Education Project Topics

An Investigation of Misapprehension Secondary School Students Have Towards Physics Subject in Niger State





Motion and energy are the primary ideas that serve as the foundation for and serve to unite the many subjects covered in the SSS physics curriculum. The emphasis throughout is placed on how relevant the subjects being discussed are to society in terms of their applicability. Only the themes that may be directly derived from the concepts and each concept’s sub- concepts were considered for inclusion in the list. The strategy that is used in the curriculum is, in general, to deal with the subjects under a unifying idea in a manner that is generic, offer some detail in the applications in order to promote relevance, and utilize profuse illustration in order to help students better grasp. According to findings from studies on how people learn physics, students enter their first physics class with preconceived notions about the universe that vary from the generally accepted scientific views. This first bit of common sense is going to be used to refer to a misunderstanding. According to study that was conducted by McDermott (2019), it was discovered that it is challenging for students to modify their original common sense. This is due to the fact that the students’ own beliefs are founded on years of accumulated personal experience. It might be challenging to shift the original perspectives of pupils. It is essential to integrate the new information into the framework of knowledge that they already possess. The effectiveness of introductory physics instruction is important for improving student attitudes toward an understanding of the scientific process. For instance, improving students’ abilities in quantitative problem solving, improving students’ laboratory skills, improving students’ understanding of physics concepts, and improving students’ reasoning skills are all examples of how this can be done. In many cases, the intuitive concepts or preexisting conceptual frameworks cannot be directly compared to the scientific explanations of physical occurrences. Understanding how one acquires knowledge of physics and developing methods that are more efficient for teaching physics will be our ultimate objective. Electromagnetism and electricity are two of the most challenging subjects to teach in physics. Students often struggle while attempting to comprehend the concepts of electricity and magnetism due to the abstract and intangible character of the subject matter, which makes it difficult to conceptualize, and the intricate mathematical connections involved. At all three levels of education—primary, secondary, and tertiary—the study of electricity and magnetism is considered to be an essential component of the physics curriculum. In contrast to mechanics, the idea comprehension of students in the fields of electricity and magnetism has not been examined in nearly as much depth. According to the findings of several studies, new instructional strategies for changing students’ conceptions of electricity and magnetism using scientific models such as conceptual conflicts and analogies may be devised (Driver et al.2015).

Research conducted in the field of physics education over the last 20 years has shown that students already have a number of preconceived notions about the behavior of physical systems even before they begin their studies in physics. These concepts, which are sometimes referred to as alternative conceptions or common sense science, are distinct from the scientific consensus in many instances. According to the findings of other studies, it is challenging to get pupils to abandon their original points of view. The creation and widespread usage of the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) conceptual exam on certain fundamental kinematics and Newton’s three laws has brought the question of the efficiency of traditional teaching to the attention of many physics educators. A significant number of physics professors have shown an interest in evaluating their students’ understanding of electric and magnetic fields. On the other hand, the work of constructing the FCI is extremely different from the task of building an instrument to evaluate the notions that students have about electricity and magnetism. Because of the central tenet of the constructivist learning theory, which states that “students come to the learning environment with the preconceptions, which were formed during their interactions within physical and social environment, and those preconceptions affect learning,” the topic of students’ scientific preconceptions has piqued the interest of science teachers for more than three decades (Pfundt and Duit, 2016). The primary emphasis of research is on those people’s preconceived notions that particularly conflict with scientific information and cause difficulties in the process of learning. In this particular investigation, the idea of a misperception was used for these kinds of assumptions. The outcomes of the research that was carried out led to some discoveries concerning the primary characteristics of misunderstandings. These results are summarized in the table below (Driver and Bell, 2018; Driver, 2018; Mutimucuio, 2019; Widodo et al., 2012; Tyler, 2015).

• Misconceptions held by pupils who come from diverse cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and linguistic backgrounds are typically similar to one another.

• Students’ brains may get thoroughly embedded with misconceptions, making it difficult for them to modify their beliefs.


Common language, cultural practices, and religious beliefs all have the potential to contribute to the development of misunderstandings.

• In the process of understanding scientific findings, misconceptions might be analogous to the explanations that were developed by past scientists.

