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TALK - Communicating Astronomy With The Public

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TALK - Communicating Astronomy With The Public
Astronomical Pills
one-shot questions about the Universe
Francesca Cavallotti
Simona Romaniello
StefanoSandrelli
GOAL
To explore the naive view of the universe
developed by youngsters of different ages
Evolution (if any) of misconceptions over ages
and social-educational factors.
FOCUS
Universe Perception
Distances and sizes
How gravity works
Environment Representation
informal
language
perception
Common-sense
framework
social
relationship
logical
abstraction
formal
language
Scientific-sense
framework
hypothetical-deductive
reasoning
Origin of Misconceptions
New (scientific-sense) knowledge modifies itself
to fit the pre-existing conceptual scheme.
Misconceptions block the way to new learning
(contents and reasoning)
By studying misconceptions it is possible to
improve educational strategies
First analysis on children’ misconceptions only.
Piaget’s theory: cognitive development by phases.
Modern theories
social framework and educational levels other than
age are involved.
Interaction between cognitive structures and contents
play a role.
Misconceptions DO not disappear with age!
Since 1970-80 surveys have been done
to investigate misconceptions in teenager and adult groups
Astronomy is important to highlight several
misconceptions and to develop abstraction
abilities essential to scientific knowledge
Enter our work….
Sample size
>1300 tests in 2 years of school
conferences at OAB (2003-2005).
3 age groups:
217 students of 13-14 yrs (intermediate
school)
272 students of 14-16 yrs (high school
first 2 yrs)
841 students of >16 yrs (high school last
3 yrs)
Test instructions
Students were asked to
answer questions as quickly as
possible to let the spontaneous
imaging came out.
Elementari
5%
Altro
6%
School type and grade
Liceo Scientifico
47%
Medie
20%
ITIS
8%
Liceo Linguistico
4%
Liceo Classico
10%
Questions structure
2 test versions to allow comparison on same
topics.
•open- and closed-answer questions
•multiple-choice questions with commonsense answers and scientific-sense
answers.
Preliminary results on 6 of the entire 10-question test.
Images “from” the Universe
If I say Universe, what do you think about?
13-14 yrs
50.0
14-16 yrs
40.0
uominimen
30.0
donne
women
20.0
totale
10.0
Infinity
+ Adjs
13-14 yrs 44%
14-16 yrs 46%
>16 yrs 56%
Big Space
+ Objs
Big Space
+ Adjs
Objects
> 16 yrs
Adjectives Everything
13-14 yrs 30%
14-16 yrs 33%
>16 yrs 21%
Nulla
Tutto
Aggettivi°
Oggetti*
Big
Space
Spazio
immenso+Oggetti*
Infinity +
Objs + Adjs
Spazio
immenso+Aggettivo
°
Spazio immenso
Infinity
+ Objs
Infinito+Oggetti*+Ag
gettivi°
Infinito+Oggetti*
Infinity
Infinito+Aggettivi*
Infinito
0.0
Nothing
tot
What kind of objects?
