Senior secondary students’ perception of the nature of the atom in Obio Akpor local government area of Rivers state, Nigeria

  • Joshua Macson Ahiakwo
  • Uchenna Henry Johnwest


The study investigated Senior Secondary (SS) Students’ perception about the nature of the atom. Phenomenographic approach was adopted. Two thousand five hundred and twenty (2,520) SS3 Chemistry students from government owned schools in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria, volunteered to participate in the study. The instruments used in the study were a Perception Rating Scale Questionnaire (PRSQ) on the nature of atoms and an Atomic Theory Test (ATT). Overall findings of the study revealed that 60% of the items in PRSQ showed description of the atom by the students as a constituent of matter, 13.3% indicating constitution of the atom as a particle and 26.6% described the atom in terms of shape (model). It was further observed that 10.2% of the students agreed with the statements concerning the atom as a constituent of matter, the constitution of the atom and the model of an atom. With the students’ knowledge about the atomic theory, they were able to associate the atom with such concepts as electrons, protons, neutrons, electronic configuration, nucleus, atomic number, shells and mass number. The implications of these findings were discussed in the study.

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print ISSN: 2227-5835