Diagnosis of Students' Cognition and Understanding about Heavy Metals According to the Different Major between Liberal Art and Science in High School

문.이과 계열에 따른 중금속에 대한 고등 학생들의 인식 및 이해도 분석

  • Moon, Kyung-Ah (Department of Chemistry Education, Seoul National University) ;
  • Chae, Hee-K. (Department of Chemistry Education, Seoul National University)
  • 문경아 (서울대학교 화학교육과) ;
  • 채희권 (서울대학교 화학교육과)
  • Published : 2009.12.20


In this study, high school students' perceptions of chemically ill-defined ‘heavy metals’ were examined through questionnaires. Nineteen classes of 11th graders (N = 611) were divided into two groups according to completion of 'Chemistry I', which were 10 science-classes and 9 liberal art-classes and compared each other. Three terms of students' cognition and definition, impact on the formation of their cognition, and their chemical knowledge of 'heavy metals' were analyzed by SPSS. The findings revealed that most of students recognized ‘the heavy metal’ as the metal which causes to be accumulated on any living thing and is hazardous in human body regardless of different major between liberal art and science. Mass media and school instruction were found to be the greatest impact on the formation of these cognitions. Especially, school instruction had more effects on students majoring in science than students majoring in liberal art, which bring the result that students in science-classes have more misconception about the definition of 'heavy metals' with human toxicant regardless of metal species and its content in human body and physical density due to the ill-defined terminology of the textbook than students in liberal art-classes do. It is interesting that students in science-classes understood hazard and chemical structure of 'heavy metals' better, while students in liberal art-classes answered the question better about hazardous properties of heavy metals.


Ill-defined heavy metal;Completion of chemistry I;Students' cognition


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