Page: 227-240 Author: Hniličková-Fenclová, J. Key words:
The paper studies the problem of formalism in the knowledge of physics and concentrates especially on Basic School pupils. It analyses the thought structure of Ohm’s law and by giving the results of a research it shows how it is understood by pupils who can demonstrate the knowledge of the mathematical or verbal form of the law. It uses the pupils' answers to a didactic test and tests of independence to find out the connections between individual operations and transfers. The paper gives concrete results of the analysis of the answers as well as that of statistical tests. Thus it shows the structure of pupils' knowledge of the physical relation, which is very poor. Pupils who have demonstrated the knowledge of the respective formula do not usually understand Ohm's law as a functional dependence. The law serves them only to calculate direct individual quantities. The formal knowledge as demonstrated is not enough and does not help pupils to solve applied problems. With the present-day concept of instruction more than 50 per cent of the pupils have a purely formal knowledge of the physical law, it does not enrich their power of thinking and cannot be used for transfer. Formal knowledge cannot be used as a proof that the law has been understood. The research that has been carried out is a probe giving us an idea of the pupils' knowledge in physics and the present situation in the teaching of physics, but it also leads to more general conclusions about the structure of thought in the knowledge of physics and about formalism in knowledge.