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ERIC Number: EJ1063946
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Development of a Learning Progression for the Formation of the Solar System
Plummer, Julia D.; Palma, Christopher; Flarend, Alice; Rubin, KeriAnn; Ong, Yann Shiou; Botzer, Brandon; McDonald, Scott; Furman, Tanya
International Journal of Science Education, v37 n9 p1381-1401 2015
This study describes the process of defining a hypothetical learning progression (LP) for astronomy around the big idea of "Solar System formation." At the most sophisticated level, students can explain how the formation process led to the current Solar System by considering how the planets formed from the collapse of a rotating cloud of gas and dust. Development of this LP was conducted in 2 phases. First, we interviewed middle school, high school, and college students (N?=?44), asking them to describe properties of the current Solar System and to explain how the Solar System was formed. Second, we interviewed 6th-grade students (N?=?24) before and after a 15-week astronomy curriculum designed around the big idea. Our analysis provides evidence for potential levels of sophistication within the hypothetical LP, while also revealing common alternative conceptions or areas of limited understanding that could form barriers to progress if not addressed by instruction. For example, many students' understanding of Solar System phenomena was limited by either alternative ideas about gravity or limited application of momentum in their explanations. Few students approached a scientific-level explanation, but their responses revealed possible stepping stones that could be built upon with appropriate instruction.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; High Schools; Grade 9; Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE#0962792