Teaching astronomy for pre-service elementary teachers:
A comparison of methods
This study investigates the effect of text structure and “hands-on” methods in the acquisition of the concepts of moon phases and seasons for pre-service elementary teachers. The goal is to evaluate the most appropriate method for facilitating conceptual change. The presentation of two main misconceptions associated with each concept (moon phases and seasons) is tested. Sixty pre-service elementary teachers are divided into three same size experimental groups after a pre-test on their knowledge about astronomy: one group read a simple expository text that presents factual information about seasons and moon phases, another group read a refutation text that moreover presents explicitly two main and usual misconceptions about each concept and arguments to refute them; the last group participates to a refutation modelling activity by testing, for each concept, three hypothesis: the scientific explanation and the two common misconceptions. The hands-on method is used as a way to refute the pre-conceptions thanks to a collaborative activity in small groups.
Frède, V. 2008, Advances in Space Research, 42(11), p.1819–1830