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Abstract Title: Probing students' understanding of size and distances in the universe
Abstract: The Introductory Astronomy Questionnaire (IAQ) was translated into Norwegian and given in modified form to (i) 42 pre-service science teachers at the largest teacher-education institution in Norway, before and after instruction of an astronomy module, and (ii) 922 high-school students at different schools in Oslo, the Norwegian capital, 557 of them age 12-13 (before instruction of a physics/astronomy module), and 435 of them age 14-15 (post instruction). This poster presents a ranking task that probed students' understanding of sizes and distances in the universe, along with detailed results. Unexpected findings include significant fractions of high-school students – both before and after instruction – thinking that the radius of the Earth is smaller than the height of the Earth's atmosphere (>55%), that the Pole star is contained within the Solar System (>60%), and that planets are larger than stars (>40%). The pre-service teachers fared better pre-instruction, and also showed more significant gains post-instruction.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Vinesh Rajpaul
University of Oxford (Astrophysics/Merton College)
Merton College
Merton Street
Oxford, Non U.S. OX1 4JD
Phone: +447472969292
and Co-Presenter(s)
Christine Lindstrøm - Oslo and Akershus University College)
Megan Clare Engel - University of Oxford (Astrophysics/Merton College)

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster