Teaching for Conceptual Change in Space Scienceby: Eric Brunsell and Jason Marcks

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Nearly 20 years after the release of The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics’ video, A Private Universe, much research has been done in relation to students’ understanding of space-science concepts and how to effectively change these ideas. However, student difficulties with basic space-science concepts still persist. This article will describe some of the common student misconceptions related to phases of the Moon, introduce a conceptual-change teaching approach, and provide an example of an activity that can be used to address these common misconceptions.

Grades
  • Middle
Publication Date
7/1/2007

Community ActivitySaved in 126 Libraries

Reviews (6)
  • on Fri Sep 14, 2012 9:40 AM

Based on a survey of Harvard graduates, these students had as much difficulty explaining space science concepts as typical students in the primary grades. A chart illustrates the correct response percentage about three questions in elementary, middle and high school grades. This article provides a conceptual change model that will hopefully change the student’s misconceptions into correct understanding. The assessment provided might be a good place to start to see what students actually know. Using it as a before and after assessment might help guide teachers to creating lasting attainment of understanding.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:53 PM

This article goes beyond identifying space science misconceptions, the author presents research based methods to conceptually change the student's idea. The article is interesting because it presents research suggesting students may not restructure their misconceptions easily, even when presented with a discrepant event.

Angelika Fairweather  (Bradenton, FL)
Angelika Fairweather (Bradenton, FL)

  • on Sun May 26, 2019 5:33 PM

By adding surveys taken in different grade levels,it shows how much confusion is taking place when it comes to Space Science. Students come into classrooms everyday with ideas that are not accurate and are living daily lives with these misconceptions. The author did a superior job writing out explanations to the reader in order for a solid understanding of the article.

Kylie
Kylie

  • on Sun May 26, 2019 4:22 PM

By adding surveys taken in different grade levels,it shows how much confusion is taking place when it comes to Space Science. Students come into classrooms everyday with ideas that are not accurate and are living daily lives with these misconceptions. The author did a superior job writing out explanations to the reader in order for a solid understanding of the article.

Kylie
Kylie

  • on Sun May 26, 2019 4:22 PM

By adding surveys taken in different grade levels,it shows how much confusion is taking place when it comes to Space Science. Students come into classrooms everyday with ideas that are not accurate and are living daily lives with these misconceptions. The author did a superior job writing out explanations to the reader in order for a solid understanding of the article.

Kylie
Kylie

  • on Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:01 PM

The article highlights three conditions that must happen in order for students to make a conceptual change. First, they “must understand the new idea; understand how it can be used to resolve the dissatisfaction; and see how the new idea can be used in other situations.” The authors provide steps to help us guide students through the initial misconception, using a simple activity, and then other steps that allow students to solidify the new understanding. I used the concepts in the article with my middle school students and found while some gained a little more understanding, the activities alone were not enough. They were a good supplement though and added yet one more step to help students understand, and gave me food for thought on how to make stronger connections with students to make the conceptual change occur.

Sandra Gady  (Renton, WA)
Sandra Gady (Renton, WA)


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