Concepts are defined as names given to ideas, events or objects that make it easier for us to understand the world in which we live (Eggen & Kauchak, 2004). It is important not to have misconcetptions to understand the world and to explain the events we encounter correctly (Avcı, Kara, & Karaca, 2012). Considering that one of the dimensions of science literacy is defined as knowing the basic science concepts (Ayvacı & Özbek, 2017), individuals who can not learn the science concepts correctly can not be defined as science literate. Unfortunately, studies show that students have a lot of misconceptions about science contents. One way to resolve misconceptions is to learn the concepts correctly from an early age (Önen, 2005). At this point, the important role of teachers in supporting the right concept learning is an undeniable fact. However, teachers who have misconceptions can not be expected to help students in the process of  learning the concepts correctly (Burgoon, Heedle, & Duran, 2011). Therefore, it is important for preservice teachers to graduate without having misconceptions from education faculties.

One of the ways to effectively identify and change misconceptions is predictive inquiry (Fouche, 2015) and one of the methods that require individuals to make predictions about an event and question the accuracy of their predictions is the Prediction-Observation- Explanation (POE) method. In the process of implementation of POE method, students’ thinking processes and their prior knowledge can be revealed (Kibirige, Osodo, & Tlala, 2014). Identifying of prior knowledge helps teachers to explore students’ misconceptions about science contents and find effective solutions for these misconceptions (Kibirige, Osodo, & Tlala, 2014). Therefore it is important that preservice teachers should graduate without misconceptions from faculties.

In the literature there are different studies that explore preservice science teachers’ misconception about various science contents (Çakmak, Çakmak, &Topal, 2018; Sheehan, Childs, & Hiyes, 2011; Türk & Tüzün, 2018; Urey, 2018). However it is seen that the studies that search the misconceptions about pressure are generally carried out with high school and elementary school students (Akbaş & Gençtürk, 2015; Demirci & Akdemir, 2009; Kuczmann, 2017; Önen, 2005, Tytler, 1998; Wijaya, Supriyono, & Muhardjito, 2016).  In addition, misconceptions about physics contents are mostly focused on mechanics (speed, velocity, energy), electricity, Newton’s laws and force and motion (Avcı, Kara, &Karaca, 2012). In national and international literature, the number of studies focusing on misconceptions about pressure is more limited than other studies about physics contents (Demirci & Akdemir, 2009). Furthermore tests, interviews, questionnaires, interview forms, open-ended questions and two-stage tests are often used to identify misconceptions about pressure (Kaya, Bozdağ, & Ok, 2018).Therefore this study aimed to identify preservice science teachers’ misconceptions about gas pressure by POE method .


The aim of the present study is to explore the preservice science teachers’ misconceptions about the gas pressure by POE method.


In this section, the research method, participants, data collection and data analysis were explained.

Research model

In the present study, descriptive survey method was used. Descriptive survey method is used to describe a situation as it exists (Karasar, 1999). The aim of the study was to determine the pre-service science teachers’ misconceptions about gas pressure, and it required using descriptive survey method.


The study group consisted of 26 pre-service science teachers in a public university in the Department of Science Teaching. Implementation process was conducted with pre-service science teachers who were volunteers for research. Sixteen (61.53%) of the participants were female and 10 (38.46%) were male.

Data collection

Data was collected with three worksheets prepared by researches to identify preservice teachers misconceptions about gas pressure. The worksheets included figure of the lab experiment and explanations about what to do in the experiment. In these worksheets, there are sections in which preservice teachers would write their predictions, observations and explanations about the experiment. Implementation lasted three lessons that were 40 minutes.

Data Analyses

Content analysis method was used for data analysis. Content analysis is used to explain the existing relationships between data and to reach new concepts (Karataş, 2015) by producing valid and repeated inferences from the obtained data (Krippendorff, 1980). In the process of analyzing the data, two researchers firstly read the worksheets individually and noted the misconceptions they identified.Then the researchers came together and read all the papers and compared their analysis.Disagreements were eliminated and analyzes were completed.

