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ERIC Number: EJ1075023
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Understanding Middle School Students' Difficulties in Explaining Density Differences from a Language Perspective
Seah, Lay Hoon; Clarke, David; Hart, Christina
International Journal of Science Education, v37 n14 p2386-2409 2015
This study examines how a class of Grade 7 students employed linguistic resources to explain density differences. Drawing from the same data-set as a previous study by, we take a language perspective to investigate the challenges students face in learning the concept of density. Our study thus complements previous research on learning about density which has mostly focussed on the conceptual challenges. The data consist of transcripts of lessons on density and students' written assignments. Using selected analytical categories from the Systemic Functional Linguistics framework, we first examined students' use of linguistic resources in their written reports of a practical activity. We then compared the language employed by the students with the instructional language, identifying possible links. Our analysis identified specific aspects of language that the students need to appropriate in order to express an understanding of density that aligns with a scientific perspective. The findings from this study illuminate ways by which teachers could assist students in overcoming the linguistic challenges in explaining density differences, which complement those made by existing studies that focus on conceptual challenges.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A