New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Exploring the Astronomical Knowledge of Italian Students: Surveying Middle Schools and Informal Courses

Sandro Bardelli, INAF-Osservatorio di Astrofisica e Scienza dello Spazio - Bologna (Italy)

Angelo Adamo, INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo (Italy)

Abstract

Kids receive most of their astronomical knowledge through three fonts: formal educations (schools), informal education (laboratories,scientific festivals and other out-school activities) and from TV, cinema movies and documentaries. In the first case, students have to learn astronomy from certified  fonts (school books and others teaching tools) and their knowledge is verified by teachers. However, for younger students, deep competence of teachers in a specific topics of science is not usually requested. In the second case the situation is less homogeneous. Informal education is located in scientific structures (Universities, Planetarium, Observatories), scientific festivals or dedicated structures for science outreach and it is lead by researchers (with little if any educational preparation) or by members of associations for scientific popularization. The skills of these members vary a lot since one can found teachers, university or high school students or experts, that in the case of Astronomy are in numerous cases amateur astronomers. Moreover, an important source of informal education is found on internet, where one can found numerous science outreach blogs, facebook and web site. In this latter case the quality of fonts is very hard to evaluate. The aim of this work is to explore the astronomy knowledge and misconceptions in students of age range of about 10-13 and to compare two types of  students: one attending only regular school lessons and the others attending also informal education. We tested the hypothesis that latter students are more motivated to go deeply in their astronomical education and should have a more precise astronomical knowledge. Data have been collected form 2014 to 2017 and the final sample regarded 1017 students. We proposed questionnaires with questions about Black Holes, Star life, Seasons and Moon phases.

Keywords: Astronomy, misconceptions,  Informal Education, School;

References

[1] Favia A., Comins N.N., Thorpe G.L., Batuski,  D.J  (2014)  A direct examination of college student misconceptions in astronomy: a new instrument,    J.Rev.Astron.Educ.Outreac., 1, N.1 A21
[2] Favia, A., Comins, N.N., Thorpe, G.L. (2015)  A direct examination of college student misconceptions in astronomy: II validity of the astronomy belief inventory J.Rev.Astron.Educ.Outreac}, 1, N. 3, A3
[3] Calvente,  A., Sandrelli, S., and Gil A., (2007)  Misconception in Astronomy Communicating Astronomy with the public,  pag.264
[4] Sadler, P.M., (1998)  Psychometric Models of Student Conceptions in Science:Reconciling Qualitative Studies and Distractor-Driven
[5] Assessment Instruments, Journal of Reseach in ScienceTeaching, vol. 35 pag 265.
 

 

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