Title: Combined development of middle school children's conceptual understanding in momentum conservation, procedural skills and epistemological awareness in a constructionist learning environment

Authors: Marios Papaevripidou, Marietta Hadjiagapiou, Constantinos P. Constantinou

Addresses: Department of Educational Sciences, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, Nicosia 1678, Cyprus. ' Department of Educational Sciences, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, Nicosia 1678, Cyprus. ' Department of Educational Sciences, University of Cyprus, P.O. Box 20537, Nicosia 1678, Cyprus

Abstract: 1D collisions are part of the curriculum for 15–16 year olds in the educational system of Cyprus. The curriculum activities in this domain commonly rely on a mathematical approach and are constrained by prerequisite algebraic skills. Conservation laws have the broadest possible application of all laws in physics and are thus considered by many scientists to be the most fundamental laws in our representations of nature. However, they are currently presented in the educational system in a very didactic manner with the result that students identify them as meaningless algorithms to be implemented in working out a solution as to the outcome of a collision. In this paper, we focus on the design of inquiry based curriculum that aims to help 13 and 14 year olds to foster conceptual understanding and modelling skills in an integrated manner in the domain of 1D collisions. Through the model-based curriculum students are also expected to appreciate the important role of conservation laws in science as a fundamental principle in analysing process end states. We will also present some preliminary pre-test results related to our threefold objective.

Keywords: 1D collisions; modelling; conceptual understanding; epistemological awareness; computer programming tools; learning environments; secondary education; Cyprus; conservation laws; physics education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.2005.006795

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2005 Vol.15 No.1/2, pp.95 - 107

Published online: 15 Apr 2005 *

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