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ERIC Number: ED511820
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 10
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Does Hot Water Freeze Faster Than Cold? Or Why Mpemba's Ice Cream Is a Discrepant Event
Palmer, Bill
Online Submission
A discrepant event is a happening contrary to our current beliefs. Discrepant events are said to be useful in clarifying concepts. This is one of the interesting features of current theories of constructivism. The story of Mpemba's ice cream is quite well known, but it is the educational aspects of the experiment that are of interest in this story. Mpemba was a Tanzanian school boy, who was passionate about knowing the reason for his unexpected observations. His teacher made fun of him rather than carrying out the experiment and eventually a university lecturer listened to him and carried out the experiments. The paper focuses on the educational aspects of this experiment. The positive message is that although discrepant events are contrary to our current beliefs, they are useful in enabling learners to reconstruct concepts that have been imperfectly understood. The experimental observation is that if approximately equal amounts of a hot and a cold liquid are placed adjacent to each other in a fridge, then the hot liquid freezes first. This is a prime example of what science educators call a discrepant event (cognitive dissonance or cognitive conflict). [This article was published in "The Journal of the Science Teacher Association of the Northern Territory," v12 p42-50 1993.]
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A