Students’ understanding of the cell and cellular structures
A case study
This study aimed to investigate Norwegian eighth-grade students’ preconceptions of cells, the development of their understanding of cellular structure and function during cell biology instruction, and their understanding of the cell as a system. We conducted pre- and posttests including drawings, images and statements with 28 students. Our findings indicate that most students had a simplified view of cells prior to instruction but developed significant knowledge about cellular structures and different types of cells during instruction. However, several misconceptions arose, and some students seemed to alter their correct preconceptions. This suggests that teachers need to address misconceptions during instruction and support integration of students’ previous and new knowledge. Additionally, we suggest that focusing on numerous structures and cells from different organisms confuses students and complicates the process of achieving a systemic view of the cell.
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