n Journal of the Southern African Association for Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education - Zimbabwean students' conceptions of selected ecological concepts

Volume 5 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1028-8457
This article is unavailable for purchase outside of Africa



The study was aimed at identifying the conceptions held by 'O' Level students who were studying the Zimbabwe Integrated Science syllabus in Mutare urban high schools. The study was conducted with 409 students. The conceptions were established by administering a multiple-choice test on ecological concepts followed by face-to-face interviews with 27 respondents.<br> The study established that students held erroneous conceptions in varying degrees in the following aspects of ecology: food chains and webs, populations, inverted pyramid of numbers, nitrogen cycle, carbon cycle and energy flow in ecosystems. However, students had a clear understanding of the source of energy for plants and some food web dynamics.&lt;br&gt; The results of this study suggest that students are likely to hold erroneous views of the topic under study. It is suggested in this study that teachers should endeavour to identify students' misconceptions on a given topic, and then use them as a basis for instruction. Curriculum developers should design science curricula that build on students' conceptions, and to that effect the Zimbabwe Integrated Science syllabus needs revision so that students' misconceptions of certain ecological concepts can be addressed.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error