Investigating Student Ideas About Cosmology III: Big Bang Theory, Expansion, Age, and History of the Universe
We have undertaken a multi-semester study of student ideas in an undergraduate general education astronomy integrated lecture and lab course with a focus on active learning at an urban, minority serving institution. We collected individual interviews (N¼15) and course artifacts (N�60), such as pre-course homework essays and midterm and final exam questions in a variety of formats. Continuing our work from a previous study (Coble et al. 2013), here we examine student ideas with regard to the Big Bang Theory, expansion, age, and history of the Universe. We find that a significant fraction of students hold alternate conceptions, including: the Big Bang Theory describes the creation of planets and/or our Solar System; the “Big Bang” refers to an explosion within a small point or mass; there is no evidence in support of the Big Bang Theory; the Universe has always existed; and stars, galaxies, and/or planets formed at the same time or very soon after the creation of the Universe.
Trouille, L. E., Coble, K., Cochran, G. L., Bailey, J. M., Camarillo, C. T., Nickerson, M. D., & Cominsky, L. R. (2013). Investigating Student Ideas About Cosmology III: Big Bang Theory, Expansion, Age, and History of the Universe. Astronomy Education Rev