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ERIC Number: EJ1000613
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Apr
Pages: 19
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0157-244X
How to Measure Qualitative Understanding of DC-Circuit Phenomena--Taking a Closer Look at the External Representations of 9-Year-Olds
Kallunki, Veera
Research in Science Education, v43 n2 p827-845 Apr 2013
Pupils' qualitative understanding of DC-circuit phenomena is reported to be weak. In numerous research reports lists of problems in understanding the functioning of simple DC-circuits have been presented. So-called mental model surveys have uncovered difficulties in different age groups, and in different phases of instruction. In this study, the concept of qualitative understanding, and the content or position of reported mental models of DC-circuit phenomena are discussed. On the grounds of this review, new tools for investigating qualitative understanding and analysing external representations of DC-circuit phenomena are presented. According to this approach, the external representations of DC-circuit phenomena that describe pupils' expressed conceptions of the topic should include both empirical-based models and theoretical explanations. In the empirical part of this study, third-graders (9-year-olds) learning DC-circuit phenomena in a comprehensive school in a small group were scrutinised. The focus of the study is the external representations manifested in the talk of the small group. The study challenges earlier studies, which claim that children exhibit a wide range of qualitative difficulties when learning DC-circuit phenomena. In this study it will be shown that even in the case of abstract subject matter like DC-circuit phenomena, small groups that highlight empirical-based modelling and activate talk can be a fruitful learning environment, where pupils' qualitative understanding really develops. Thus, the study proposes taking a closer look at pupils' external representations concerning DC-circuit phenomena.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: District of Columbia