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ERIC Number: EJ926471
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-1696-2095
A Qualitative Approach of Modelling Activities for the Notion of Energy
Megalakaki, Olga; Tiberghien, Andree
Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology, v9 n1 p157-182 2011
Introduction: Adopting a conceptual change perspective yields information not only about the organization of students' conceptions and the mechanisms behind their changes, but also about the most effective teaching interventions for promoting conceptual change. In experimental science, modelling constitutes a basic activity for acquiring and using scientific concepts, and a key method for eliciting conceptual change. The aim of this study was to investigate how modelling activities can elicit conceptual changes concerning the notion of energy. Method: 40 students aged 16-17 years, working in pairs had to construct symbolic representations of three materially present experiments ("Battery-bulb", "Falling object" and "Rising object") drawing on a simple model that introduced them to the properties of energy. In order to track changes in their cognitive processes, we defined a number of specific modelling categories. Results: Results showed that students implemented increasingly complex cognitive processes to solve the three problems. Modelling activities enhance the ability to process the material world and the world of theories and models simultaneously, even when there is no isomorphism between the two. Discussion: The modelling activities we administered to students promoted efficient learning, insofar as the conceptual change mechanism was put in place. Solving the three problems allowed students to draw on their prior knowledge but also to develop new knowledge about the material and theoretical worlds. They acquired the ability to process representations simultaneously from concrete and conceptual worlds and to move freely between them, despite their lack of isomorphism. (Contains 1 figure and 4 tables.)
University of Almeria, Education & Psychology I+D+i. Faculty of Psychology Department of Educational and Developmental Psychology, Carretera de Sacramento s/n, 04120 LaCanada de San Urbano, Almeria, Spain. Tel: +34-950-015354; Fax: +34-950-015083; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A