Frontiers in Science Education Research

An international conference on

science and mathematics education research


22-24 March 2009


Presentations Abstracts


A comparative study of different strategies to overcome language barriers in the teaching and learning of mathematics in countries where English is the LoLT

Hannatjie Vorster (J.A.)


Most African countries have many different indigenous languages. Some governments have introduced English as the Lingua Franca of education. The majority of learners and teachers are not English home language speakers. The situation differs from other countries where the LoLT is English, for example England, Australia and the USA. Here, English as additional language to learners applies mainly to immigrants, while especially the content teachers are mostly native English speakers. In Mathematics classrooms different solutions are pursued for different contexts. In South Africa and other African countries the resource of the home language of the learners has become an important scaffold to further learners’ understanding. In other parts of the world the main trend is to upgrade the learners’ language proficiency in English by means of different strategies. This paper investigates whether strategies that are pursued in these different situations can inform each other to benefit learners.


A physics laboratory course designed using problem-based learning for prospective physics teachers

Cezmi Ünal and Ömer Faruk Özdemir


In general, laboratories are exercises with a primary focus on the verification of established laws and principles, or on the discovery of objectively knowable facts. In laboratories, students gather data without comprehending the meaning of their actions. The cognitive demand of laboratory tasks is reduced to a minimal level. To prevent these deficiencies, activities in a physics laboratory course were redesigned using problem-based learning. Problem-based learning is an inquiry based instructional design in which experiential learning organized around the investigation, explanation, and resolution of meaningful problems. In activities, instructional strategy is student-centered and learning has to occur in small student groups under the guidance of a tutor. Authentic real world problems are primarily encountered in the learning sequence. To solve the problems, students propose hypothesis, and test their hypothesis with suitable experiment designs. Laboratory design and instruction strategies are very suitable for performing science process skills.


A proposal for the connection between experiment and modelling for first formation of primary school teacher

Federico Corni, Enrico Gilibert, Marisa Michelini and Lorenzo Santi


The transition between the mere description of a phenomenon and its scientific interpretation-understanding is favoured by the reference to or the construction of models. Modelling is fundamental for the development of a scientific approach to problems in primary school teachers since it helps identifying the relevant variables and the relations between them, formulating hypotheses, and designing experiments suitable to explore and prove such hypotheses. This contribution presents a path of computer-aided didactical activities highlighting the connection between laboratory experiments and dynamical modelling using VnR addressed to teachers in first formation of the Education Faculties of the Universities of Modena-Reggio Emilia and Udine.


A startup tutorial for the controller design of mobile competition robots

Asemeh Poosti and Mehmet Bodur


A guideline is proposed for preparing quick startup tutorials on embedded controller design of simple competition oriented robots, especially for those who want to have a quick start with freshman level of knowledge of Science and Engineering students. The proposed guideline is parallel to the Problem and Project Based Learning methodology. Robotic Competitions play a significant role to motivate students for learning high technology tracks such as mechatronics and robotics. Microcontrollers are embedded in a typical competition robot to implement intelligent sensors and several intelligent control algorithms. In this paper, C programming language is suggested for the novice robotics competitor, for its medium-level programming character with a fast learning curve. An Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and a hybrid circuit simulation environment is suggested for fast and simple coding and debugging of the microcontrollers and peripheral control circuits. The paper concludes the educational method with a set of sample Proportional, Proportional-Derivative, Proportional-Integral-Derivative and line tracking control applications.


An investigation of pre-service teachers’ alternative conceptions of global warming

Sabiha Subaşı, Ömer Geban


Global warming is an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, contributing to changes in global climate patterns. In this paper, the term ‘global warming’ is used to refer to the exacerbation of the natural greenhouse effect by human activities. Due to representing one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing our planet, global warming is receiving considerable attention by scientists, policy makers, and educators. However; little is known about pre-service teachers’ conceptions regarding the scope and nature of this phenomenon. This study aims to present alternative conceptions of 85 pre-service teachers about the consequences, causes and cures of ‘global warming. The most prevalent misconceptions were that more people will get skin cancer with increasing global warming and radioactive waste from nuclear power stations and holes in the ozone layer cause global warming.


An overview of mathematical word problem solving strategies and their usability

Gözdegül Arık and Neslihan Bulut


The aim of this study was to investigate the different strategies of different mathematical word problems which require representation standards and to identify which strategy is functional for pre-service teachers to teach their primary grade students. For this study, 150 senior class pre-service teachers of Primary Mathematics Education Department were chosen. Ten mathematical word problems which selected from the five sub-learning areas were given the pre-service teachers to solve in different ways. The strategies of pre-service teachers were categorized by using content analyze. Analysis sub-units have been obtained by determining the different strategies. We had interviews with pre-service teachers who used extreme strategies. We discussed which strategy is useful to apply with their primary grade students and why they chose this strategy. Findings revealed that participant pre-service teachers are lack of using strategies. In general, the participant pre-service teachers do not apply more than one strategy and they use traditional strategies instead of extreme strategies.


Application and evaluation of ecological footprint as an environmental education tool towards sustainable life

Özgül Keleş and Mustafa Aydoğdu


The aim of this study is to analyze the impact of ecological footprint applications used as a tool of environmental education on changing the awareness, attitudes and behaviours of science and technology education teacher candidates towards environment and sustainable life. The research was applied on 49 third grade pre-service teachers studying in Gazi University Faculty of Education Science Education Program. In the research, “Environmental Education Survey” was used as data collection tools. In the analysis of statistical data, correlation method and paired samples t-Test were used. Following results are obtained from analyzes: It was seen that awareness, attitude and behaviour points of the teacher candidates rose on the phase of post-test. That result shows that applying ecological footprint is an environmental education tool effective in changing the awareness, attitudes and behaviors of the teacher candidates towards environment and sustainable life.


Applying electromagnetism for enhancing Thai high-school students’ understanding in force and motion

Thanida Sujarittham, Kwan Arayathanitkul and Jintawat Tanamatayarat


The In this study, we present the sets of demonstration that we developed and used in a physics class for Thai high-school students. The demonstration sets comprise two main parts: (1) simple motion demonstration (2) complicated motion demonstration. In the second part, tools that required knowledge in electromagnetism were used for teaching non-uniform forces. We brought a magnet and a solenoid to create and show forces between them. We carry out the demonstrations with microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) measurements. The results could be immediately displayed on the screen in front of the class using an LCD projector. This teaching method is called the interactive lecture demonstration (ILD) and is aimed to engage students to learn as well as to help them integrate their knowledge to new situations. The demonstration sets were planned to use with high-school students who have already learned basic topics on force and motions.


