Grade 10 Students’ Misconceptions about Impulse and Momentum


  • Ayşe Gül ÇİRKİNOĞLU ŞEKERCİOĞLU BAÜ Necatibey Education Faculty, Department of Science, Physics Education
  • Mustafa Sabri KOCAKÜLAH BAÜ Necatibey Education Faculty, Department of Science Education, Physics Education


Misconceptions, Conceptual Understanding Test, Impulse and Momentum


Studies focusing on teaching of science concepts show that students are unable to learn the scientific meaning of the target concepts while they are constructing newly acquired knowledge with their prior experiences during or after teaching and as a result misconceptions emerge (Novak & Gowin, 1984). In the light of this fact, many studies have been carried out on misconceptions in science education. However, the researchers have not come across with enough studies about misconceptions on momentum in physics during the review of literature.
This study aims to reveal grade 10 students’ misconceptions about impulse and momentum. In order to achieve this aim, a conceptual understanding test, which involves 8 open ended questions, was administered to 139 students from randomly selected 5 secondary schools in the city centre of Balıkesir during the academic term of 2003-2004. In addition, semi-structured interviews were
conducted with 8 students to penetrate the ideas given in response to conceptual understanding test questions and to learn the points that students experience learning difficulties. Analysis results show that 30% of the students confused the concept of momentum with the concept of impulse and 24% of them used the concepts of energy, power, force and acceleration instead of momentum in scientifically unacceptable way in the conceptual understanding test. Four of the students interviewed stated that “momentum is a repulsive force” which was in accord the responses given in the test. Moreover, it was found that 68% of the students were unaware of the vector nature of momentum. Implications of teaching of momentum were drawn for science educators and curriculum developers in the light of the findings.


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How to Cite

ÇİRKİNOĞLU ŞEKERCİOĞLU, A. G. ., & KOCAKÜLAH, M. S. (2008). Grade 10 Students’ Misconceptions about Impulse and Momentum. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 5(2), 48-60.

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