60.0
13-14 yrs
50.0
40.0
uomini
30.0
donne
20.0
totale
Planets
Stars
Galaxies
Ci
el
o
ti
lu
m
in
Co
os
i
st
el
la
zio
ni
la
t
te
a
nt
i
Vi
a
iv
er
14-16 yrs
Pu
n
Es
s
Co
r
40.0
ive
na
Lu
So
le
ti
el
es
pi
c
Te
rra
i
et
G
50.0
Pi
an
sie
al
as
St
e
0.0
60.0
lle
10.0
uomini
donne
30.0
totale
20.0
men
women
tot
10.0
Ci
el
o
ti
lu
m
in
Co
os
i
st
el
la
zio
ni
te
a
nt
i
la
t
> 16 yrs
Vi
a
iv
er
Pu
n
Es
s
Co
r
40.0
ive
na
Lu
So
le
ti
el
es
pi
c
Te
rra
i
et
Pi
an
sie
G
50.0
al
as
St
e
60.0
lle
0.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
Sky
Light
points
Constellations
Ci
el
o
i lu
m
in
os
i
te
lla
zio
ni
Mily
Way
a
la
t
iv
Vi
a
ive
na
te
Living
beings
nt
i
Moon
Lu
So
le
Sun
er
rp
ic
el
es
ti
Earth Celestial
bodies
Te
rra
i
et
Pi
an
sie
al
as
G
St
e
lle
Stars Galaxies Planets
Dark
uomini Black
donne
Big
totale
Huge
Cold
Matter
Hole
Bang
Cold Dark Matter
Images “from” the Universe
2 different objects
14-16 yrs
13-14 yrs
edge
> 16 yrs
Cosmic Box
13-14 yrs 8%
Drawing rate 14-16 yrs 5%
>16 yrs 2%
Images “from” the Universe
Solar System
14-16 yrs
13-14 yrs
> 16 yrs
13-14 yrs 8%
Drawing rate 14-16 yrs 5%
>16 yrs 2%
Images “from” the Universe
Empty Expanse
13-14 yrs
> 16 yrs
14-16 yrs
13-14 yrs 8%
Drawing rate 14-16 yrs 5%
>16 yrs 2%
Distance and Size in the Universe
If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step:
how many steps to go to the nearest
star (other than the Sun)?
how many steps to go to Jupiter?
50.0
50.0
all ages
45.0
40.0
35.0
30.0
25.0
20.0
15.0
men
tot
value
2
3
4
5
45.0
rate
22%
20%
12%
14%
40.0
tot
25.0
20.0
15.0
5.0
5.0
log (step)
w omen
30.0
10.0
0.5 <1 1 <1,51.5<2 2 <2,52.5<3 3<3,53.5<4 4 <4,5
4.5<5 5<5,5
5.5 <6 6 <6,56.5<7 7 >7
<00 <0,5
men
35.0
10.0
0.0
all ages
w omen
0.0
1.5<2 2 <2,52.5<3 3 <3,53.5<4 4<4,54.5<5 5 <5,55.5<6 6<6,56.5<7 7 >7
<0 0 <0,50.5<1 1<1,5
Values remarkably
close to the real one
“Solar System as an all-like astronomical box”
log (step)
Wide range of
answers!
(Dussault, M., 1999, “How do visitors understand the Universe? Studies yield information on
planning exhibitions and programs, Association of Science-Technology Centers Newsletter)
If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step:
how many steps to the nearest star
(other than the Sun)?
a) at least 50
b) at least 500
c) at least 5000
d) at least 50000
how many steps to Jupiter?
a) about 1
b) about 20
c) about 5
d) more than 100
70.0
70.0
60.0
men
14-16 yrs
w omen
tot
50.0
60.0
40.0
30.0
30.0
20.0
20.0
10.0
10.0
w omen
tot
0.0
a
b
c
d
70.0
60.0
men
50.0
40.0
0.0
14-16 yrs
a
b
c
d
70.0
> 16 yrs
men
w omen
tot
50.0
60.0
> 16 yrs
men
w omen
50.0
40.0
40.0
30.0
30.0
20.0
20.0
10.0
10.0
tot
0.0
0.0
a
b
c
d
a
b
c
d
From previous questions ...
No hierarchy in the Universe
Universe  Solar System
... On the other hand ...
The following statement is true or false:
the Solar System belongs to a galaxy.
for all ages
100.0
90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
True
50.0
False
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
uomini
men
donne
women
totale
tot
Language and Framework bias
Causes?
Keywords or a specific language form affect
answers more than the real knowledge.
Subjects do not understand when
discrepancies arise from comparing
common- and scientific-sense frameworks
until they are forced to combine them in a
common framework.
Use of formal language
The gravity force is:
a) the force which makes the Sun attracts the Earth
b) the force which makes us fall
c) the interaction force between two massive bodies
d) the energy of a falling body
80.0
70.0
men
all ages
women
tot
60.0
Most people seems to have
assimilated
the gravity concept.
The bigger is age, the higher the
rate of c answer.