Assessing the ability of science undergraduate students to process information in a compare and contrast form

Doaa Mahmoud-Ghoneim and Amr Amin


This study aims to assess the ability of the undergraduate Science students to respond to compare and Contrast Questions by processing scientific information correctly in order to fulfill answering requirements. A sample composed of One-hundred six science students (Biology and Physics) have been asked to answer a test composed of two CCQs: the first, was a General question comparing two basic subjects from everyday's life; the second, was a Science question about two subjects related to the student's major specialization. The test was followed by a survey on the student's opinion about the usefulness of CCQs in the educational process. Students' answers to the two CCQs were evaluated according to four-degree scale (Excellent (E), Good (G), Satisfactory (S), and Unsatisfactory (U)). The results showed that the ability to answer the General question and the Science question were correlated. The majority of the answers were ranked either G or S for both questions. The survey showed that 59% of the students think that CCQs would be useful for enhancing their understanding of the scientific information instructed to them. However, 48% of the students said that they have been rarely exposed to this type of questions during their academic study. We recommend that CCQs should be integrated in the educational process for science undergraduates. Training the students how to process information using critical thinking methods will enhance their ability to investigate and acquire scientific knowledge.


Background knowledge of undergraduate students of mathematics teaching department about student centered teaching

Nur Sırmacı and Başaran Gençdoğan


This study aims to investigate the background knowledge of the undergraduate students at the department of primary education mathematics teaching about student centered teaching. The participants of the study were 132 senior students of primary education mathematics teaching department, Faculty of Education at Ataturk University. The findings were obtained by means of ten open ended questions called “Student Centered Teaching Form”. The answers to these questions were then categorized. The result showed that the participants could define the students centered teaching correctly however; it was found that as for the application of the process, their knowledge is insufficient.


Bouncing ball – a mathematisation for second year high school and Matura students

Marina Rugelj and Tine Golez


This contribution shows how cooperation of mathematics and physics high school teachers helps students achieve a better understanding of both subjects. During physics lessons, we use an ultrasonic motion tracker to measure the free fall of a ball and two rebounds. A computer programme plots a graph of position vs. time. Second year students (at the age of 16) are able to deduct the equation of a quadratic function based on its graph. From such equation they are also able to read the constant acceleration. For Matura students, we give a practical example of calculus (differentiation) usage.


C. B. E. and progress alternative against high costed material for mechatronic education

Sezgin Ersoy, Sertaç Görgülü


The rapid developments in technology make it costly to educate the work force for the sectors. In modern technology and in today’s world in which the education system is more modern and the need for modern stuff is increasingly high, Computer-Based Education (CBE) techniques and software are no more a luxury but a necessity. Because these software become the basic components and means of easy and comprehensible manner of telling in modern education system due to the visuality that they concern. This study presents the examples of material to make the content and the subject of electromechanics more effective and comprehensible.


CAD forces changes to engineering graphics curriculum

Serpil Kurt


Nowadays computer-aided design (CAD) software improves rapidly and we are supposed to update the teaching methods for engineering graphics education. In Mechanical Engineering Department of Istanbul Technical University we have been giving courses about Engineering Graphics in two steps (grade). The first step includes the theoretical courses that cover all subjects of traditional engineering graphics books. The next step is to accomplish some exercises using two dimensional (2-D) drawing and solids-modelling with CAD software’s in our computer lab. CAD software clearly includes many traditional engineering graphics subjects (topics). We have updated this course for different faculty curriculum in our university. The course is now focused on International Standard Organization (ISO) standards, CAD modelling and modern manufacturing systems and also effective engineering design communications. Outdated technical drawing material and topic have been eliminated. Engineering Graphics topics can be presented in this paper as shown below. Some topics can be eliminated or added from this list. We will update and give Engineering Graphics courses in the following semester in all other faculties of our university.


Clothing education and mathematics

Songül Kuru and Pınar Göklüberk Özlü


Mathematics is regarded as such important, useful, effective and indispensable tool for all science. All civilization has been attached primary importance to mathematics. Once humans had discovered that the examples of Fibonacci series and Golden Ratio appear in Nature, many comments were made on this truth. The Golden Ratio is known by craftsmen very well as an aesthetic rule. Distinctive examples are seen on human body, shellfishes and branches. Productions and researches of craftsmen, scientists and designers have been based on the Golden Ratio and human body used in order to make measurements. This ratio has been used in clothing pattern production, fundamental and auxiliary measures. Preparation of clothing pattern consists of arithmetic processes; however it is regarded as technical drawing. In this paper, the mathematical processes utilized to obtain clothing pattern appropriate for the body form and means of examining anatomy of human body mathematically thanks to the information acquired from mathematics are examined.


Cognitive architecture of misconceptions

Paul Tarábek


The triangular model of concept modeling the cognitive architecture of the concept structure and four developmental levels of physical concepts are presented: primitive, empirical, symbolical, and formal. The basic components of the model are: core, meaning, sense, and the relationships between them. Based on the model, a method of concept mapping is presented. Concept maps as models of the cognitive architecture of an Aristotelian preconception at the empirical level and a Newtonian conception at the symbolical level of the concept of "force" are designed.


Cognitive strategies used by pre-service physics teachers

Sevda Yerdelen Damar, Ulaş Üstün and Ali Eryılmaz


Cognitive strategies enhance students’ learning. The purpose of this study was to identify pre-service physics teachers’ cognitive strategies used in their learning. The participants of the study included 16 pre-service physics teachers enrolling in an elective course in Middle East Technical University. The pre-service physics teachers answered the question that what strategy or strategies they used to study. The results of the study indicated that the number of cognitive strategies used by the pre-service physics teachers were very limited. Some of cognitive strategies used by them were ineffective. The reasons why the pre-service physics teachers were not good at strategy use were also discussed.


Computational modelling with Modellus: An enhancement vector for the general university physics course

Rui Gomes Neves, Jorge Carvalho Silva, Vítor Duarte Teodoro


In this paper we present a step forward to improve general physics as an educational experience: the implementation of a new course component composed by innovative workshop activities based on computational modelling in the general physics course taken by first year biomedical engineering students at the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the New Lisbon University. The activities were created as interactive modelling experiments with Modellus, a computer software tool designed to construct and explore mathematical models based on functions, iterations and differential equations. Special emphasis was given to cognitive conflicts in the understanding of physical concepts, to the manipulation of multiple representations of mathematical models and to the interplay between analytical and numerical solutions of physical problems. In this work we describe these computational modelling activities and their educational aims. We also discuss their effective impact on the students learning of key physical and mathematical concepts of the course.


Conceptualization of Nature of Science, socioscientific issues among science majors and nonscience majors

Ceyhan Çiğdemoğlu


The aim of the study is to explore conceptualization of science majors (SM) and nonscience majors’ (NSM) views on Nature of Science (NOS) and Socioscientific Issues (SSI) related with global warming. A science brief about SSI were distributed to SM and NSM classes. Students were asked to answer questions related with the story of global warming related NOS. According to responses, 8 SM and 9 NSM were semi structurally interviewed. The sample was selected purposeful from the data obtained from students’ responses. The study utilized phenomenological qualitative research design. Even if the sample may not be representative of all SM and NSM it provided insight into how these students conceptualize NOS and SSI. Some of the results suggested that SM generally understood certain NOS concepts whereas some results indicated deficiency in connecting science to society. Data obtained from NSM indicated that a highlighted need for instructional attention both for NOS and SSI.