Following the completion of a formal education, misconceptions may emerge. During the course of the inquiry, several researchers arrived at the same conclusions on the students’ misunderstandings of simple electric circuits. The following is a list of the results that are most often observed:

• The ideas of current, energy, and potential difference are not distinguished as independently existing notions and are instead interchanged with one another.

• The components of the circuit use the current that is available.

• The current leaves the positive pole of the battery and enters the bulb, where it is used to light the bulb. This process is unaffected by the second wire that is placed between the negative pole and the bulb itself.

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• In order to ignite the bulb, current must first emerge from both poles of the battery and then collide inside the bulb itself.

• The current flows the same amount across each of the lines of the parallel circuits.

Objects with a positive charge have accumulated protons rather than lacking electrons, hence they have a positive charge.

• The brightness of a bulb in a circuit that is linked in series will be affected by a change that occurs before the bulb, but the same bulb will not be affected by a change that occurs anyplace in the circuit after the bulb.

• Batteries are continuous current sources.

The misconceptions discussed above were shown to be prevalent in research carried out with students of varying ages and nationalities from across the world. The paper by Shipstone et al. (2018) is an important piece of research that outlines the finding that students in five European nations have comparable misunderstandings about basic electric circuits. The misunderstanding that “current is spent by circuit components,” as was described above, is documented in practically all of the research that have been done on electric circuits. Students may on occasion have misunderstandings because of the usage of terminology that is more common in daily life (Gilbert et al, 2018).

The methods that teachers use to teach and assess their students’ understanding of physics in the classroom are a major contributor to the widespread misunderstandings that exist among senior secondary school pupils in Nigeria. There is a strong link between the methods that teachers use to teach and assess their students’ understanding of physics and the widespread misunderstandings that exist.


The widespread prevalence of incorrect understandings of physics in senior high schools is one of the most significant challenges facing the education system today. Students consistently score very poorly in physics exams, particularly those administered by the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the National Examination Council Examination (NECO), which was only recently implemented. In order to reduce the number of students who have incorrect ideas about physics and to boost the academic performance of students in senior secondary schools, innovative and efficient new ways of teaching and learning physics need to be developed (Gilbert et al, 2018). Students in senior secondary schools have the potential to attain higher levels of academic success if they are taught using methods that are recognized as being successful and are given consideration. physics. The study is aimed at identifying effects of these methods on academic performance of students and also to determine the extent to which the methods can modify or change students’ academic performance in physics.


The general objective of the study is to investigate misapprehension secondary school students have towards learning physics subject in Niger state. The specifics are as follows;

i.          To examine the reason for secondary school students misapprehension towards  physics subject.

ii.        To find out the effect of secondary school student misapprehension towards physics on their academic performance.

iii.      To investigate if teachers experience influence secondary school students misapprehension towards physics subject.

iv.      To recommend strategies that can be used to improve secondary school student interest towards physics subject.


The following questions have been prepared for the study:

i.          What is the reason for secondary school students misapprehension towards  physics subject?

ii.        What is the effect of secondary school student misapprehension towards physics on their academic performance?

iii.      Does teachers experience influence secondary school students misapprehension towards physics subject?

iv.      What are the strategies that can be used to improve secondary school student interest towards physics subject?


The significance of this study cannot be under estimated or over emphasized. Firstly, this study tends add to the body of general knowledge and existing research of the subject inquiry. Secondly, this study emphasizes the urgent need to vigorously examine the misconceptions of senior secondary school students in science (physics). This will not only help to curb the general misconceptions in senior secondary school, it will also enhance and improve the student knowledge and skills in the area of science (physics) as well as related subjects. Furthermore, this study stresses the need to implement the national policies that will aid the training of specialized and qualified teachers in the area of science development in Nigeria. This will further strengthen and increase the nation’s status in terms of science development within the global world as well as enhance the adoption of scientific application in all works of life socially, politically and economically.


The study will examine the reason for secondary school students misapprehension towards  physics subject. The study will also find out the effect of secondary school student misapprehension towards physics on their academic performance. The study will further investigate if teachers experience influence secondary school students misapprehension towards physics subject.  Finally, the study will recommend strategies that can be used to improve secondary school student interest towards physics subject. Hence this study will be delimited to Delta State.


Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.


Misapprehension: a view or opinion that is incorrect based on faulty thinking or understanding.

Learning: Is a process of acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preference and may involve synthesizing different types of information.



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