Massive – the concepts of size and scale addressed by out-of-school learning
In the light of the new curriculum, this study describes how grade 7 and 8 students in South Africa engaged with the notion of size and scale in the Solar System and beyond before, during and after a visit to an astronomy science centre. Using a combination of concept maps, observations and interviews, results indicate that, despite contrary suggestions in the literature, students aged 13- to 15-years are able to improve their conceptions from naïve and conflicting knowledge to a more scientific understanding of mass, size and distance after their visit. The paper argues that a combination of related, themed experiences related to size and scale can account for the improvement, and recommends that such activities should be explicitly promoted at science centres.
Lelliott, A. D. (2008). Massive – the concepts of size and scale addressed by out-of-school learning. Proceedings of the 16th Annual SAARMSTE Conference, University of Lesotho