Consistency of students’ conceptions about superposition and reflection of waves: findings from the development of a conceptual survey in mechanical waves

Apisit Tongchai, Manjula Sharma, Ian Johnston, Kwan Arayathanitkul


A multiple choice conceptual survey in mechanical waves was developed and evaluated with over 900 students (Tongchai et al., 2008). The survey consists of four subtopics: propagation, superposition, reflection and standing waves. In this study, we explored students’ responses to the questions on the subtopics of superposition and reflection only. The objectives of this study were (1) to explore the consistency of students’ conceptions, and (2) to explore the usefulness of the correlation coefficient for dichotomous data (Φ). The samples were five different groups of students with a total number of 509. Our findings support studies found in the literature in which students often use their conceptions inconsistently. Moreover, we found that the correlation coefficient for dichotomous data is useful for measuring the strength of the association between question pairs, however it has some issues which researchers need to be aware of when using it for a particular purpose.


Coteaching as a tool for undergraduate mathematics education

Maria Inęs Mafra Goulart and Eduardo Sarquis Soares


This article presents results of a study that arose from a teacher’s professional development proposal based on the sharing of the position of teacher, which is called coteaching (Roth and Tobin 2002). This proposal was adopted by a group of Mathematics undergraduates, their professor, a Math seventh grade teacher and her students. Classes were videotaped and analysed afterwards by all participants. Results show that: (a) with the help of the veteran teachers, the undergraduates found ways of exploring Math knowledge with which they were not familiar before; (b) by dialoguing with the teachers, students could freely expose their ideas and confront them to conventional Math knowledge; (c) by engaging in critical debate teachers could get students’ perspective about the analyzed episode; (d) the theoretical-methodological framework adopted was a fundamental tool that allowed a clearer understanding of the whole process.


Curricula of the course on modelling behaviour of human and animal-like agents

Cyril Brom


Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are agents imitating behaviour of a human or an animal, graphically embodied in a 2D or 3D virtual world. In our university, we have established a novel interdisciplinary course, including a practical seminar, on modelling behaviour of such agents. The course focuses on action selection from the perspective of artificial intelligence, computer games, and ethology, but covers also various introductory topics from cognitive psychology and neurobiology. This paper details the curriculum of the course.


Curriculum Process in Science Education

Veronika Adamčíková , Paul Tarábek , and Přemysl Záškodný


Science education in the communicative conception is defined as the continuous transfer of the knowledge and methods of science into the minds of individuals who have not participated in creating them. This process, called the educational communication of science, is performed by various educational agents – teachers, curriculum makers, textbook designers, university teachers and does not mean only a simple transfer of information, but it also involves teaching and instruction at all levels of the school system, the study, learning, and cognition of pupils, students and all other learners, the assessment and evaluation of learning outcomes, curriculum composition and design, the production of textbooks and other means of educational communication and, in addition, university education and the further training of teachers. The educational communication is carried out by the curriculum process (CP) of science, which is a sequence of variant forms of curriculum mutually interconnected by curriculum transformations (CT). The variant forms of curriculum are as follows: conceptual curriculum, intended curriculum, project (written) curriculum, operational curriculum, implemented curriculum, and attained curriculum.


Design and use of computer-aided instructional tools in a teacher training environment

Gagik Demirjian


Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) instigate enormous technological enhancement in information support of education. ICT make technology-based education and training easier to design, develop and deliver. Introduction and development of ICT-mediated teaching tools in teacher-training environment obtain greater importance as the future teachers would be prepared in advance to the application of ICT in their forthcoming teaching practice. Current paper is aimed to introduce a simple and at the same time an effective methodology allowing the inexperienced (in the field of ICT) instructors to design professional electronic computer-aided instructional tools applicable for virtually all teaching disciplines with multimedia exposure and structured navigation and search options. Proposed methodology is based on text marking-up techniques but doesn't actually require knowledge of any programming language. An attempt to classify the computer-aided teaching tools available for use in teacher-training environment is undertaken as well. The practice of putting together professional e-textbooks is introduced along with some issues of hands-on experience on implementing proposed methodology in teaching practice.


Determining the learning styles of primary school teachers

Melih Koçakoğlu


Since constructivism is based of basis of student-centred education, the different properties of individual are searched in order to improve the learning quality. The learning styles are researched on individual differences basis. In this study, the learning styles of the teachers are surveyed by branches. The teachers are the most important elements in the education. Their role of creating learning environments for students appears with constructivism. The learning styles of the teachers are also important in managing learning process. In this study, learning styles of 223 primary school teachers in different branches in Turkey were determined. Learning styles were defined by Kolb’s learning style inventory and distributed based on branch. The correlation between teacher branches and learning styles was measured by Chi-Square test. The correlation with learning styles was also researched based on gender. Consequently while 48% of teachers have converger learning style, 24% of them have assimilator, 18% have accommodator, and 10% have diverger learning styles. If branches are examined, a similar distribution will be observed. The correlation between learning styles and branches was measured by Chi-square test, and no correlation was seen (Pearson Chi-Square=0.332, p>0.01). In the same way, no correlation between genders and learning styles was seen (Pearson Chi-Square=0.052, p>0.01).


Development of personal desiderata while learning GIS

Lene Mřller Madsen, Frederik Voetmann Christiansen, Camilla Rump


This article investigates students’ process of creating a professional profile through their studies. It presents an analysis of the choices and processes of creating a professional profile among 8 students attending an undergraduate course in "GIS in planning and management" at the University of Copenhagen. The analysis is based on a generalization of Thomas Kuhn’s idea of an "essential tension" in paradigmatic knowledge, and his theory of learning by ostension. In terms of acquiring the intended knowledge, most students solved the planning problem in the course adequately and all did well on the exam. However, interviews show that the heuristics of the learned content was extremely different for the 8 students – different students conceived of the planning problem of the course as either a revelation, a means to an end, or a decided turn-off. The article concludes that the analysis provide evidence of the utility of the suggested theoretical distinctions.


Development of pre-service chemistry teachers’ understanding of reaction rate

Oktay Bektaş, Ayşe Yalçın Çelik, Ayla Çetin Dindar


The purpose of this study is to enhance pre-service chemistry teachers’ conceptual understanding via constructivist based instruction (CBI) on the reaction rate in a course “Basic Chemistry Laboratory”. This study presents an opportunity to see whether pre-service chemistry teachers’ conceptual understanding is developed via CBI. Semi-structured interviews were administered to a sample of six participants at a university in the Department of Secondary Science and Mathematics Education. Interviews were carried out both at the beginning in order to check the participants’ pre-knowledge and at the end of the semester in order to check whether the CBI improved the participants’ understanding on the reaction rate. Analysis of the transcribed interviews, final exam, and homework showed that the majority of the participants exhibited conceptual understanding of reaction rate at the end of the course and had overcome their misconceptions which were determined at the beginning of the semester.


Development of spatial abilities using computers

Šárka Gergelitsová, Tomáš Holan


The lack of spatial imagination among pupils and students is a more and more frequently observed phenomenon. However, students of engineering are expected to have just as good spatial imagination as they used to have and this lack is rather troublesome. Opportunities for the improvement of these abilities missed at the age of 10–12 years are difficult to substitute later, but it is never too late. Unfortunately, this process requires a lot of effort and it is extremely time consuming for teachers.

