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Astronomical Pills one-shot questions about the Universe Francesca Cavallotti Simona Romaniello StefanoSandrelli.

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Presentation on theme: "Astronomical Pills one-shot questions about the Universe Francesca Cavallotti Simona Romaniello StefanoSandrelli."— Presentation transcript:

1 Astronomical Pills one-shot questions about the Universe Francesca Cavallotti Simona Romaniello StefanoSandrelli

2 Evolution (if any) of misconceptions over ages and social-educational factors. GOAL Universe Perception Distances and sizes How gravity works To explore the naive view of the universe developed by youngsters of different ages FOCUS

3 Origin of Misconceptions New (scientific-sense) knowledge modifies itself to fit the pre-existing conceptual scheme. Common-sense framework Scientific-sense framework perception informal language social relationship formal language logical abstraction hypothetical-deductive reasoning Environment Representation

4 By studying misconceptions it is possible to improve educational strategies Modern theories social framework and educational levels other than age are involved. Misconceptions block the way to new learning (contents and reasoning) First analysis on children misconceptions only. Piagets theory: cognitive development by phases. Interaction between cognitive structures and contents play a role.

5 Astronomy is important to highlight several misconceptions and to develop abstraction abilities essential to scientific knowledge Since surveys have been done to investigate misconceptions in teen- ager and adult groups Enter our work…. Misconceptions DO not disappear with age!

6 Test instructions Students were asked to answer questions as quickly as possible to let the spontaneous imaging came out. Questions structure 2 test versions to allow comparison on same topics. open- and closed-answer questions multiple-choice questions with common- sense answers and scientific-sense answers. Sample size >1300 tests in 2 years of school conferences at OAB ( ). 3 age groups: 217 students of yrs (intermediate school) 272 students of yrs (high school first 2 yrs) 841 students of >16 yrs (high school last 3 yrs) Preliminary results on 6 of the entire 10-question test. School type and grade

7 Infinity + Objs Infinity + Adjs Infinity + Objs + Adjs NothingEverything Objects Adjectives Big Space Big Space + Objs Big Space + Adjs yrs yrs > 16 yrs men women tot yrs yrs >16 yrs 44% 46% 56% yrs yrs >16 yrs 14% 6% 7% If I say Universe, what do you think about? Images from the Universe yrs yrs >16 yrs 30% 33% 21%

8 What kind of objects? StarsGalaxiesPlanetsEarth Celestial bodies Sun Moon Living beings Mily Way Sky Light points Constellations yrs yrs > 16 yrs Planets Stars Galaxies men women tot Dark Black Big Huge Cold Matter Hole Bang Cold Dark Matter

9 Images from the Universe Cosmic Box yrs > 16 yrs yrs edge 2 different objects yrs yrs >16 yrs 8% 5% 2% Drawing rate

10 Images from the Universe Solar System yrs > 16 yrs yrs yrs yrs >16 yrs 8% 5% 2% Drawing rate

11 Images from the Universe Empty Expanse yrs yrs >16 yrs 8% 5% 2% Drawing rate yrs yrs > 16 yrs

12 log (step) all ages If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step: how many steps to go to Jupiter? log (step) all ages how many steps to go to the nearest star (other than the Sun)? value rate 22% 20% 12% 14% Values remarkably close to the real one Wide range of answers! Distance and Size in the Universe Solar System as an all-like astronomical box (Dussault, M., 1999, How do visitors understand the Universe? Studies yield information on planning exhibitions and programs, Association of Science-Technology Centers Newsletter)

13 If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step: how many steps to Jupiter? a) about 1 b) about 20 c) about 5 d) more than 100 how many steps to the nearest star (other than the Sun)? a) at least 50 b) at least 500 c) at least 5000 d) at least yrs > 16 yrs yrs > 16 yrs

14 No hierarchy in the Universe Universe Solar System... On the other hand... The following statement is true or false: the Solar System belongs to a galaxy. mentotwomen for all ages From previous questions...

15 Subjects do not understand when discrepancies arise from comparing common- and scientific-sense frameworks until they are forced to combine them in a common framework. Keywords or a specific language form affect answers more than the real knowledge. Language and Framework bias Causes?