50.0
Formal language affects more
students in high school than in
the intermediate one.
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
a
b
c
d
B answer doubles a answer.
Gravity perceived as a terrestrial force more
than an universal interaction.
About 10% of d answer.
Overlapping of force and energy
concepts
(e.g. Calcidese, P., 2002, L’Universo che non c’è. Preconcetti e misconcezioni degli studenti in età
adolescenziale nell’ambito della fisica e conseguenze sulle idee riferite all’origine ed evoluzione
dell’Universo, thesis)
Use of informal language
The c answer is the most selected.
80.0
men
70.0
60.0
women
all ages
tot
50.0
40.0
Bodies are near spherical because:
a) they spin around the Sun
b) the sphere is the perfect geometric
shape
c) they spin around themselves
d1) all men stay with feet on the ground
and head up
d2) make up your own answer
30.0
20.0
Variations on the theme: d1 instead of d2
10.0
NOBODY chose the d1 answer
0.0
a
b
c
d2
100.0
The d2 answer collected only
the 5%. In particular:
4 of 5 (14-16) yrs : big mass
8 of 15 (>16 yrs): gravity force
men
90.0
80.0
18% of all ages
(only >16 yrs)
w omen
tot
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
Very few people have assimilated the
concept of gravity,
20.0
10.0
0.0
a
b
c
d1
Omitting a keyword...
What kind of relationship exists between
radio waves and gamma rays?
a) gamma rays are rays and radio waves are
waves
b1) are both a type of light, but with
different wavelength
c) gamma rays do not exist
d) gamma rays are faster than radio waves
What kind of relationship exists
between radio waves and gamma rays?
a) gamma rays are rays and radio wave
are waves
b2) are both a type of light
c) gamma rays do not exist
d) gamma rays are faster than radio
waves
100.0
100.0
90.0
men
14-16 yrs
80.0
w omen
70.0
tot
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
100.0
90.0
a
b1
c
> 16 yrs
80.0
70.0
d
men
w omen
tot
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
a
b1
c
d
The language
formalism
significantly
affects the
subjects’
answers
independently
on the
instruction
grade.
90.0
men
14-16 yrs
80.0
w omen
70.0
tot
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
100.0
0.0
90.0
a
b2
c
d men
> 16 yrs
80.0
w omen
tot
70.0
60.0
50.0
40.0
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
a
b2
c
d
Lessons learned
Age and schooling level do
not modify the most relevant
ideas of Universe
Some misconceptions
proved to be tough to
eradicate and
resistant to time
Framework and
language introduce
strong biases
The spontaneous imaging does not come out as expected
Bias due to testing environment  school-like framework?
Very short time to read the questions
Questions perceived as a school test!
AND ...
Thanks to
Stefano Andreon
Fabio Governato
References
Calcidese, P., 2002, L’Universo che non c’e’. Preconcetti e misconcezioni degli studenti in eta’
adolescenziale nell’ambito della fisica e conseguenze sulle idee riferite all’origine ed evoluzione
dell’Universo, thesis
Cavallini, G., 1995, La formazione dei concetti scientifici. Senso comune, scienza, apprendimento,
Firenze, La nuova Italia Editrice
Dupré, F., Noce, G., Vicentini-Missoni, M., 1981, “Modelli fisici pre-newtoniani nelle conoscenze degli adulti”,
Scuola e Città, 2, pp. 53-64
Dussault, M., 1999, “How do visitors understand the Universe? Studies yield information on planning
exhibitions and programs, Association of Science-Technology Centers Newsletter
Gardin, S., 2003, “Il passaggio dalla conoscenza ingenua alla conoscenza scientifica accreditata
nell’insegnamento dell’astronomia”, Giornale di Astronomia, 2, pp.28-35
Mayer, M., 1990, Conoscenza scientifica e conoscenza comune. Analisi dell’incidenza di fattori scolastici ed
extrascolastici nell’apprendimento della fisica, Roma, I Quaderni di Villa Falconieri, CEDE
Posner, G., Strike, K., Hewson, P., Gerzog, W., 1982, “Accomodation of Ascientific Conceptions: Towards
Theory of Conceptual Change”, Science Education, 2, pp.211-227
Viennot, L., 1979, Le raisonnement spontané en dynamique élémentaire, Paris, Hermann
Distances in the Universe
649
If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step: how many steps will you need to go to Jupiter?