The aim of this paper is to show didactic programs for students and aids for teachers. Each of them offers a background for solving problems and a set of tasks (for students) and special functions for teachers. Programs are freeware. They can be used in the same way for 12-year-old pupils as for 20-year-old students.


Didaktik analysis an alternative ways of improving pre-service physics teachers in Malaysia

Mohd. Zaki Ishak


Despite on-going efforts to improve physics education through training of pre-service teachers, significant challenges remain. Much previous research about pre-service teacher education and training has focussed on improving their pedagogical content knowledge. In this work we report the development of Malaysian pre-service physics teachers training that is based in the German Didaktik tradition. This model involved the process of didaktik analysis - a detailed analysis of specific science content contained in curriculum specifications and textbooks along with analysis of literature on students’ alternative conceptions. These analyses were used to develop lesson plans and developing teaching sequences which the pre-service teachers then enacted in microteaching, and in a practicum. The research findings suggest that the pre-service physics teachers that participated in this work valued the process of didaktik analysis and this increased their confidence to teach secondary school physics and development as reflective practitioners.


Electromagnetic induction: a proposal for a teaching/learning path

Marisa Michelini and Rossana Viola


The researches on learning of electromagnetic phenomena (EM) have revealed some difficulties related to a partial understanding of electromagnetic induction, to a not complete knowledge of the different situations producing induced currents or in contrary related to a wrong use of the Lenz law. In the framework of a research for a curricular teaching/learning path in vertical perspective, according to MRE model, a study dedicated to the specific knot of the electromagnetic induction to students of middle school has been carried out. On the same knot three different strategies are implemented in parallel classes of the same school: a Prevision Experiment Comparison (PEC) explorative strategy, a Problem Solving Method (PSM) and a semiotic mediation on artefacts. In this paper data of the learning path based on the PSM are discussed according with the detailed grid of research questions split from the main problems underlined in literature.


Ethical imperative of teaching ELSI to bioscience majors

Jinnie M. Garrett


The regulation of biological research and its applications should involve both experts and members of the public. However bioscientists in the U.S. are rarely trained to be socially- and ethically-literate so that they can be cognizant of, sympathetic and anticipatory to, the complex ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of advances in bioscience. In a survey of undergraduate genetics instructors, 99% believed students should be exposed to ethical issues resulting from advances in genetics and 55% believed this discussion should occur within the science classroom. However, instructors actually only devoted <5% class time (<7.5 min/week) to ELSI issues. 55% did not believe this is adequate coverage and most cited “lack of time” as the reason they inadequately addressed ELSI issues.

I propose a set of principles for the “Ethics of Teaching Science” similar to those given for the “Ethics of Scientific Research”: (Shrader-Frechette, 1994), consisting of Teaching Objectively (current state of knowledge, avoiding bias, grading fairly etc.) and Teaching for the Public Good (an ELSI component to educate scientists to consider the public good as part of their professional identity). Implementation of such a set of principles should increase the time devoted to ELSI either within the science classroom or in specialized ELSI courses required for majors. In this way, instructors’ practices would be in closer alignment with their expressed goals.


Evaluation of university students’ bioethical perceptions about biotechnological studies: cloning case

Hikmet Sürmeli and Fatma Şahin


Cloning technologies is a serious matter and these studies provide comfort and benefit for mankind, however they also give rise to concerns about ethics and moral issues. Especially, the aim of cloning humans is in conflict with the right of the individuals to become single and unique. This study aims to evaluate university students’ bioethical perceptions about cloning studies In this study it is intended that the findings can highlight if university students’ bioethical perceptions change relating with their majors. Two dilemmas were used to get three major students’ perceptions about cloning studies. Of the two dilemmas one was regarding human cloning and the other one was regarding animal cloning. The results of this study revealed that university students’ perceptions differed according the tpye of cloning study. They had a negative perception when the study was dealing with human cloning, on the other hand, they had a positive perceptions when the study was dealing with animal cloning.


Examining undergraduate students’ ability in transferring their mathematical knowledge to chemistry

Richard A. Hoban, Brien C. Nolan and Odilla E. Finlayson


This study examines students’ ability in transferring their mathematics understanding to chemistry. Four diagnostic tools have been designed and implemented to determine 2nd year undergraduate students’ competency in mathematics pertinent to kinetics and thermodynamics. The tools have been designed on the basis of students having completed a 1st year calculus course. They assess their proficiency, insofar as is possible in procedural and conceptual understanding of fractions, slopes, differentiation, manipulation of indices and integrals—all deemed absolutely essential in various aspects of courses in chemistry, such as kinetics and thermodynamics. This paper discusses in detail the findings from one of these questions and specifically focuses on the methodological approach employed to deduce these findings. A table will aim to convey the notable features of the results with regards to each of the other matching questions.


Experiences of causality of attrition: a perspective from former physics undergraduate students

Bjřrn Friis Johannsen, Cedric Linder and Camilla Řsterberg Rump


In the natural sciences, particularly in physics, attrition phenomena have a strong international similarity: it is not unusual to find that 40-50% of the students terminate their studies prematurely. Drawing on a discourse analysis perspective developed by James Gee new insights into why students decide to terminate their undergraduate physics study were reached. The data was obtained from interviewing a purposeful sample of seven former Swedish physics students, probing into the experience of learning as rooted in social-identity formation. The ‘introspective’ discourse model presented here illustrates how decisions to terminate studying can be reflectively considered, across a broad range of student profiles, through the use of a logic of causality that is much less about the experience of the education environment, and much more about personal agency, than previously anticipated or described in the literature. The discourse models are discussed in terms of implications for the informing of evaluation praxis.


From mathematics to technology and backwards by intuition

Damjan Kobal


We present simple intuitive ideas which have profound meaning and applicability in technology and which can be described by basic mathematical concepts. The ideas are useful in mathematical teaching as only elementary knowledge is a prerequisite. Ideas can be described and motivated intuitively and backed by modern technology use. The ideas offer easy progression into challenges which can go beyond regular high school mathematics and reach even advanced mathematical analysis for its full comprehension, while its intuitive understanding remains accessible to any curious mind. Presentation of ideas has been enriched by the use of advanced computer simulations to visualize the concepts. We present the ideas of the arithmetic mean in relation to the modern car technology, the ancient properties of a parabola in relation to car lights and the ideas of discrete functions in relation to the modern digital sound technology.


Guided-inquiry in teaching science

Nouredine Zettili


In this presentation, we want to discuss and contrast few pedagogical paradigms that are most effective in science education. We focus in particular on the use of guided inquiry in teaching science subjects. Additionally, we deal with some applications of guided inquiry in lectures and labs. To illustrate how guided inquiry works in real life, we invoke a simple, yet edifying and practical, example from physics. We argue that when properly wielded, guided inquiry becomes a powerful tool educators can use to infuse students with skills which will enable them become experienced learners and independent inquirers. The aim here is to empower the students not only to construct and acquire knowledge on their own but also to master a number of essential skills, most notably creativiry, critical thinking, problems solving, communication, team-work, and responsibility.


