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ERIC Number: ED566931
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-May
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1040-726X
Using Relational Reasoning to Learn about Scientific Phenomena at Unfamiliar Scales
Resnick, Ilyse; Davatzes, Alexandra; Newcombe, Nora S.; Shipley, Thomas F.
Grantee Submission, Educational Psychology Review 2016
Many scientific theories and discoveries involve reasoning about extreme scales, removed from human experience, such as time in geology, size in nanoscience. Thus, understanding scale is central to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Unfortunately, novices have trouble understanding and comparing sizes of unfamiliar large and small magnitudes. Relational reasoning is a promising tool to bridge the gap between direct experience and phenomena at extreme scales. However, instruction does not always improve understanding, and analogies can fail to bring about conceptual change, and even mislead students. Here we review how people reason about phenomena across scales, in three sections: (a) we develop a framework for how relational reasoning supports understanding extreme scales; (b) we identify cognitive barriers to aligning human and extreme scales; (c) we outline a theory-based approach to teaching scale information using relational reasoning, present two successful learning activities, and consider the role of a unified scale instruction across STEM education. [At the time of submission to ERIC this article was in press with "Educational Psychology Review."]
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305B130012; SBE0541957; SBE1041707