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Students’ conceptions of water transport
Linköpings universitet, Lärande, Estetik, Naturvetenskap (LEN). (FONTD)
Linköpings universitet, Lärande, Estetik, Naturvetenskap (LEN). (FONTD)
Linköpings universitet, Visuell informationsteknologi och applikationer.
2010 (English)In: Journal of Biological Education, ISSN 0021-9266, Vol. 44, no 3, 129-135 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Understanding the diffusion of water into and out of the cell through osmosis is fundamental to the learning and teaching of biology. Although the movement of water into (and out of) the cell is typically thought of as occurring directly across the lipid bilayer, the major proportion of osmosis actually occurs via specialized transmembranal water-channels called aquaporins. The objective of this study was to investigate students’ prior knowledge of water transport from Taiwan and Sweden by three individual studies. A questionnaire with open-ended question and question using a Likert scale was used at upper secondary level and an open-ended questionnaire was developed to let university students draw and write down their ideas. The results generated from three individual studies including an initial study conducted with 118 Swedish upper secondary biology students, and the other two studies implemented in Taiwan with 101 non-science majors and in Sweden with 37 science majors enrolled in a third-year biochemistry course. The results from the initial study indicated that 50% of respondents to a questionnaire on diffusion seemed to be oblivious of the fact that water is transported through the cell membrane through specialised channels. The Taiwanese data showed that the non-science majors explained water transport mainly as a phenomenon occurring at a cellular level. Furthermore, the majority of the students showed no awareness of specialised water channels and seemed to think that water molecules can diffuse directly into (and out) of the cell membrane. From the Swedish students’ responses, surprisingly, one third of these “expert” students did not provide explanations of water transport that involved specialised water channels. In addition, a larger proportion of the students (41%) used explanations on a molecular level than the Taiwanese students, but the majority (54%) still based their explanations on cellular level descriptions of the process. The preliminary findings of the study presented here indicate that the majority of the students in this study thought that water penetrates the bilayer directly. Our results indicate that teaching the topic of diffusion is often not up to date with the current world-view of science.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 44, no 3, 129-135 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8603ISI: 000285984200007OAI: diva2:451027

Original Publication:Carl-Johan Rundgren, Shu-Nu Chang Rundgren and Konrad Schönborn, Students’ conceptions of water transport, 2010, Journal of Biological Education, (44), 3, 129-135. Copyright: Institute of Biology

Available from: 2014-01-22 Created: 2011-10-19 Last updated: 2014-01-22Bibliographically approved

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