Developing a Functional Framework to Teach and Learn Science at the Three Conceptual Levels of Understanding: An Action Research Approach


  • Bing Qin Koh
  • Yoke Ung Wong


lesson design framework, conceptual levels of understanding, action research


Many educators advocate that the teaching and learning of science should be done at three conceptual levels – the macroscopic, sub-microscopic and symbolic levels. Although there are simple resources available to provide learning experience at these levels, the pedagogical guidance for educators to link and deliver concepts effectively at these three conceptual levels of understanding is inadequate. Using the action research cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting as a research methodology, we developed a lesson design framework to address this concern effectively. The framework was aptly applied to design lessons for abstract concepts that are perceived to be difficult to learn by secondary school students such as the strength of acids and the precipitation of salts. The efficacy of this framework is evident from the direct feedback garnered through interviews of participating students as well as the positive teaching outcome based on the qualitative and quantitative data collected. We leveraged on the data and feedback gathered after each implementation to refine our framework and plan for the next cycle of action. This paper not only seeks to illustrate an effective pedagogical model for all science educators, but also exemplifies how action research may be used as a methodological approach to address gaps in teaching practices.