Impact of MBL usage on concept learning and graph interpretation skills in physics

Fatma Caner and Feral Ogan-Bekiroglu


Utilization of Microcomputer Based Laboratory (MBL) supports opportunities for data collection, displaying, retesting, analyzing, interpreting, and graphing physical quantities such as position, velocity, acceleration, temperature, light, force, pressure, and current. The ease of real-time data collection encourages students to become more active participants and facilities interpretation of graphs. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of MBL usage on students’ learning of physics concepts and their graph interpretation skills. The participants of the study were 37 tenth graders (organized in to the experimental and control group). Treatment was continued four weeks. The experimental group involved the use of an inquiry- oriented activity (Predict-observe-explain format) by using MBL. The control group involved the use of an inquiry-oriented activity without the supports of MBL. Data were collected through the use of conceptual understanding test and graph interpretation test before and after the instruction. The results showed that MBL usage facilitated conceptual understanding and increased graph interpretation skills.


Improving the teaching of science through discipline-based education research: An example from physics

Lillian C. McDermott


Research on the learning and teaching of science is an important field for scholarly inquiry by faculty in science departments. Such research has proved to be an efficient means for improving the effectiveness of instruction in physics. A basic topic in introductory physics is used to illustrate how discipline-based education research has helped identify certain conceptual and reasoning difficulties that are common among university students and pre-university teachers. The results have been used to guide the design of instruction that has brought about a significant improvement in learning. The type of research illustrated requires a deep knowledge of physics and ready accessibility to students as they study that subject. Both of these conditions are usually present only in physics departments, not in departments in which the primary focus is on educational theory and methodology. Although the context of this paper is physics, analogies can readily be made to other sciences.


Interactive screen experiments – connecting distance learners to laboratory practice

P.A. Hatherly, S.E. Jordan, and A. Cayless


Laboratory experience for students of the sciences is of great importance, but for distance learners, or those in a resource-poor environment, this experience is often not available. To address this issue, the Physics Innovations Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (piCETL) at the UK Open University (OU) is developing computer-based resources, Interactive Screen Experiments (ISEs), to help bridge the distance learning/laboratory gap. In this paper, we discuss the concept of an ISE as a highly interactive movie of a real experiment, production methodology and the advantages that ISEs confer. We will examine the uses to which ISEs are being put at the OU, primarily in accessibility, training and preparation. Finally, we will summarise an evaluation study examining the effectiveness of ISEs using observations of users under controlled conditions and at residential schools.


Introduction on choosing skills of high school students at problem solving strategies

Elçin Emre and Ziya Argün


The main goal of this study is to find out how “the formed teaching situation” affects two 11th grade students to choose appropriate problem solving strategies. The research was planned as one grouped pre-test and post-test. To do this, the researchers developed a ten-week long formed teaching situation and the data was collected through the pre-test and post-test, which include specific problems. Besides, interviews were organized through the research process. The data analyzed with comparing the problem solutions of the students in the pre-test and the post test in terms of the skills to choose appropriate problem solving strategies. At the end of the analysis, we observed that the formed teaching situation has a positive effect on choosing an appropriate strategy and the participants were aware of the existence of several different problem solving strategies and they tended to use the strategies they have learnt.


Investigation of physics teachers’ knowledge and using ability the new learning and assessment approaches

Hasan Said Tortop, Nuri Ozek


In this research, it has been studied to identify what the opinions of physics teachers in knowing and using new learning and alternative assessment approaches. The universe of research is consisted of teacher who is working in Isparta city. The Teacher Knowledge Form (TKF) was prepared and for determines teachers’ personal information. The New Learning and Alternative Assessment Approaches Teacher Questionnaire (NLAATQ) developed by researcher with 5 Likert type has been used to determine the teachers’ knowledge level and using situation of new learning and alternative assessment approaches. The data which were obtained with data collection method have been analysed using frequency, percentage, arithmetic average, standard to resort and t-test, suitable for the purposes. The results of analysis have been commented by getting use of SPSS. The results of research, have determined that teachers’ lacked in knowledge and the application of the new learning and alternative assessment approaches. The lack of teachers was differentiated according to seniority, school of graduation, age. Another result was that the majority of teachers stated that they all needed in-service training about new learning and assessment approaches.


Investigation of secondary education physics course 9th grade curriculum in terms of energy concept, and activity suggestions

Hilal Aktamış, İ. Seyhan Aktamış and Nail Özek


The sub-titles of energy contained by the prepared activities were discussed as energy forms, energy transformation, difference between the transformation and the transition, comparison of energy forms and energy transformations, energy transition from hot to cold, insulation, self generated energy transformations, non self generated energy transformations, energy storage, fuels and energy in foods. After the experiment done related to each subject, modelling was performed to provide the students to configure such an abstract concept as “energy” in their minds. These activities was applied on a group in 9th grade as a pilot study during instructing the chapter in fall semester of 2008-2009 academic year, and after the application, the students’ opinions related to the activities was consulted. Feedbacks obtained during the application and the students’ opinions related to the activities was given in the study.


Mathematics for language, language for mathematics

Lenka Tejkalova


The author discusses the balance and mutual influence of the language of instruction and mathematics in the context of CLIL, Content and Language Integrated Learning. Different aspects of the relationship of language and Mathematics teaching and learning are discussed: the benefits of using a foreign language of instruction, as well as the advantages of using Mathematics as a tool to teach a foreign language. Based on research among pre-service teacher trainees, the author presents different approaches to CLIL-lesson planning, pointing out the focus of the teacher trainees on content and/or language and the development throughout the ongoing course of CLIL at the University, with respect to the different specializations of the teacher trainees.


On improving students’ understanding of the photoelectric effect

Y. P. Chee, S. K. Munirah, C. C. Lim, T. S. Koh, C. Y. Lau, D. Wong, Lyna, P. Lee and S. K. Foong


We report our research findings on Singaporean student understandings of a topic in modern physics – the photoelectric effect, discuss the possible basis of their understanding, and suggest ways to improve their understanding of this topic. This on-going research involved four junior colleges (JC). The level of the treatment of this topic in JC is similar to that of an introductory undergraduate course. The research was done using pre-test, tutorial instruction and post-test on experimental and control groups in each JC. It was found that there is a significant improvement in the experimental group over the control group for both categories of questions i.e. conceptual questions which are less familiar to our students and questions which are typical of the GCE A-Level exams.


Physical media: Using new media to explore science in arts education

Anthony Schultz


This paper presents the use of a dataflow visual programming language and video game controller for investigating physics in a creative context. The programming language allows real-time simulation, analysis and graphical display of a physical system while integrating accelerometer data from the game controller to affect the system. Specifically, a forced damped harmonic oscillator system is developed as an interactive demonstration. Topics covered include vectors, position, velocity, acceleration, differential equations, forces, gravity, Hooke's law, energy, phase space, power and lissajous figures.


