ERIC Number: ED342629
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jul
Learning in a Non-Physical Science Domain: The Human Circulatory System.
Chi, Michelene T. H.; And Others
This research explores the moment-by-moment understanding students exhibit in the learning of a non-physical science domain--the human circulatory system. The goal was to understand how students learn by capturing the nature of their initial mental models (naive conceptions), and by seeing how new information gets assimilated into their mental models and how their mental models get revised in order to achieve the correct conception. This study reveals that certain misconceptions about the human circulatory system are robust and persistent, but that middle school students are capable of understanding some important aspects of the circulatory system and are then able to modify their existing misconceptions with better and more coherent views. Three major results were found. First, there is a fundamental difference between the physical and the non-physical sciences in terms of how they are learned. Second, aside from historically held misconceptions, which were identified a priori and formulated into questions, the analyses revealed each student's unique set of misconceptions. Third, all 10 students learned the material and although there was a significant difference in the range of the gain scores across the 10 students, such differences were not found to be a function of ability. (30 references) (KR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New York, NY.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Pittsburgh Univ., PA. Learning Research and Development Center.