Development and validation of a learning progression for change of seasons, solar and lunar eclipses, and moon phases

Testa, Italo and Galano, Silvia and Leccia, Silvio and Puddu, Emanuella (2015) Development and validation of a learning progression for change of seasons, solar and lunar eclipses, and moon phases. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 11 (2). ISSN 2469-9896

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Official URL: https://journals.aps.org/prper/abstract/10.1103/Ph...

Abstract

In this paper, we report about the development and validation of a learning progression about the Celestial Motion big idea. Existing curricula, research studies on alternative conceptions about these phenomena, and students’ answers to an open questionnaire were the starting point to develop initial learning progressions about change of seasons, solar and lunar eclipses, and Moon phases; then, a two-tier multiple choice questionnaire was designed to validate and improve them. The questionnaire was submitted to about 300 secondary students of different school levels (14 to 18 years old). Item response analysis and curve integral method were used to revise the hypothesized learning progressions. Findings support that spatial reasoning is a key cognitive factor for building an explanatory framework for the Celestial Motion big idea, but also suggest that causal reasoning based on physics mechanisms underlying the phenomena, as light flux laws or energy transfers, may significantly impact a students’ understanding. As an implication of the study, we propose that the teaching of the three discussed astronomy phenomena should follow a single teaching-learning path along the following sequence: (i) emphasize from the beginning the geometrical aspects of the Sun-Moon-Earth system motion; (ii) clarify consequences of the motion of the Sun-Moon-Earth system, as the changing solar radiation flow on the surface of Earth during the revolution around the Sun; (iii) help students moving between different reference systems (Earth and space observer’s perspective) to understand how Earth’s rotation and revolution can change the appearance of the Sun and Moon. Instructional and methodological implications are also briefly discussed.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Mr Saeed Salimpour
Date Deposited: 12 May 2017 05:16
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:25
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/787

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