Explorations in Physics: An Activity-Based Approach to Understanding the World
ABSTRACT Helps students to:
Increase their scientific literacy and improve their critical thinking
acquire mastery of a diverse subset of scientific concepts.
develop positive attitudes about science.
become comfortable reading graphs and interpreting their
learn to use computers and other modern technologies with skill and
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ABSTRACT: For the phenomena of floating and sinking, although they are parts of everyday students’ experiences, it is not easy for them to construct spontaneously feasible explanatory schemes. The results of educational research show that students hold, regarding to these phenomena, explanatory schemes which are monocausal (floating and sinking are due to only one cause, frequently related to the weight or other property of the body), while scientific explanation is polycuasal (floating and sinking of bodies is due to the relationship between the intensities of two opposite forces: weight of the body and buoyant force of the liquid). In this article we report (1) explanatory schemes sustained by students regarding hydrostatic behavior of small bottle in simple situation (bottle floats in water and sinks in oil) and (2) predictive and explanatory schemes of its hydrostatic behavior in a complex situation (the same bottle in water and oil). Similarly as students of primary and junior-high school, high-school students use basically monocausal schemes and are not able to elaborate polycausal schemes, even in the complex situation. Nevertheless, after they have known the hydrostatic behavior of the bottle in the complex situation, it is possible to note favorable changes in students ideas. These changes, in more sophisticated didactic designs and with major time investment, might be a base for a development toward the schemes which are nearer to explanatory schemes accepted by scientists.Latin-American Journal of Physics Education. 01/2010;
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ABSTRACT: In this article we present the results of activities, based on formulation and falsification of hypotheses (the essence of scientific method) by secondary school students, which show the possibility of accelerated development of student’s cognition. With this aim, a multi-part classroom activity was designed in which the students, in personal and group mode, had to consider the veracity of different affirmation about the causes of flotation of the bodies (for example, the bodies float because they weigh little). Taking into account the results from formulations of initial and final hypotheses about the flotation of bodies, and also from falsifications carried out in the classroom, it was possible to demonstrate that active teaching of sciences produces a significant development of the ability to evaluate and verify experimentally he veracity of one hypothesis. A conceptual change in students’ conceptions on flotation was observed, too.Latin-American Journal of Physics Education. 01/2007;
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ABSTRACT: The principles of magnetism are a common topic in most introductory physics courses, yet curricular materials exploring the behavior of permanent magnets and magnetic materials are surprisingly rare in the literature. We reviewed the literature to see how magnetism is typically covered in introductory textbooks and curricula. We found that while most texts contain a relatively complete description of magnetism and its relation to current-carrying wires, few devote much space to the development of a model that explains the magnetic phenomena students are most familiar with, e.g., the interaction between permanent magnets and ferromagnetic materials.1 We also found that while there are a wide variety of published articles exploring the various principles of magnetic induction, only a few of these explore the basic interactions between common magnets, ferromagnetic materials, and current-carrying wires.2,3 The activities described in this paper were designed to provide a structured series of simple experiments to help students develop a model of magnetism capable of explaining these phenomena.The Physics Teacher 01/2007; 45(7):425-429.