Examining the use of multiple representations to teach vectors in Grade 10 physical sciences
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The purpose of this paper was to examine the use of the multiple representation approach as a teaching strategy to improve learners understanding of vectors in Grade 10 Physical Sciences. The study also wanted to consider the MR approach through the lens of the learners. A sample consisting of 45 Grade 10 learners from a total of 160 Grade 10 Physical Sciences learners participated in the study. Both quantitative and qualitative data were collected and analysed. Learners were first given a pre-test to establish their initial understanding of vectors. This pre-test was followed by an intervention in the form of a lesson. The lesson was conducted in order to expose learners to learning through Multiple Representations. A post-test was then administered to determine the impact of the intervention. To gather and quantify the learners’ perceptions on the use of Multiple Representations in teaching and learning of vectors in Grade 10 Physical Sciences learners were given questionnaires to complete. The last step was interviewing of learners to triangulate the results from the three instruments. The study found that learners were struggling with understanding of vectors in their traditional chalk-and-talk lessons and their perceptions towards vectors were negative. The study also found that Multiple Representations can improve understanding and develop positive perception of learners towards the teaching and learning of vectors. This improvement occurs only if Multiple Representations is used correctly. The study further found out that when Multiple Representations is used improperly it limits deeper understanding by learners. A number of recommendations were made out of the findings of the study. Some of them were that multiple representations should be used when teaching vectors and that subject advisers and teachers should be developed on the proper use of multiple representations. The Physical Sciences textbooks must be designed to accommodate Multiple Representations.