Design and development of a learning progression about stellar structure and evolution

Colantonio, Arturo and Galano, Silvia and Leccia, Silvio and Puddu, Emanuella and Testa, Italo (2018) Design and development of a learning progression about stellar structure and evolution. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 14 (1). ISSN 2469-9896

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[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Astronomy Education Research.] In this paper we discuss the design and development of a learning progression (LP) to describe and interpret students’ understanding about stellar structure and evolution (SSE). The LP is built upon three content dimensions: hydrostatic equilibrium; composition and aggregation state; functioning and evolution. The data to build up the levels of the hypothetical LP (LP1) came from a 45-minute, seven-question interview, with 33 high school students previously taught about the topic. The questions were adapted from an existing multiple-choice instrument. Data were analyzed using Minstrell’s “facets” approach. To assess the validity of LP1, we designed a twelve-hour teaching module featuring paper-and-pencil tasks and practical activities to estimate the stellar structure and evolution parameters. Twenty high school students were interviewed before and after the activities using the same interview protocol. Results informed a revision of LP1 (LP2) and, in parallel, of the module. The revised module included supplementary activities corresponding to changes made to LP1. We then assessed LP2 with 30 high school students through the same interview, submitted before and after the teaching intervention. A final version of the LP (LP3) was then developed drawing on students’ emerging reasoning strategies. This paper contributes to research in science education by providing an example of the iterative development of the instruction required to support the student thinking that LPs’ levels describe. Concerning astronomy education research, our findings can inform suitable instructional activities more responsive to students’ reasoning strategies about stellar structure and evolution.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2018 04:58
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:25

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