Lise Öğrencilerinin Sürtünme Kuvveti, İvme ve Eylemsizlik Kavramlarıyla İlgili Bilişsel Yapılarının Araştırılması
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This study aims to determine high school students’ cognitive structures in relation to the concepts of “force of friction”, “acceleration” and inertia”- which are among the basic concepts of mechanics. The participants were the 11th and 12th graders of an Anatolian high school located in the city of Balıkesir who were chosen on the basis of volunteering. A word association test containing the key concepts of force of friction, acceleration and inertia-which was developed by the researcher- was administered to the participants so as to determine students’ cognitive structures they had formed in their mind for the concepts. In the first part of the test containing three parts, students were asked to write down words associated with the key concepts. In the second part, they were asked to make sentences about the key concepts, and in the final part they were asked to make drawings about the concepts. The data collected were then put to content analysis. The data collected through word association test were divided into categories according to the number of words and according to meanings. The words with semantic proximity were brought together and thus the categories were formed. Following the analyses it was found that students’ cognitive structures about the concept of inertia fell into four categories. Of the categories, “the definition of inertia” came into prominence. Six categories were distinguished for the concept of acceleration, and the category of “the dynamic applications of acceleration” was the one with the highest frequency. And finally, eight categories were distinguished for the concept of friction. The most remarkable of them was the category of “variables affecting frictional force”. In conclusion, this study exhibited the cognitive structures students had in relation to some basic concepts of mechanics. It also demonstrated that word association test was a technique influential in determining cognitive structures about a different subject.