Understanding of gravity

Gunstone, Richard F. and White, Richard T. (1981) Understanding of gravity. Science Education, 65 (3). ISSN 1098-237X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.3730650308

Abstract

We investigated the knowledge of gravity possessed by first-year physics students at Monash University. Since the investigation took place in the first week of the 1980 lecture year, and the students had not had time to be affected by the university instruction, they can be taken as representatives of the complete range of schools in the State of Victoria, together with a few from interstate and a more substantial number from Malaysia. The context of the investigation is a series of studies and theoretical papers concerned with learning, particularly of the sciences, going back to validation of learning hierarchies (White, 1974), the use of hierarchies to ensure achievement of intellectual skills (Trembath & White, 1975), the specification of different types of elements in memory (Gagne & White, 1978), the description of a model of cognitive processes (White, 1977), and the distinction of achievement, proficiency, and mastery as levels of outcomes (White, 1979a). Within this context, recent attention has heen given to developing methods of probing understanding (White, 1979b), which include both individual interviews and techniques which can be used with large numbers of participants. The present investigation belongs to the latter class. It relies on presenting participants with a physical situation, asking them to make a prediction about what will happen if a certain action is taken, then demonstrating the action and requiring the participants to observe it and explain any discrepancy with their prediction. This procedure was developed at the University of Pittsburgh (Champagne, Klopfer, & Anderson, 1979). The immediate purpose of the investigation is evaluation of a state of affairs: to see how things stand in Victoria with respect to understanding of gravity and related principles of mechanics. As well as being of interest in their own right, the results will influence future development of the theoretical and empirical context outlined earlier, though this aspect will not be touched on further in this paper.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2018 11:34
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2018 05:17
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/1924

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