Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Activity-Based Study on Providing Basic Knowledge and Skills of Measurement in Teaching

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

An Activity-Based Study on Providing Basic Knowledge and Skills of Measurement in Teaching

Article excerpt

Abstract

Even though one of the prerequisites of inquiry-based science classes is acquiring measuring skills, there is not enough emphasis in the schools today on developing these skills. The current study, which has been designed with the thought that this situation may be caused by the fact that teachers do not have a sufficient level of measurement skills, aims to clarify knowledge of some basic quantities (length, mass, weight, volume, temperature and time), create awareness about fundamental skills in measuring related quantities, and develop these basic skills for the benefit of pre-service science teachers (n=73). The experimental study, which has been designed using a mixed research methodology, includes both qualitative and quantitative research methods, uses a skillobservation form and researcher observation notes, as well as pre-test, post-test and retention tests. This research, which focuses on developing measurement activities, reveals the importance of not only knowledge and skill integration but also of continuity in teaching measuring skills. In addition, recommendations have been set forth for the effective use of measurement tools in basic science education courses and some measurement activities have been suggested.

Key Words

Basic Measurement Concepts, Nature of Measurement, Measurement Skills, Use of Measurement Tools, and Measurement Activities.

Observation and experimentation, which form the basis of scientific study, gain meaning with measurement (Blomquist, 1993; Coelho & Sere, 1998; Hodson, 1988; Kuhn, 2008). In science, the foundation of proof lies in measurement (Baytaroglu, Akkoyunlu, & Dizdar, 2008; European Association of National Metrology Institutes [Euramet], 2008; Koças, 2009). The process of measuring entails determining the quality and quantity to be measured, the selection of an appropriate measuring tool and measuring unit, the calculation of the margin of error that must be considered in the measurement and the decision on the accuracy and consistency of the measurement. The more meticulous the adherence to the steps in the measurement process, the closer the scientist gets to approaching accuracy in attaining knowledge (Beichner & Serway, 2000; Bueche & Jerde, 2000; Haliday & Resnick, 1997; Physical Sciences Study Committee [PSSC], 1966; TUBITAK, 2010).

Measuring in Physics and Science Education

The skills involved in the scientific process can be divided into two categories: the basic skills (observation, classification, scientific communication, measurement, prediction, reaching a conclusion) and combined skills (determining and controlling variables, setting and testing up a hypothesis, interpreting data, defining, experimentation and creating a model) (Bagci-Kiliç, 2003). In elementary school programs in Turkey, the subject of measurement is limited to science and technology courses and mathematics classes. While the teaching of measurement is continuous in mathematics courses up until the 6th grade, this continuity does not exist in science and technology courses. The subject is only taught on the basis of three units in physics in the 9th and 10th grades in middle school (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2006, 2011).

Studies on Measurement Education

Measurement activities for pre-school children have been developed along the lines of Piaget's conservation tasks. Since pre-school children are not familiar with standard units, the activities were developed to allow them to compare measurements with sizes of objects they knew well (Ashbrook, 2006; Kamii & Clark, 1997; Long & Kamii, 2001; Parrot, 2005; Reece & Kamii, 2001).

In Grades 4-6 of elementary school, the activities that have been designed to develop students' knowledge and cognitive skills regarding measurement systems generally encompass the concepts of length, mass, temperature and volume (Coskie, 2007; Hand, 2005; Hanley, Cammilleri, Tiger, & Ingvarsson, 2007; Leyden, 1995; Sears, 2005; Sterling, 1999, 2006). …

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