ERIC Number: ED254411
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985
Reference Count: 0
Relationships between Formal-Operational Thought and Conceptual Difficulties in Genetics Problem Solving.
Gipson, Michael; Abraham, Michael R.
Seventy-one college general biology students were taught a unit in Mendelian genetics by the traditional lecture method. Emphasis was placed on meiotic formation of gametes, dominance, segregation, and independent assortment. The Punnett square model was used for all practice problems. While using this model, students were asked to: (1) identify ratios from the Punnett squares (requiring use of proportional reasoning); (2) identify combinations of gametes from parental genotypes (requiring use of combinatorial reasoning); and (3) estimate gamete or offspring probabilities (requiring use of probabilistic reasoning). Each of the 71 students was also given three Piagetian interview tasks to evaluate intellectual development in the areas of reasoning under question. The balance beam task, the electronic switch-box task, and colored squares and diamonds were used to test for proportional reasoning, combinatorial reasoning, and probabilistic reasoning respectively. Although Pearson correlations and factor analysis failed to show direct relationships among Piagetian tasks for the three kinds of reasoning and their corresponding occurrence in genetics problems, analysis of variance showed significant differences for all three reasoning types among concete-operation, transitional, and formal-operation students in a unit and post-test. Implications of these and other results are noted. (Author/JN)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Formal Operations; Science Education Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (58th, French Lick Springs, IN, April 15-18, 1985).