Year 8 students' understanding of astronomy as a representational issue : insights from a classroom video study
Hubber, Peter 2009, Year 8 students' understanding of astronomy as a representational issue : insights from a classroom video study, in GIREP-EPEC & PHEC 2009 : Proceedings of the GIREP-EPEC & PHEC International Conference : Community and cooperation, University of Leicester, Leicester, England, pp. 1-15.
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GIREP-EPEC & PHEC 2009 : Proceedings of the GIREP-EPEC & PHEC International Conference : Community and cooperation
University of Leicester
Place of publication
The research described in this paper argues that difficulties of leaming science concepts such as those associated with processes involving the Sun, Moon and Earth, such as day and night, the seasons and phases of the moon, are fundamentally representational in nature. There is a need for learners to use their own representational, cultural and cognitive resources to engage with the subject-specific representational practices of science. From this perspective students need to understand and conceptually integrate different representational modalities or forms in learning science and reasoning in science. The researchers worked with two experienced teachers in planning a teaching sequence in astronomy using a teaching approach that highlight representational issues and options in helping students explore and develop key conceptual understandings. Classroom sequences involving the two teachers were videotaped using a combined focus on the teacher and groups of students. Video analysis software was used to capture the variety of representations used, and sequences of representational negotiation. From a pedagogical perspective the representational approach placed a significant agency in the hands of students which resulted in structured discussions around conceptual problems. Representations were used as tools for reasoning and communication to drive classroom discussions and develop higher levels of understanding in the students. The pre- and post-testing showed significant gains in students thinking from naive to more scientific understandings of astronomy.
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Field of Research
130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
Socio Economic Objective
HERDC Research category
E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed
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