In the process of analyzing the data, it was determined that although students made correct predictions, they expressed their predictions with scientifically inappropriate expressions.This situation was considered as an important finding by the researchers and it was thought that it should be included in the research.Therefore, the researchers re-read the explanations of the preservice teachers who made correct predictions and defined 4 codes for these explanations.

Correct predictions without any explanation were coded as “no expression”, correct predictions that include only unscientific or inappropriate explanations were coded as  “wrong explanation”, correct predictions with unscientific or inappropriate explanations as well as scientific explanations “partial expression” and correct predictions with only scientific and appropriate explanations were coded as “full expression”.


As a result of the data analysis, it was found that pre-service science teachers have misconceptions as follows:

– The gas may inlet into a sealed balloon because of pressure change.

– When the piston of the syringe is pulled, the pressure inside it is reset.

-Open air pressure does not affect closed containers.

– There is no pressure in a inflated balloon.

– Objects may expand or contract due to pressure.

– There is a direct proportion between volume and pressure.

– Gas passages between two closed containers because of volume difference or amount of substance rather than pressure.

– Two balloons that are inflated different volumes, have same volume.

– The thermal equilibrium unit is 0 degree.

– Fluid pressure depends on the shape of the container.

– Heat and air flow from cold to heat.

In addition to these misconceptions above, pre-service science teachers used non scientific explanations. They used those explanations:

-elongation, swelling, elongation upward, increase in the size of the swelling or longitudinal stretching to explain the increased balloon volume

-loosening the force instead of reducing the force

– a coercion on the balloon instead of the pressure on the balloon

-the air is large instead of the volume of gas increased

-leaving alone the pressure instead of reducing the pressure

-the pressure became lighter instead of the pressure decreased

– the pressure is strong than the pressure is much

-volume flows instead of gas flows

These findings might be interpreted that science teachers have misconceptions about not only related to gas pressure but also fluid pressure and heat contents. In addition it was seen that they are  not capable at using a scientific language to explain their predictions and observations.

In this study, in addition to identifying the misconceptions of preservice teachers, how they explained their predictions also investigated. It was seen that 9 preservice teachers presented correct explanation for the first lab experiment and one of them did not present any explanation, 4 of them presented wrong explanation, 3 of them presented  partial explanation and only one of them  presented a full explanation. None of the preservice teachers presented any correct explanation for the second lab experiment. For the third experiment, twenty-two pre-service teachers presented correct prediction and 20 of them presented wrong explanation, one pre-service teacher presented partial and one pre-service teacher presented full explanation. These findings can be interpreted as that the preservice teachers are not able to use the information they have for a problem they encounter, they have insufficient knowledge or they have misconceptions.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In the present study, it was aimed to identify preservice science teachers’ misconceptions about gas pressure by using POE method. As a result of the analysis, it was found that preservice science teachers have misconceptions about the relationship between pressure and volume, the effect of temperature change on expansion and contraction, the presence of open air pressure, the effect of external pressure changest on the closed containers, the concept of pressure, the concept of volume, the thermal equilibrium unit, the factors affecting fluid pressure and heat flow direction. In the literature, there are different studies which show that preservice science teachers have misconceptions about the gas pressure (Burgoon, Heedle, & Duran, 2011; Kariper, 2013; Kartal, Öztürk, & Yalvaç, 2011; Yıldırım & Konur, 2014). Therefore  it is recommended that new studies should be conducted to investigate the reasons of preservice science teachers’ misconceptions and to eliminate these reasons. In the education faculties, in addition to traditional methods, using constructivist approach like POE method in which students have the opportunity to learn meaningfully with an active participation would contribute to the elimination of misconceptions.

Keywords: Pre-service Science Teachers, Prediction-Observation-Explanation Method, Misconception, Gas Pressure.


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