The effects of the multiple representation approach on undergraduate students' understanding of Archimedes’ principle
Jeanne Kriek 1 * , Ashenafi Legesse 1
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1 University of South Africa, South Africa
* Corresponding Author


Students often face difficulties to understand Archimedes’ principle and to apply it in everyday life. It is therefore necessary to explore a different teaching approach that addresses students’ visual and auditory senses in a unique manner. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of using multiple representations on undergraduate physics students' understanding of Archimedes' principle. A quasi-experimental approach was employed, involving the random selection of four groups of students (experimental and control) with two iterations, each involving two groups of students. A sample of 128 students completed an open-ended questionnaire based on the Thermal Transport Conceptual Inventory, and the Fluid Mechanics Concept Inventory. Lesson plans were presented for both iterations. Quantitative analysis involved the use of t-tests to assess the comparability of the groups, prior to the intervention and ANCOVA after the intervention to determine the effect. Qualitative data analysis involved identifying and comparing themes to establish student understanding before and after the two iterations. The findings indicated that the use of six different representations did not yield a significant effect compared to traditional teaching, while the use of eight representations proved significantly effective where the static pictures were replaced by animation pictures as well as adding videos and virtual labs. Careful planning is crucial not only for selecting the most suitable representation in a particular teaching situation, but also for determining which technology to use when addressing students’ understanding of Archimedes' principle.  



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