Alternative Conception


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Alternative Conception

  1. 1. TBC 3013<br />INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN BIOLOGY<br />SECONDARY STUDENTS’ INTERPRETATION OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS AND PLANT NUTRITION<br />GROUP MEMBERS:<br /><ul><li>NAMEMATRIC NUMBERAZFATINI BT NAWID20081032320ZETY LIYANA BT ZAINAL ABIDIND20081032351SYAFIQAH BT SHAARID20091034830YIP SOOK HAND20091034841</li></ul>LETCURER: ASSOC PROF DR SOPIA MD YASSIN<br />SECONDARY STUDENTS’ INTERPRETATION OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS AND PLANT NUTRITION<br />Concept of Photosynthesis and Plant Nutrition<br /> Understanding photosynthesis, respiration and energy issues in organisms are vital for us to understand global issue such as energy flow, food supplies and other ecological principles. The word ‘nutrition’ can be defined as the process by which an organism obtains food which is used to provide energy and materials for its life sustaining activities. Photosynthesis is a production process of green plants. Photosynthesis converts light energy into the chemical energy of sugars and other organic compounds. This process consists of a series of chemical reactions that require carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) and store chemical energy in the form of sugar. Plants use simple inorganic materials and build these up into complex molecules and this is called autotrophic nutrition. Plants that manufacture organic substances form chlorophyll from the inorganic substance taken from their external environment. Sugar produced in photosynthesis will be used in plant respiration which produces metabolic energy for plant’s growth and maintenance. Oxygen (O2) is the by product of photosynthesis and is released into the atmosphere. Carbon cycle is one of the most important cycles of the earth and allows for carbon to be recycled and reused in the photosynthesis process. Photosynthesis will generate energy flow which is required by plants and animals to survive in the ecosystem.<br />Technique<br />A number of methods can be used for assessing students’ misconceptions in biology education. To carry out a research on this study, a questionnaire was designed to assess students’ misconceptions about photosynthesis and related concepts. This study involved 88 Grade 9 students aged between 14 and 15 years from a school in the central area of Erzurum in Turkey. All students were required to answer written questions within approximately an hour.<br />The questionnaire included items designed to determine students’ idea about the importance of photosynthesis, plant nutrition, autotrophy, oxygen release by plants, respiration in plants and the sun’s energy.<br />Table 1 Correct response to questionnaire items<br /><ul><li>Questions
  2. 2. Percentage of correct answers
  3. 3. A BWhy is photosynthesis vital for all living organisms? 20.45What is the source of weight increase in plants during their growth? 19.31Why are plants called producers? 22.72Is it possible for animals to survive without plants in an ecosystem? 25.00What is the atmosphere, even though living organisms breath it continuously? 59.09Do plants carry out respiration all day or only during some periods of the day? 27.27How do plants benefit from the sun’s energy? 23.86</li></ul>Note: Total number of students asked was n=88.<br />Alternative conceptions<br />Students often exhibit strikingly similar misconception about photosynthesis. When the first question ‘Why is photosynthesis vital for all living organisms?’ was asked, only 18 students understand that plant both release oxygen and produce food through the process of photosynthesis, thus enabling the continuation of our lives. Others had incomplete and mistaken idea about photosynthesis.<br />The question ‘What is the source of weight increase in plants during their growth?’ tested students’ understanding of autotrophic feeding. Most students mentioned water and soil in their answers and seven mentioned carbon dioxide as source of the plants’ weight. Only 17 students know that the weight increase in plants comes from organic substances, produced by plants themselves.<br />The third question ‘Why plants are called producers?’ tested their knowledge about the role of photosynthesis in the ecosystem. There are 20 students believe that plant manufacture organic substance by photosynthesis, but about 23% of this group thought that plants are called producers because they produce oxygen. About half of students claimed that most plants produce fruit or vegetables, so they are called producers.<br />To test the students’ understanding about the concept of the food chain relationship between plants and animals, we asked them the fourth question ‘Is it possible for animals to survive without plants in an ecosystem?’ Most of them believed that animals need plants to survive. Only 22 students associated this with the process of photosynthesis. <br />The fifth question ‘What is the reason for keeping carbon dioxide at an optimum level in the atmosphere, even though living organisms breath it continuously?’ tested students knowledge about the relationship between carbon cycle and photosynthesis. Approximately 62 students have a clear understanding about the role of carbon dioxide in photosynthesis, but the remaining 36 students did not give accurate answers to this question.<br />The sixth question ‘Do plants carry out respiration all day or only during some periods of the day?’ tested students’ understanding of the plant respiration. About half of students claimed that plants undergo respiration only during the night. Only 24 students answered correctly that plants respire continuously during the day and night.<br />The last question ‘How do plants benefit from the sun’s energy?’ tested students’ knowledge of energy flow from the sun through to plants. About 24% of students correctly claimed that plants manufacture their own food via photosynthesis by using the sun’s energy. Others thought that plants have to use the sun’s energy for looking healthy while some believe that plants use the sun for keeping warm. <br />Bibliography<br />Ozay, Esra, Oztaz, Haydar. (2003). Secondary Students Interpretation of Photosynthesis and Plant Nutrition. Journal of Biological Education, v37 n2 p68-70.<br />