Misconceptions among Middle School Students Regarding the Conservation of Mass during Combustion
Ahmad Basheer 1 * , Naji Kortam 1, Nisreen Zahran 1, Avi Hofestein 2, Muhamad Hugerat 1
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1 The Academic Arab College for Education in Israel, Haifa, ISRAEL2 The Weizmann Institute of Science, ISRAEL* Corresponding Author


This study focuses on the misconceptions of eighth-grade students in the Arab sector compared to the Jewish sector regarding the conservation of mass during combustion in a closed system and in an open system before the subject is taught, and to what extent the misconceptions change after it is taught. Students (N=195) from six heterogeneous classes were asked to fill in a ten-question questionnaire twice: once before the subject was taught and again afterwards. The findings indicated that students’ understanding improved more with respect to closed systems compared with open systems; before the subject had been taught the situation was very similar for both cases. The students’ explanations were based on visual arguments and showed that there was confusion concerning the effect of chemical, physical, and state of matter changes on the conservation of mass during combustion. Regarding the comparison between the conceptions of eighth-grade students in the Arab and Jewish (N=105) sectors, students in the Arab sector had better achievements in closed systems, whereas Jewish students gave more correct answers to questions in open systems. The study’s findings can help middle-school students and their teachers understand that physical and chemical changes do not affect mass in a closed system, and that students should learn to distinguish between conservation of mass in open and in closed systems.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

EURASIA J Math Sci Tech Ed, Volume 14, Issue 7, July 2018, 3109-3122


Publication date: 13 May 2018

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