ERIC Number: ED306100
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Variable Uses of Alternative Conceptions: A Case Study in Current Electricity.
Heller, Patricia; Finley, Fred
In order to investigate the nature of students' prior knowledge of current electricity and how they applied their knowledge to different problems, 5 middle school science teachers and 11 elementary school teachers were given a written test that required them to: (1) predict what happens to the brightness of a bulb if a change is made to the circuit (a bulb is shorted or a second bulb is added in series or parallel); (2) compare the brightness of two bulbs in the same circuit; (3) compare the brightness of bulbs in different circuits; (4) compare the amount of current at different points in a series of parallel circuits; and (5) explain their reasoning for each question. The responses of the teachers were analyzed to determine the propositions they used for solving the problems and a matrix was formed of core propositions by subjects. From this matrix it was possible to determine the core propositions common to all teachers, as well as patterns of the different propositions held by different teachers. The results supported expectations about the nature of students' prior knowledge, how it is applied, and its application to the task of designing instruction for these students. (MVL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (62nd, San Francisco, CA, March 30-April 1, 1989).