University of Cambridge > Talks.cam >  Mathematics Education Research Group (MERG)  > Making sense of making sense: A microgenetic multiple case study of five students’ developing conceptual compounds related to physics

Making sense of making sense: A microgenetic multiple case study of five students’ developing conceptual compounds related to physics

Add to your list(s) Download to your calendar using vCal

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Ann Waterman.

Tea and coffee on arrival

My thesis arose from a comment made by a student who had achieved highly in examinations yet felt that science: ‘doesn’t make sense’. Therefore, I analysed different conceptualisations of learning to develop the concept of making sense as the formation or modification of a conceptual compound (a system of two or more concepts) in which concepts are related in a coherent causal system that may be transferred to novel situations. This definition is situated within a constructivist epistemology. The research question asked how students make sense of physics concepts related to dynamics and electricity. Five 16-17 year old students, conceptualised as a multiple case study, were selected from an English secondary school using purposeful sampling. The students were interviewed once a week for twenty-two weeks in sessions using a range of probes such as interviews about instances, concept maps and concept inventory questions. It is assumed that data collection occurred at a frequency that was high relative to the rate of conceptual change hence the work is seen as microgenetic. The analysis focused on the development of the students’: a) ontologies of concepts from concrete instances towards abstractions; b) conceptual compounds from temporary organisations to more stable structures; c) understanding of causality from focused on macroscopic objects to abstract concepts; d) judgments of coherence; e) ability to apply concepts to novel contexts; and f) the proposition of a model of conceptual change as an alteration in the frequency of application of a concept in a given context. The implications of these findings for science teaching are discussed.

This talk is part of the Mathematics Education Research Group (MERG) series.

Tell a friend about this talk:

This talk is included in these lists:

Note that ex-directory lists are not shown.

 

© 2006-2020 Talks.cam, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity