Scientific Explanation of Phenomenon, Imagination and Concept Formation as Correlates of Students’ Understanding of Physics Concepts

B. C. Madu, Ogundeji, Oluwatomisin Marvellous, Nestor Ekemezie Okoye


Knowledge of physics to many students is described in quantitative terms such as how much scientific vocabulary and how many formulae have been memorized. However, only few students can successfully make connections to apply the scientific knowledge in answering questions in physics. That is, physics students answer questions in relation to their emergent views mainly based on their prior knowledge about everyday experience which is at variance with scientific knowledge in a typical physics classroom. It is evident that teaching and learning of physics concepts introduced in verbal and mathematical definitions may not promote conceptual understanding of physics even after instruction. Therefore, no relationship exists between students, prior knowledge in physics and scientific understanding of physics concepts as they attempt to answer physics questions that probe their scientific understanding. Hence, the main purpose of this study was to ascertain if relationship exist among scientific explanation of phenomenon, imagination and concept formation (predictor variables) and students’ understanding of physics concepts (criterion) and amount of variation in the criterion variable that can be attributed to the predictor variables. The study adopted a correlation research design. The sample of the study was 385 respondents drawn from the population of Senior Secondary III Physics Students of 2016/2017 academic session in the government owned secondary schools in Akure Education Zone of Ondo State. The instruments for data collection were four namely: Students’ Scientific Explanation of Phenomenon Test (SSEPT), Students’ Scientific Imagination Scale (SSIS), Students’ Scientific Concept Formation Test (SSCFT), and Students’ Understanding of Physics Concept Test (SUPCT). SSEPT and SUPCT were ten (10) structured essay questions each. The internal consistency indices obtained were 0.81 and 0.86 respectively. An internal consistency of  twenty (20) item structured questionnaire of (SSIS), modeled on a four (4) point rating was determined using Cronbach Alpha formula and was found to be scale 0.85.Also, the internal consistence index of SSCFT with twenty multiple choice items was determined using Kuder-Richardson 20 (K-R20) Formula and was found to be 0.82. The research questions were answered using Pearson-Product Moment Correlation and coefficient of determination The Null hypotheses were tested using Multiple-Regression analysis at.05 level of significance. Results showed that there was a statistically significant relationship among students’ scientific explanation of phenomenon, students’ scientific imagination, students’ scientific concept formation and students’ understanding of physics concepts. It was recommended among other things that Physics teachers should help in fostering conceptual understanding of physics concepts in physics students using scientific explanation of phenomenon to trigger students’ scientific imagination and students’ scientific concept formation.

Keywords: Scientific Phenomenon, Scientific Imagination, Concept Formation, Understanding, Physics.

DOI: 10.7176/JNSR/11-16-03

Publication date:August 31st 2020

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