Practising computer networking problem solving using learning objects on mobile phones

Richard Seaton


The use of mobile technologies including mobile phones to deliver learning objects to support students taking distance learning programmes is causing much interest at the UK Open University (OU). This paper introduces and reports on the development of leaning objects to assist students on the Cisco Networking course to practise subnetting, a particular feature of the addressing used to identify all devices on the internet and the majority of today’s computer networks. The ability of students to manipulate such addresses is beneficial both to their studies and their practice. A discussion of why this application was developed for mobile phones will be given. This will be followed by a description of its development, including the rationale for including the various stages of practice. The presentation concludes with a report on progress to date, feedback from current students who have had the opportunity to work with the application and plans for future work.


Remodeling science education

David Hestenes


Radical reform in science and mathematics education is needed to prepare citizens for challenges of the emerging knowledge-based global economy. We consider definite proposals to establish: (1) Standards of science and math literacy for all students. (2) Integration of the science curriculum with structure of matter, energy, models and modeling as unifying themes. (3) Pedagogy promoting scientific inquiry and argumentation. (4) Sustained professional development and support for teachers. (5) Institutional support from local universities for continuous upgrades in curriculum and teaching practices. Physics plays a central role in all these reforms.


Research university faculty members’ motivation to engage in teaching professional development

Jana L. Bouwma-Gearhart


Research into the effectiveness of teaching professional development (TPD) for postsecondary faculty has seen substantial growth over the last 40 years; yet little is known about faculty motivation to participate. Even less is known about how to best meet the needs of faculty at research universities and why, given that they are seldom required to engage in TPD, these faculty members bother to participate. This paper reports on the motivations of science and engineering faculty to engage in TPD at a major U.S. research university. Faculty members were motivated to engage in TPD to bring their teaching identities in better concordance with their professional roles as researchers. Once engaged in TPD they increased their competence with respect to their teaching practice. With continued engagement they internalized the values and practices associated with effective TPD. These results seem to confirm premises of self-determination theory.


Role and effect of reproducible computing technology in statistics learning

Patrick Wessa Ed van Stee


This paper describes a new educational technology (hosted at and that supports non-rote statistics learning based on electronic documents (“Compendia”) that allow students to reproduce and reuse computations. It is explained why the acceptance of this new technology is important and how this relates to usability and student satisfaction. Furthermore it is described how reproducible computing plays various roles in the learning process that leads to true understanding (of statistics). Some guidelines are provided that can be used by the educator to improve learning environments based on reproducible computing. Finally, this new technology allows us to objectively measure various types of actual learning-related activities that are otherwise unobservable. These measurements open the prospect of new types of research without the need to resort to reported measurements that can be shown to be highly misleading.


Science experiments for communities of distance learners

David J. Robinson and Stephen J. Swithenby


A longstanding challenge for distance educators has been to provide a meaningful experience of science experiments. The difficulty is not only a matter of accessing equipment but also of framing the valuable social and collaborative experience that students enjoy in conventional laboratory settings. In this paper we describe the development of a module that allows individual students working at a distance to collaborate in groups carry out simple but significant scientific experiments and acquire transferrable and professional experimental skills. Developing suitable experiments appropriate in a global distance learning environment is very different from devising a laboratory-based experiment. We report the results of a pilot with a small group of students, tested against the criteria for successful on-line collaborative experiments we have set for the new module.


Student understanding of thermal physics concepts and the underlying mathematics in the upper division

John R. Thompson, Warren M. Christensen, Evan B. Pollock, Brandon R. Bucy and Donald B. Mountcastle


As part of our continuing study into student understanding of thermodynamics, we explore student understanding of the mathematical concepts required for productive reasoning about advanced thermal physics. We probe mathematical understanding by analysis of student performance, both before and after instruction, to physics questions as well as to analogous questions stripped of physics context. Our focus has been in two main areas: interpretation of P-V diagrams, which require an understanding of integration, and material properties and the Maxwell relations, which involve partial differentiation. We find that in some cases, difficulties with the physics concepts appear to have roots in the prerequisite maths; in others, students perform the mathematical operations easily, but have difficulty understanding the mathematical and/or physical significance of their work, even after instruction. Recently we have extended our research to include assessment of the mathematical concepts at the end of the prerequisite multivariable calculus module.


Students’ understanding of basic physics concepts of Newton’s laws of motion at the UAE University

Ehab Malkawi, N. Qamhieh, and I. M. Obaidat


We have investigated the understanding level of some basic physics concepts of force and motion by students taking the introductory physics course in Mechanics at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). We have developed a short research-based multiple-choice test where we were able to extract some information about the state of knowledge of the students. In general, the students were found to have a poor understanding of the subject. The results of the test have been analyzed by using a mathematical function known as the concentration factor C.


Teachers’ beliefs, attitudes and intentions about using Geometer’s Sketchpad in their mathematics classroom

Gerrit Stols and Jeanne Kriek


In this study, we sought to examine the influence of grade 10 to 12 mathematics teachers’ beliefs on their intention and actual usage of Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) in their classrooms. The theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and the innovation diffusion theory (IDT) were used to examine the influences of teachers’ attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control on their intention to use GSP in their classrooms. The study adopted the co-relational research design. Both correlation statistics and regression analyses were used to analyse the data. By using stepwise regression analyses it was possible to identify the most important belief predictors and their weights for the different constructs. This study found that the beliefs about the perceived usefulness in combination with the beliefs about the level of technology proficiency are the most important predictors of teachers’ use of Geometer’s Sketchpad.


Teaching and learning science: Disciplinary knowledge and representation

Cedric Linder


This presentation forms part of the continually expanding research work that is aimed at improving learning outcomes in science and science related disciplines, and which is directed at informing the development of curriculum and its associated teaching and learning environment. Here, new insights are proposed through an exploration of how a scientific community crafts its particular ways of sharing knowledge and through a related theoretical modelling of the relations between a disciplinary way of knowing, disciplinary discourse, and the modality that identifies the parts of the discipline’s semiotic resources. This modelling is then used to suggest implications that arise for teacher craft-knowledge.


Teaching and learning the concept of energy at 14 years old

Paula Heron, Marisa Michelini and Alberto Stefanel


The concept of energy plays a key role in science, and is a basic concept in all school science curricula. It is often introduced in the middle school prevalently considering its relation to social uses, without a coherent treatment of its scientific meaning. This is the main approach adopted in the Italian textbooks. Energy is seen as a not well-defined physical quantity, which is used, destroyed, conserved only in specific system. When these ideas become stronger, it is very difficult to reconstruct pupil conceptions. To tackle this problem, an instructional sequence about energy transformation was proposed and implemented in a middle school in Italy. The sequence proposes the experimental exploration of simple processes using energy as a way to look at phenomena. The rational of the instructional sequence and the main results of the school experimentation are here discussed.


Teaching science and mathematics subjects using the Excel spreadsheet package

Dogan Ibrahim


The teaching of scientific subjects usually require laboratories where students can put the theory they have learned into practice. Traditionally, electronic programmable calculators, dedicated software, or expensive software simulation packages, such as MATLAB have been used to simulate scientific experiments. Recently, spreadsheet programs have replaced the electronic calculators and are now widely used by science, engineering and mathematics education in modelling and solving complex problems. One of the advantages of a spreadsheet application in science education is that a given problem can easily be modelled and then simulated with varying parameters. The change of the output can then easily be displayed in graphical format as the simulation progresses. This paper describes how spreadsheet programs such as the Microsoft Excel can be used in simulation. Examples are given in the paper for mathematics and physics teaching.


