NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1021893
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
The Use of Thought Experiments in Teaching Physics to Upper Secondary-Level Students: Two Examples from the Theory of Relativity
Velentzas, Athanasios; Halkia, Krystallia
International Journal of Science Education, v35 n18 p3026-3049 2013
The present study focuses on the way thought experiments (TEs) can be used as didactical tools in teaching physics to upper secondary-level students. A qualitative study was designed to investigate to what extent the TEs called "Einstein's elevator" and "Einstein's train" can function as tools in teaching basic concepts of the theory of relativity to upper secondary-level students. The above TEs were used in the form they are presented by Einstein himself and by Landau and Rumer in books that popularize theories of physics. The research sample consisted of 40 Greek students, divided into 11 groups of three to four students each. The findings of this study reveal that the use of TEs in teaching the theory of relativity can help students realize situations which refer to a world beyond their everyday experience and develop syllogisms according to the theory. In this way, students can grasp physics laws and principles which demand a high degree of abstract thinking, such as the principle of equivalence and the consequences of the constancy of the speed of light to concepts of time and space.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Greece
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A