An assessment of certain skills possessed by fifth-grade students used to successfully identify constellations in a planetarium
The study was stimulated by the pressing need to determine how students learn to identify constellations. This was deemed important since a large portion of time in each planetarium presentation made to school groups is usually devoted to identifying constellations which are visible that evening in the real sky. The purpose of this study was to construct a diagnostic test, made up of five subtests, to determine if fifth-grade students can demonstrate those particular skills that an in dividual must have in order to learn constellations, that is to be able to: 1. discriminate between the brightnesses of stars; 2. orientate himself relative to a given direction; 3. measure angular distances in the sky; 4. recognize a constellation against the background of the sky; and 5. detect relative changes of position of various star groups during observation, and 6. use a star chart to locate an object in the sky. A forty-eight question examination ( Planetarium Skills Evaluation Test) was constructed to be administered individually in the planetarium to test a fifth-grade student's understanding of these major areas. After an eye test for visual acuity, the subject was administered the Classroom Indirect Measurement Instrument. The purpose of this instrument was to provide a means of comparing planetarium performance of skills associated with constellation identification with the results of the classroom instrument. The Classroom Indirect Measurement Instrument was developed from available educational instruments or procedures accepted as being able to measure constellation identification skills. After a short break, the examinee was given the Planetarium Skills Evaluation Test. The test was administered orally. During the entire test the examinees proceeded at their own rate, except where time limits were set for specific tests. An average time of one hour and ten minutes was required by the examinees to complete the entire testing session. The planetarium employed in this study was located in the Legg Junior High School in Coldwater, Michigan. The sample subjects were drawn from the total fifth- grade enrollment of students in seven elementary schools in Coldwater, Michigan. All subjects used in this investigation had visited the planetarium at least once prior to their testing session. The total sample was 120. Twenty of these subjects were involved in the testing of the trial version of the test.
Bondurandt Jr., R. L. (1975). An assessment of certain skills possessed by fifth-grade students used to successfully identify constellations in a planetarium. PhD. Dissertation. Michigan State University, USA
Type of Publication
Bondurandt Jr., Russell L.
Michigan State University
College of Education, Michigan State University
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America