Teaching the inquiry approach in the chemistry laboratory and its contribution to teacher's professional development

Dorit Taitelbaum, Rachel Mamlok-Naaman and Avi Hofstein


This study is a part of a bi-national program (with King's College London) in which a continuous professional development (CPD) program was tried in six different domains. The main goal of the study was to investigate the professional development along time, of chemistry teachers who were involved in this program. We focused on teachers who implemented an inquiry-type approach in the classroom laboratory, for the first time. The teachers' development was followed by protocols assembled in a portfolio that was used to demonstrate evidence-based practice in the inquiry-based chemistry laboratory. Fourteen experienced chemistry teachers participated in a workshop. Several teachers were videotaped, and were interviewed immediately after the laboratory session. In this paper we will elaborate on a case-study of one teacher – Judy, which demonstrates the challenges and the comprehensive change in the way of teaching and in perceiving the role of teachers in the laboratory.


Technicians’ perceptions of their role in a science department

Jannet Robinson


Technicians in a science faculty are frequently described as ‘the most important people in the department’ and ‘we couldn’t do without them’ yet there appears to be a gap between these statements and the technicians’perceptions of their working roles. They are frequently left feeling frustrated and underused as they feel that their talents and considerable qualifications are not being recognised in the school setting. When some of these technicians were interviewed about their roles in a science department there was a almost total unanimity in their feelings, within a sample of different schools. The schools were chosen as ones in which I had built up a working relationship with the technicians, and they felt able to talk to me freely and in with confidence.


Tendencies of the use of visual strategies of preservice mathematics teachers in advanced mathematics

Yasemin Sağlam and Ali Bülbül


The research described in this paper is a part of a wider study. The purpose of this study is to investigate preservice mathematics teachers’ tendencies of using visual strategies in advanced mathematics. The study has been performed with three students from each grade levels (1–5), in total fifteen students in a mathematics teacher-training program at a Turkish university. Semi structured interviews have been conducted with students about their use of visual strategies in terms of lectures they have been attended during their education. The questions they were asked to are in the form of “in which lectures they are using/used visual strategies mostly?, how they use them?, if they don’t use, why?” The results were discussed in terms of grade level and visual strategy using tendencies.


The development and evaluation of second level lessons within the framework of the Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education methodology

Lorraine McCormack, Odilla E. Finlayson and Thomas J.J. McCloughlin


The CASE (Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education) programme was developed in the UK for the 11-14 year age group to encourage higher level thinking, in order for them to better attain the objectives of the curriculum. Prior to this study the successful CASE programme was implemented across the primary and second levels in Ireland and its effects were monitored. The effectiveness of the programme on cognitive development was tested by tasks assessing Piagetian levels. The results of both programmes show increases in formal-operational thought. This study now concentrates on the development and implementation of second level science lessons, central to the CASE methodology- Thinking Science through Topics. Increasing the relevance and density of the use of the CASE methodology beyond stand- alone activities to use within entire topics demanded development of additional resources. Six chemistry and physics topics on the Junior Certificate science course were chosen; materials and lessons were designed in accordance with the CASE methodology- to promote higher order thinking- and subsequently used by five teachers, trained in the use of the cognitive acceleration tools. Results from the cohort indicate that the cognitive levels of the experimental group after the intervention were much greater than that of the control group.


The influence of an in-service training programme on the standard of mathematics education

Trudie Benadé


In South Africa only 4,5% of grade 12 learners passed mathematics on higher grade and 22% on standard grade in 2007 in spite of several in-service training programmes since 1994. This can be attributed to a variety of factors amongst which unmotivated teachers/learners, insufficient subject knowledge of teachers, difficult circumstances in schools. Several attempts have been made to help teachers improve their skills and knowledge through in-service training programmes. This investigation aims to set up a profile of a motivated mathematics teacher from literature. Furthermore the aim is to determine what influence a specific part-time in-service training programme has on the motivation of the teachers in the programme. These teacher’s subject knowledge, self-concept, self-efficiency and attitudes towards change were investigated. The results showed that their motivation was and has remained high and that their subject knowledge has improved. In spite of the fact that they have benefited from this programme, negative factors such as overcrowded classrooms, few/no teaching aids and a lack of safety and discipline in schools influence the attempts of these teachers to teach effectively.


The relationship between students’ behavior in problem-based learning groups and the development of conceptual understanding

Paul Irving, Robert Howard and Brian Bowe


The research described here is ongoing and therefore only preliminary results are presented. The aim of the research presented here is to determine and examine the relationship (if any) between the types and levels of behaviour (actions) within the group learning environment of a physics problem-based learning course and the level of conceptual physics knowledge development. To achieve this it is necessary to first determine the different types and levels of behaviour. Quantitative methods such as the Force Motion Conceptual Evaluation (FMCE), examination marks and continuous assessment marks are used to determine the level of conceptual knowledge development. The different behaviours, as described by the different types and levels of actions and are determined using the qualitative method of observation. In addition, the students’ perceptions of their own behaviour, along with their rationale for this behaviour are obtained using interviews. The first outcome of this study will be qualitative descriptions of the students’ approaches to problem-based learning. These approaches will then be correlated with conceptual knowledge development during the period being observed and to the types and levels of actions a student partook in during this time. The approaches will be correlated with the actions and conceptual knowledge development during the period being observed to inform on the different approaches to learning within a group learning environment associated with deep learning and hence surface learning. Furthermore it will determine the reasons students adopt such approaches and participate with certain actions. This study has been ongoing for 12 months and a preliminary catalogue of actions has been developed for the types and levels of actions students observed when participating in problem-based learning for the mechanics section of a physics course.


The use of motion sensor in the teaching of mathematics

Tine Golež


It is a common paradigm that first, you must learn mathematics and afterwards you can apply it in physics. However, the development of cheap and efficient sensors makes a different approach possible. Fundamentals of calculus can be already introduced earlier during physics lessons. By using a motion sensor device it is easy to obtain plots of position vs. time and velocity vs. time (x(t) and v(t) graphs) of a student walking in front of the sensor or a falling ball movement etc. Further analysis of the graphs shows the relationship between x(t) and v(t). At the age of 16 the students are already capable of analyzing the slope of the tangent on the x(t) graphs and comparing its coefficient to the values on v(t) graphs. This activity is a part of physics lessons (kinematics). Two years later the same measurements are repeated during mathematics lessons. Using these experiments the teaching of calculus becomes more realistic and connected to historical invention of this mathematical tool.


