 8th grades and from
different schools that varies according to their socioeconomic level.
Within the general frame of the study, the data obtained from questionnaires which
were prepared for examining answers of the research questions, subjected to statistical tests
by the help of SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences) and explained with the values
of (f) frequencies, (%) percentages and (λ2) Chi-Square Test results.
Universe of the study is students studying at 6, 7 and 8th classes of primary schools
bound to National Education Ministry. The sample of the study, 9 schools in Kırşehir,
determined by the opinions of experts with their appropriateness for questionnaire. Three
Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) 2006
of these schools are primary schools in villages bound to city center, 3 other are normal
primary schools in city center and the other three is most preferable and crowded primary
schools in city center.
For facilitating forward analysis, the first group of schools limited with training and
education possibilities and number of teachers in the villages bound to city center called as
“type-1 schools”, normal schools in city center which has -compared to first group- much
better possibilities and number of teachers called as “type-2 schools” and most preferable
schools in city center, crowded on number of teachers and students with most better
education and training possibilities called as “type-3 schools”.
1. Only %8,9 percent of total 6, 7 and 8th class students studying at primary schools
with different socioeconomic levels stated that, all of the physics experiments in science
knowledge courses had been done.
Together with this statement, also including all of the schools, only %8,3 of students
stated that physics experiments are being made individually. It has been determined that,
especially in type-2 and type-3 schools physics experiments are done through
demonstration techniques, but in type-1 schools physics experiments are mostly done
through group work techniques.
Excessive demand for type-3 schools might cause an increase in the number of
students. It can be said that, crowded classes and limited materials being used in
experiments might cause teachers working in this type of schools consider mostly doing
experiments with demonstration techniques.
2. When we look at the answers of primary school students studying at 6, 7 and 8th
classes and in schools with different socioeconomic levels, the following results can be
a) Almost one third of students from type-1 schools stated that in doing physics
experiments “lack of experiment materials” is a serious problem and almost one third of
students from type-3 schools stated that in doing physics experiments “limited number of
experiment materials” is a serious problem. Both in type-1, type-2 and type-3 schools
students (%62,3) pointed out “broken or non operating experiment materials” as a serious
In the study it had been determined that, experiment materials are limited particularly
in type-3 schools. It can be said that, excessive demands for enrollment to these schools are
causing increases at number of students and this causes experiment materials to be
insufficient to meet the demands of excessive number of student.
b) %54,3 of the students had stated “physical insufficient of laboratories” as not a
serious problem.
c) Almost half of the students had stated “time allocations of the lessons” as not
sufficient and as a problem.
Especially %44 of students from type-1 schools, had stated time limits of lessons
during physics experiments as a big problem. It can be said that, doing physics experiments
by group work technique (Table-2) causes insufficient in terms of the duration of the
d) %58,7 of students out of all schools, stated that “necessity of preliminary
preparations to physics experiments” as not a serious problem.
e) Almost one four of the students from type-3 schools, had stated “excessive number
of students while making experiments” as a serious problem. It can be said that, type-3
Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) 2006
schools’ over crowded number of students causes more problems than the type-1 schools
during physics experiments.
f) Almost two third (%66,1) of students from all types of schools, had stated
“students’ lack of interest during physics experiment” as a not serious problem.
g) %42,1 of type-1 school students, %26,2 of type-2 school students and %21,4 of
type-3 school students had stated “complexity of physics experiments” as a serious
problem while doing the experiments. Type-1 school’s students having more problems
with the complexity of experiments might be explained with their group work techniques
of doing physics experiments.
h) It had been determined that, more of the students (%35,7) from type-1 schools
compared with type-2 and type-3 school students, have problems with “using the materials
which are being used at physics experiments”.
It can be said about this subject that, because of being not given permission to use
experiment materials individually, type-1 school students might have more problems with
using that materials.
i) %60,8 of students from all types of schools had stated “problems with school
managements’ approach to experiment materials being use at physics experiments in terms
of fixing them” as not serious.
The study reveals that experimental devices and tools in science laboratories are not
sufficient for students’ use. It can be suggested that, schools should demand these tools
according to the number of students they have from the related institutes. In parallel to this,
science teachers should be trained (by in-service training seminars or guide books etc.) in
carrying out science experiments with simple devices and tools.
By examining the results of the study, it had been determined that, time limits of the
lessons is not sufficient for appropriate lecturing methods (group working and individual
working). Time limits of science courses and the duration of laboratory works should be
Especially, too much demand for type-3 schools causes an increase at number of
students in each classroom and this limits the education opportunities directly. It also
causes problems in lecturing physics related subjects and also may cause not being able to
make experiments or making the experiments just by demonstration techniques which
affect the success of students on physics courses negatively. Crowded classrooms may
influence both science knowledge courses and other courses reaching their goals. Hence
school management must be more careful in accepting students more than school
capacities during enrollments.
It has been determined that, during applying physics experiments as group works,
complaining of the students are increasing about complexity of the experiments and not
knowing about how to use the tools and devices being used in the experiments. This
problem might be solved with science teacher’s more effective guidance and introducing
the tools and devices being used in experiments to students.
Bozdoğan / TÜFED-TUSED / 3(1) 2006
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