Using astronomical photographs to investigate misconceptions about galaxies and spectra: Question development for clicker use
Many topics in introductory astronomy at the college or high-school level rely implicitly on using astronomical photographs and visual data in class. However, students bring many preconceptions to their understanding of these materials that ultimately lead to misconceptions, and research about students’ interpretation of astronomical images has been scarcely conducted. In this study we probed college students’ understanding of astronomical photographs and visual data about galaxies and spectra, and developed a set of concept questions based on their common misconceptions. The study was conducted mainly in three successive surveys: (i) open-ended questions looking for students’ ideas and common misconceptions, (ii) combined multiple-choice and open-ended questions seeking to explore student reasoning and to improve concept questions for clickers, and (iii) a finalized version of the concept questions used to investigate the strength of each misconception among the students in introductory astronomy courses. This study reports on the procedures and the development of the concept questions with the investigated common misconceptions about galaxies and spectra. We also provide the set of developed questions for teachers and instructors seeking to implement in their classes for the purpose of formative assessment with the use of classroom response systems. These questions would help them recognize the gap between their teaching and students’ understanding, and ultimately improve teaching of the concepts.
Lee, H., & Schneider, S. E. (2015). Using astronomical photographs to investigate misconceptions about galaxies and spectra: Question development for clicker use. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 11(2), 020101. https://doi.org/