Rectifying misconceptions on covalent bonding using cooperative learning, concrete models, and computer simulation: A case study

Phuntsho Dorji, Yonten Chophel
Drukjegang Higher Secondary School, Bhutan
Daga Central School, Dagana, Bhutan
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The covalent bonding concept is perceived by students as abstract to comprehend and thus leads to the development of misconceptions. The inappropriate preconception on the subject is one of the contributing factors that lead to the development of misconceptions among the students. To this end, identifying and remediating learners’ misconceptions is vital for every individual teacher in order to cultivate sound scientific knowledge in their learners. This study aimed to explore two aspects: first, the misconceptions of the grade-ninth students on the covalent bonding concept. Second, the effectiveness of cooperative learning based on conceptual change instruction, the use of concrete models, and computer simulation in remediating those misconceptions. The study adopted a quantitative method. The sample comprised 20 students (n=20) studying in the ninth grade of Drukjegang Higher Secondary School in Bhutan. The misconceptions of the students were identified using two-tier diagnostic tests. The study revealed that students’ common misconceptions related to covalent bonding are concentrated under five themes: the kinds of atoms that form covalent bonding, how covalent bonding is formed, the kinds of covalent bonding, the characteristics of covalent compounds, and the Lewis dot structure and the octet rule. The data collected from the pre-test and post-test were analyzed and compared to determine the effectiveness of the intervention strategies. The misconceptions of students in post-test have significantly reduced after the intervention was implemented. The study suggests the use of cooperative learning, concrete models, and computer simulation as an effective remediating means of delivering the concept of covalent bonding among the students. Implications of the findings are also discussed.

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