40.0
35.0
30.0
all ages
men
women
tot
25.0
20.0
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
<1 1 <2 2 <3 3 <4 4 <5 5 <6 6 <7 7 <8 8 <9 9<10
10<1111<12 <13 <14 <15 <16 <17 <18 <19 <20 <2121
What kind of relationship exists between radio waves
and gamma rays?
a) gamma rays are rays and radio wave are waves
b1) are both light type, but with different wavelength
c) gamma rays do not exist
d) gamma rays are faster than radio waves
100.0
13-14 yrs
90.0
80.0
70.0
60.0
uomini
50.0
donne
40.0
totale
30.0
100.0
20.0
90.0
10.0
80.0
0.0
70.0
a
b1
c
d
100.0
60.0
u
50.0
d
40.0
to
30.0
> 16 yrs
90.0
14-16 yrs
20.0
80.0
10.0
70.0
0.0
60.0
uomini
50.0
donne
40.0
totale
a
b1
c
d
30.0
20.0
10.0
0.0
a
b1
c
d
men
women
tot
If the Earth-Sun distance was equal to one step:
50.0
45.0
how many steps will you need to go to the nearest
star (other than the Sun)?
13-14 yrs
40.0
35.0
30.0
uomini
25.0
donne
totale
20.0
15.0
50.0
10.0
45.0
5.0
14-16 yrs
40.0
0.0
<0 <0,5 <1 <1,5 <2
<2,5 <3
<3,5 <4
<4,5 <5
<5,5 <6 <6,5 <7
>7
35.0
30.0
uomini
25.0
donne
50.0
totale
20.0
45.0
> 16 yrs
15.0
40.0
10.0
35.0
5.0
30.0
uomini
0.0
donne
25.0
<0 <0,5 <1 <1,5 <2
<2,5 <3 <3,5 <4 <4,5 <5
<5,5 <6 <6,5 <7
>7
totale
20.0
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
<0 <0,5 <1 <1,5 <2 <2,5 <3 <3,5 <4 <4,5 <5 <5,5 <6 <6,5 <7
>7
men
women
tot
Adjectives statistic
60.0
50.0
40.0
uomini
13-14 yrs
30.0
donne
totale
20.0
10.0
at
plo
r
in
a
In
es
m
ag
in
im
40.0
o
bi
le
to
ita
Illi
m
do
Fr
ed
ra
nd
G
50.0
e
o
Ne
r
so
m
en
Im
60.0
Bu
io
0.0
14-16 yrs
uomini
30.0
donne
20.0
totale
10.0
men
women
tot
at
plo
r
in
a
In
es
m
ag
in
im
40.0
o
bi
le
to
ita
Illi
m
do
Fr
ed
G
ra
nd
e
o
Ne
r
so
Im
50.0
m
en
60.0
Bu
io
0.0
> 16 yrs
uomini
30.0
donne
20.0
totale
10.0
es
In
m
ag
im
In
plo
r
in
a
ab
ile
bi
le
to
ita
Illi
m
do
Fr
ed
G
ra
nd
e
o
Ne
r
so
m
en
Im
Bu
io
0.0
If the diameter of Sun was equal to the length of your arm:
50.0
45.0
men
all ages
women
40.0
tot
35.0
Earth would be as big as:
a) a fly
b) a pinhead
c) a pepper grain
d) an apple
30.0
25.0
No idea of Earth size
20.0
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
a
b
c
d
50.0
45.0
40.0
men
women
all ages
tot
35.0
Overestimate Jupiter real size
30.0
25.0
20.0
Jupiter would be as big as:
a) a plum
b) a nut
c) a fly
d) a clenched fist
15.0
10.0
5.0
0.0
a
b
c
d
Fly UP