16 The gravity force is: a) the force which makes the Sun attracts the Earth b) the force which makes us fall c) the interaction force between two massive bodies d) the energy of a falling body Most people seems to have assimilated the gravity concept. The bigger is age, the higher the rate of c answer. B answer doubles a answer. Gravity perceived as a terrestrial force more than an universal interaction. all ages Formal language affects more students in high school than in the intermediate one. About 10% of d answer. Overlapping of force and energy concepts Use of formal language (e.g. Calcidese, P., 2002, LUniverso che non cè. Preconcetti e misconcezioni degli studenti in età adolescenziale nellambito della fisica e conseguenze sulle idee riferite allorigine ed evoluzione dellUniverso, thesis)

17 all ages Bodies are near spherical because: a) they spin around the Sun b) the sphere is the perfect geometric shape c) they spin around themselves d2) make up your own answer d1) all men stay with feet on the ground and head up The c answer is the most selected. 4 of 5 (14-16) yrs : big mass 8 of 15 (>16 yrs): gravity force The d2 answer collected only the 5%. In particular: NOBODY chose the d1 answer 18% of all ages (only >16 yrs) Variations on the theme: d1 instead of d2 Very few people have assimilated the concept of gravity, Use of informal language

18 Omitting a keyword... What kind of relationship exists between radio waves and gamma rays? a) gamma rays are rays and radio waves are waves b1) are both a type of light, but with different wavelength c) gamma rays do not exist d) gamma rays are faster than radio waves yrs > 16 yrs yrs > 16 yrs The language formalism significantly affects the subjects answers independently on the instruction grade. What kind of relationship exists between radio waves and gamma rays? a) gamma rays are rays and radio wave are waves b2) are both a type of light c) gamma rays do not exist d) gamma rays are faster than radio waves

19 Framework and language introduce strong biases Age and schooling level do not modify the most relevant ideas of Universe Some misconceptions proved to be tough to eradicate and resistant to time Lessons learned AND... The spontaneous imaging does not come out as expected Bias due to testing environment school-like framework? Very short time to read the questions Questions perceived as a school test!

20 Thanks to Stefano Andreon Fabio Governato

21 References Cavallini, G., 1995, La formazione dei concetti scientifici. Senso comune, scienza, apprendimento, Firenze, La nuova Italia Editrice Mayer, M., 1990, Conoscenza scientifica e conoscenza comune. Analisi dellincidenza di fattori scolastici ed extrascolastici nellapprendimento della fisica, Roma, I Quaderni di Villa Falconieri, CEDE Dupré, F., Noce, G., Vicentini-Missoni, M., 1981, Modelli fisici pre-newtoniani nelle conoscenze degli adulti, Scuola e Città, 2, pp Posner, G., Strike, K., Hewson, P., Gerzog, W., 1982, Accomodation of Ascientific Conceptions: Towards Theory of Conceptual Change, Science Education, 2, pp Dussault, M., 1999, How do visitors understand the Universe? Studies yield information on planning exhibitions and programs, Association of Science-Technology Centers Newsletter Viennot, L., 1979, Le raisonnement spontané en dynamique élémentaire, Paris, Hermann Calcidese, P., 2002, LUniverso che non ce. Preconcetti e misconcezioni degli studenti in eta adolescenziale nellambito della fisica e conseguenze sulle idee riferite allorigine ed evoluzione dellUniverso, thesis Gardin, S., 2003, Il passaggio dalla conoscenza ingenua alla conoscenza scientifica accreditata nellinsegnamento dellastronomia, Giornale di Astronomia, 2, pp.28-35

22 all ages 649 If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step: how many steps will you need to go to Jupiter? Distances in the Universe

23 What kind of relationship exists between radio waves and gamma rays? a) gamma rays are rays and radio wave are waves b1) are both light type, but with different wavelength c) gamma rays do not exist d) gamma rays are faster than radio waves yrs yrs > 16 yrs men women tot

24 If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step: how many steps will you need to go to the nearest star (other than the Sun)? yrs yrs > 16 yrs men women tot

25 Adjectives statistic yrs yrs > 16 yrs men women tot

26 If the diameter of Sun was equal to the length of your arm: Earth would be as big as: a) a fly b) a pinhead c) a pepper grain d) an apple Jupiter would be as big as: a) a plum b) a nut c) a fly d) a clenched fist all ages Overestimate Jupiter real size No idea of Earth size


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