Concept maps for eliciting students’ knowledge of science

I presented a poster on the above title at the National Conference on Science Education here in Mumbai on December 13, 2007. The objective of the study was to prove the feasibility of concepts maps for eliciting knowledge of science at the seconday school level. Two homogenous groups were considered for the study. Of these one group was assigned a task to describe the domain of the structure and function of nucleus and mitochondria and the other group was assigned  a task to draw concept maps on the same domain. The analysis was based on the total number of concepts and total number of scientifically valid releations (sentences) in both the modes of representation. The average showed that there was no significant difference which means that even though with concept mapping as a new technique the knowledge structure was similar in both the modes and there was no loss of knowledge. An interesting observation that came out of the study was that in the description mode there were quite a number of misconceptions, incorrect relations, idio-syncratic, non-scientific way of representation. On the contrary, since the concept map model has a structure and constraint, it does not give any scope to  such idiosyncratic or non-scientific mode of representation. With this model it is possible that students can represent their knowledge which can be quite close to an expert’s representation. The concept mapping technique was found to be feasible with the students for representing scientific knowledge.

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