June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Educational Research and Methods
26.858.1 - 26.858.35
How Misconceptions Might be Repaired through Inquiry Based ActivitiesAlthough widespread in STEM disciplines, traditional instructional methods typically have littlesuccess at producing robust conceptual understanding in students. Nearly 7700 studies in STEMeducation research literature reported on student alternative conceptions. Growing evidence alsoshows that aligning these naïve conceptions to more expert conceptual understanding requiresmore than just pointing out the difference in passing during lecture. An approach that showspromise is inquiry-based instruction. By presenting students with a physical situation and askingthem to predict what will happen, they can then investigate the situation on their own byexperimenting with the laboratory modules. In this way the physical world is now the “authority”rather than the instructor.In this paper, the efficacy of inquiry-based activities used in undergraduate dynamics is explored.This course is often cited as one of the most challenging engineering courses in the curriculum,and many of the topics are in direct conflict with students’ perception of the world around them.An exploratory qualitative study was pursued using a small sample of undergraduate studentstaking a course in dynamics. The students participated in an individual inquiry-based activity thatexamined the relationship between force, mass and acceleration in systems of pulleys. Thestudents were asked to make predictions and explain their reasoning throughout the exercise by“thinking” aloud. Video recordings of students’ engagement were collected and the discoursewas coded as a series of concept maps. The purpose was to look at the student’s existingconcepts and links and how they evolve as the student is exposed to different cases. We alsowanted to understand why their concept maps evolve the way they evolve. By doing this, wedetermined if and when the students had their “ah hah” moment and the path that students take toget there. Our study goes in-depth by trying to determine exactly why the inquiry-based modulesmight work or not. The analysis model developed for this study will possibly serve as a modelfor similar inquiry-based activities in different engineering fields to help evaluate their success.Furthermore, this work could also help broadly in the design of new inquiry-based activities thatincorporate more of the knowledge available in the literature.
Adam, G. C., & Self, B. P., & Widmann, J. M., & Coburn, A., & Saoud, B. N. (2015, June), How Misconceptions Might be Repaired Through Inquiry-Based Activities Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24195
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