Design and evaluation of an educational package based on primary students' ideas about flood and Ebb-tide phenomenon
Primary school students have difficulty in perceiving and understanding many science and geography phenomena that are taught at 6th grade. The present study detected primary students' conceptions about tide phenomena in order to develop an educational package of digital and printed material to cope with those difficulties. Ninety three (93) students (aged 11-12) participated in the study. Initially, they answered a written pre-test questionnaire which comprised ten multiple choice and open-ended questions, as well as drawing tasks. Research data showed that initially students assign the flood and ebb-tide phenomenon to the sun that warms the earth and lowers the sea level. They seemed to think that vaporized water 'goes' to the clouds and falls on to the earth like rain does. We used the outcomes of the initial study to design and develop an educational package based on digital and printed material to cope with those students' ideas and learning difficulties. The package was implemented within a constructivist and collaborative learning environment, in which 48 sixth grade students participated. During teaching students worked in small groups on the computer with three simulations of tide phenomena, where they 'controlled' the movement of the sun, earth and moon, and discussed to come to conclusions about the flood and ebb-tide phenomenon. After teaching, the 48 students answered a post-test questionnaire. Their answers depicted an improvement of their initial ideas. So, the new constructivist and collaborative learning environment seemed to have helped them create proper mental representations about tide phenomena. © Common Ground, Dimitrios Marinopoulos, Vassiliki Pilatou, Christina Solomonidou.