Challenging Students’ Intuitions: The Influence of a Tangible Model of Virus Assembly on Students’ Conceptual Reasoning About the Process of Self-Assembly
2015 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 45, no 5, 663-690 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
A well-ordered biological complex can be formed by the random motion of its components, i.e. self-assemble. This is a concept that incorporates issues that may contradict students’ everyday experiences and intuitions. In previous studies, we have shown that a tangible model of virus self-assembly, used in a group exercise, helps students to grasp the process of self-assembly and in particular the facet “random molecular collision”. The present study investigates how and why the model and the group exercise facilitate students’ learning of this particular facet. The data analysed consist of audio recordings of six group exercises (n = 35 university students) and individual semi-structured interviews (n = 5 university students). The analysis is based on constructivist perspectives of learning, a combination of conceptual change theory and learning with external representations. Qualitative analysis indicates that perceived counterintuitive aspects of the process created a cognitive conflict within learners. The tangible model used in the group exercises facilitated a conceptual change in their understanding of the process. In particular, the tangible model appeared to provide cues and possible explanations and functioned as an “eye-opener” and a “thinking tool”. Lastly, the results show signs of emotions also being important elements for successful accommodation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2015. Vol. 45, no 5, 663-690 p.
Cognitive conflict, Conceptual change, Counterintuitive, Prior knowledge, Selfassembly, Tangible model
Media and Communications Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-112219DOI: 10.1007/s11165-014-9446-6ISI: 000368704200002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-112219DiVA: diva2:764402
ProjectsVisualiseringar som meningsskapande verktyg för kommunikation av molekylär livsvetenskapVisMolLS
FunderSwedish Research Council, VR 2008–5077