Challenging students' intuitive expectations - an analysis of students reasoning around a tangible model of virus assembly
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
How can a well-ordered biological complex be formed by the random motion of its components, i.e. self-assemble? This is a concept that is counter to human intuitive expectations derived from prior knowledge and experience. In previous studies we have shown that a tangible model of virus selfassembly, used as a thinking-tool in a group-exercise, helps students to grasp the process of selfassembly, particularly the facet random molecular collision. The present study investigates how and why the model facilitates students’ acceptance of new concepts and learning. The data analysed consist of audio-recordings of six group exercises and five individual semi-structured interviews, in which 35 university students from Sweden and South Africa participated. Qualitative analysis indicates that the students’ prior knowledge, prior conceptual understanding and intuitive ideas, influenced their meaning-making of the molecular process of self-assembly. Moreover, the counterintuitive aspects of the process created a conceptual conflict within the learners, and both the tangible model and group exercises facilitated a conceptual change in their understanding of the process. Lastly, the data indicate that students’ emotional state is significant for their successful accommodation of the counter-intuitive aspects of self-assembly. The analysis is based on a combination of constructivist perspectives of learning, conceptual change theory, and learning with external representations.
Conceptual conflict, counter-intuitive, tangible model, hands-on model, conceptual change, self-assembly
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-91367OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-91367DiVA: diva2:617381
Del av avhandling2013-04-232013-04-232016-05-04Bibliographically approved