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Abstract Title: The Big Ideas in Cosmology: Investigating Student Understanding and Developing a Research-Based Curriculum
Abstract: Powerful new observations and advances in computation and visualization have led to a revolution in our understanding of the structure, composition, and evolution of the universe. These gains have been vast, but their impact on education has been limited. Determining the range and frequency of "alternative conceptions" is an important first step to improving instructional effectiveness. Through analysis of pre-instructional open-ended surveys (N ~ 1250), follow-up interviews, and other assessments, our research group has been classifying students' ideas about concepts important to modern cosmology, including the distances, structure, composition, age, expansion, and evolution of the universe. Informed by our research on student learning, we have created a series of web-based cosmology learning modules in which students master the scientific concepts and reasoning processes that lead to our current understanding of the universe, through interactive tasks, prediction and reflection, experimentation, and model building.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Kim Coble
Chicago State University
9501 South King Dr.
Dept. of Chemistry and Physics
Chicago, IL 60628
Phone: 773-203-5363
and Co-Presenter(s)
J. M. Bailey (University of Nevada Las Vegas), L. Trouille (Northwestern University), C. Camarillo (Chicago State University), M. Nickerson (Chicago State University), G. L. Cochran (Florida International University), A. J. Metevier (Sonoma State University), K. M. McLin (Sonoma State University), L. R. Cominsky (Sonoma State University)