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ERIC Number: EJ1208610
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2019
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1089-9995
Mapping the Increasing Sophistication of Students' Understandings of Plate Tectonics: A Learning Progressions Approach
McDonald, Scott; Bateman, Kathryn; Gall, Helen; Tanis-Ozcelik, Arzu; Webb, Aubree; Furman, Tanya
Journal of Geoscience Education, v67 n1 p83-96 2019
Plate tectonics is the organizing paradigm of geosciences, but it is also conceptually complex, and students often struggle with developing a system level understanding of the earth. This article reports on research designed to create a characterization of the different levels of sophistication around plate tectonics in the form of a learning progression for middle grades (grades 6--9). A learning progression is an educational research construct that can guide curriculum, assessment, and instruction by creating a description not just of students' misunderstandings but of a sequential pattern of increasingly sophisticated and productive student conceptions. This article reports on research findings from a 7-year National Science Foundation-funded project focused on the teaching and learning of earth and space science, which engaged in hundreds of conceptual interviews with students in diverse contexts across the state of Pennsylvania. This article focuses on the implications for higher education faculty in geosciences with regard to the preparation of students, the likely alternative conceptions they may hold, and hence instructional approaches to help their ideas mature toward a normative scientific understanding.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Grade 7; Junior High Schools; Secondary Education; Grade 8; Grade 9; High Schools; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania (Philadelphia); Pennsylvania