Things that we can learn from praxis: attempts to overcome alienated learning within traditional teaching

Eduardo Sarquis Soares


Despite all criticism in the last decades, traditional mathematical teaching is largely prevalent in Brazil, mostly in schools which attend students from unprivileged social groups. Researchers in sociology of education field have consistently shown that this practice leads students to very restrictive learning processes and then tends to reproduce given social inequities. However in the mathematics education field there have been some alternatives concerning the teaching and learning process, and those alternatives can inspire changes in teaching practice, we would like to avoid a research method that doesn’t suit teachers’ reality. Therefore we decided to do a research inside a classroom, sharing the teacher’s position with the teacher herself, facing the same tensions that she had to face quotidianly. As a result we learned that it is possible to overcome some aspects of traditional teaching without changing the school environment in a very artificial way.


Transforming mathematical content knowledge into mathematical content knowledge for teaching

Mariana Plotz


South African learners underachieve in mathematics. Research shows that many South African mathematics teachers are not adequately qualified to teach mathematics. To improve this situation, retraining of teachers should be a priority. The most pressing problem is the lack of a comprehensive theoretical model that describes how in-service teachers in South-Africa can be retrained to improve their mathematical content knowledge. The researcher address part of this problem by unpacking the term “mathematical content knowledge for teaching” (MCKT) with a view to identify characteristics of this very important kind of knowledge, that mathematics teachers must have. Results from a research study conducted on a group of mathematics teachers shows that teachers’ current mathematical content knowledge states are inadequate for teaching mathematics with understanding.


University students’ perceptions about the laboratory environments and their interactions in a physics laboratory

Cezmi Ünal and Ömer Faruk Özdemir


This study employed qualitative research methods to study university students’ perception about laboratory environments and their interaction in a physics laboratory. It was mainly based on ethnomethodology approach in exploratory and in-depth examination of students’ decision making processes in physics laboratory. For an exploratory examination of students’ interaction, observations were conducted. In addition to them, in-depth interviews were conducted to examine students’ perception about laboratory environments. Analysis of all data was based on content analysis. Findings showed that students regarded the physics laboratory as a beneficial environment for increasing their knowledge and for working in groups.


Use of 3D virtual environments in teaching astronomy and physics

Robert Lucas and Ulrich Kolb


We have developed several 3D graphics applications to support our teaching. Some of these applications create virtual environments. In particular a telescope simulator has been used to introduce students to the controls of a particular telescope that they will then subsequently use at an observatory. Most students have never used a telescope before and find controlling one rather challenging. This results in significant wasted observing time at the observatory. The developed application simulates the sky, the telescope, and the handcontroller. They sky is rendered in a familiar planetarium style. The telescope is a 3-D, fully-animated and textured graphical entity that gives the user the look and feel of the real telescope. The handcontroller works identically to the actual one except within the application it is clicked on with a mouse. This enables the students to gain a familiarity with aligning the telescope before commencing the course. It also allows them to gain a working knowledge of using celestial coordinates and the night sky. This paper describes the simulator and how it has benefitted students.


Using project based learning model at solar energy and applications topic

Hasan Said Tortop and Nuri Ozek


Nowadays, increasing of the utilization of renewable energy resource is due to its economic and developing positive attitude to environment. Turkey is the one of the countries in the world which has potential of solar energy. The teaching of solar energy and applications (SEAs), with new learning strategies and as connected with life, is important for expected goals. The aim of this research is determine the effects of student’s attitudes and achievements which was done project based learning (PBL) model at SEAs topic in high school. Research was conducted with control group and experiment group. While the SEAs topic was being given to control group by traditional method, the topic was given by PBL model the SEAs to experiment group student. The field trip was prepared to The Renewable Energy Resources Center (RERC) at The Suleyman Demirel University. After the field trip the experiment group was prepared project about the SEAs topic. The SEAs Achievement Test (SEAAT) and The Environmental Attitude Scale (EAS) were given both groups, as a pre-test and post-test. Collected data's were evaluated by using SPSS. The results of research, the student’s, who were in PBL model, attitudes and achievements, are more than the student's who were in traditional method was determined. At the results EAS and semi-constructed interviews, the students have developed positive attitude to environment and the SEAs topic.


Using teacher training courses as levers for faculty educational development – an example from the University of Copenhagen

Frederik Voetmann Christiansen, Camilla Rump, Lene Mřller Madsen


This article describes the use of action research elements in a teacher training programme to support faculty educational development. Empirically the article is based on examples from the teacher training programme (TTP) for assistant professors and post-docs at the Faculties of Science, Life Sciences, and Pharmaceutical Sciences (University of Copenhagen). Three examples are described, displaying various levels of generality and impact – from the very specific outcome for a relatively limited group of teachers, to general faculty development initiatives. The first example concerns the development of a set of specific suggestions for developing a course at the Pharmaceutical Faculty. The second example concerns the projects made by assistant professors in relation to the teacher training programme. The third concerns the recent change of grading scale in Denmark, and the faculties’ need to educate staff in relation to this. The article describes the utility and motivational aspects of using such embedded activity research elements and concludes that they can be important elements of faculty educational development.


Web-based enrichment of science learning environments and higher order thinking

Hassan A. El-Sabagh


This paper explores the benefits of web-based environments to enhance science learning for gifted students in order to meet their special capabilities through a variety of enrichment activities. Web-based science learning environment is presented. This environment bases on enrichment activities which encourage students to construct their understanding of science problem, hypothesis testing and promote thinking skills are needed to analyze and synthesize information. Therefore this interactive web-based environment includes differentiated activities in science for seventh-grade students to meet abilities of gifted. These activities consist of concept maps, venn diagrams, semantic webs. Further activities are problem solving learning and decision making in scientific problems in light of cost-benift analysis. This environment also allows gifted to create different learning situations supported with feedback. The strategy focuses on given experiences as an appropriate acceleration-based options. Impact of the Web-based enrichment science learning environment (WESLE) on science concepts learning with emphasis on higher order thinking for gifted is discussed.


What exactly do prospective secondary mathematics teachers understand from angle measurement?

Hilal Gülkılık and Hasan Hüseyin Uğurlu


Angle concept has been taken on different meanings in its historical development (Keiser, 2004). In this respect, the measuring of it is a challenging task, due to various definition of the angle. The purpose of this study is to investigate what exactly prospective secondary mathematics teachers understand from angle measurement? Five prospective secondary mathematics teachers were choosen to purposeful sampling for the aim of this work and phenomenography used for the design of the study. The data analysed with content analysis in which participants’ point of views were categorized, compared and interpreted. At the end of the analysis it is observed that prospective secondary mathematics teachers’ responses about angle concept are consistent with these three categories: a quantity, a quality or a relationship. The understandings of the angle measurement of them related to these categories. Also, results revealed that prospective secondary mathematics teachers’ representations about an angle were limited to their pre-university familiarity.


YASS: A system simulator for operating system and computer architecture teaching and learning

Besim Mustafa


A highly interactive, integrated and multi-level simulator has been developed specifically to support both the teachers and the learners of modern computer technologies at undergraduate level. The simulator provides a highly visual and user configurable environment with many pedagogical features aimed at facilitating deep understanding of concepts which are often difficult to grasp by the students. The rational behind the development is explained and the main features of the simulator are described. A brief account of the ways in which the simulator has been used to support undergraduate lectures and tutorials is given. The current state of the research in assessing and evaluating the value of the simulations at undergraduate level is presented.