Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Reflections on implementing a constructivist approach in teaching magnetism : a case study of a fifth… Gammon, Janice Maureen 1987

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1987_A8 G35.pdf [ 5.15MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0097258.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0097258-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0097258-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0097258-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0097258-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0097258-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0097258-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0097258-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0097258.ris

Full Text

Reflections on Implementing a Constructivlst Approach In Teaching Magnetism: A Case Study o£ a F i f t h Grade Classroom by Janice Maureen Gammon B.Ed., The University o£ B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in The FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Mathematics and Science Education We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE © UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 1987 Janice Maureen Gammon,1987 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of S c i e n c e / M a t h E d u c a t i o n The University of British Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 n a t . O c t o b e r 1 2 , 1 9 8 7 DE-6(3/81) ABSTRACT Children have prior knowledge, or mini-theories about science topics presented at school before being formally taught that i s constructed from th e i r everyday experiences. Teachers generally do not take t h i s knowledge Into consideration in the planning of science units and are often confused about why their students f a i l to learn. Hewson (1983) suggests that students w i l l experience conceptual change only i f i t is i n t e l l i g i b l e , plausible, and f r u i t f u l and that prior knowledge, which is often an alternate conception of a s c i e n t i f i c idea, must be challenged or c l a r i f i e d . Schon (1984) claims that teachers need to r e f l e c t on their actions in order to understand their own as well as thei r students* "constructed worlds". He suggests that teachers, when they r e f l e c t , become their own researchers. This case study examines how I, a teacher/researcher, adopted a c o n s t r u c t l v l s t perspective towards teaching a unit in magnetism and how the students responded. Vignettes of selected Incidents t e l l the story of the d i f f i c u l t i e s that my students had learning some of the concepts of magnetism and how I reacted to the knowledge that they were having d i f f i c u l t y . The unit in magnetism was taught to my class of thirty-two students (10/11 year olds) at an elementary - I l l -school in a community in B r i t i s h Columbia using a c o n s t r u c t i v l s t teaching sequence developed by Driver (1986).The lessons in magnetism were video-taped and both the students and I kept a journal. To e l i c i t students' ideas about magnetism a diagnostic test was given at the beginning of the unit. A continuing record of students ideas was kept throughout the study and at the end a post diagnostic test was given to see which, i f any, alternate conceptions pers ist e d . It was found that teaching with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach had i t s ' d i f f i c u l t i e s . Reflecting, for myself and my students, took practice and taking students' ideas Into consideration, both in the planning and teaching stages, may have taken more time than many teachers have av a i l a b l e . However, the knowledge that I gained about my students' b e l i e f s , through the process of r e f l e c t i n g , was valuable in planning lessons that both challenged and c l a r i f i e d the students' alternate conceptions. Teachers are recommended to take their students' ideas into consideration in lesson planning and to use a c t i v i t i e s that w i l l encourage conceptual change. However, teachers should consider the time factor and the d i f f i c u l t i e s in r e f l e c t i n g before using a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach in teaching science. - i v -TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i L i s t of figures v i i i Acknowledgements ix Chapter Qne 1. Introduction 1 11. Background to problem 2 111. Statement of research problem 4 A. General problem area 4 B. S p e c i f i c research questions 5 IV. Research Design 6 V. Educational Significance 8 Chapter Two 1. Introduction to current research 10 11. Constructivist perspectives 11 A. Childrens' ideas 12 B. Conceptual change 15 111. Reflective practice 18 IV. Teaching implications for a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective in the classroom 19 A. Constructivist teaching approaches 20 B. The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence 21 V. Summary 24 - v -C h a p t e r T h r e e 1. I n t r o d u c t i o n 26 1 1 . B a c k g r o u n d t o methods 26 A. T e a c h e r s a s r e s e a r c h e r s 27 111. The u n i t - "Magnets and C o m p a s s e s " 28 I V . The t e a c h i n g a p p r o a c h 30 A. B a c k g r o u n d 30 B. The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e 32 V. D a t a c o l l e c t i o n 33 A. M e t h o d s o f d a t a c o l l e c t i o n 33 1. V i d e o t a p i n g 33 2. T e a c h e r j o u r n a l s 35 3. S t u d e n t j o u r n a l s 36 4. D i a g n o s t i c t e s t s 36 V I . S o c i a l c o n t e x t 37 A. The s e t t i n g 37 B. The t e a c h e r 39 C. The s t u d e n t s 41 V l l . A n a l y s i s o f d a t a 41 C h a p t e r F o u r 1. I n t r o d u c t i o n 43 1 1 . S t u d e n t s ' p r i o r b e l i e f s a b o u t m a g n e t i s m 45 111. V i g n e t t e s 49 A. M a r i a s ' A t t r a c t i o n - m a g n e t i c s h i e l d s 51 B. P a r t i c l e s G a l o r e - m a k i n g magnets 55 C. To The F o r g e - w e a k e n i n g magnets 58 - v i -D. One Pole? - magnetic f i e lds 6 3 E . Rogers' Islands - magnetic north 67 IV. Evaluat ing student be l i e f s about magnetism 71 V. Students' current b e l i e f s about magnetism 75 A. Student p r o f i l e s 76 V I . Summary 88 Chapter Five 1. Introduction 90 11. Influence of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence on students 91 A. E l i c i t i n g student's ideas 92 1. Pre - t e s t ing 92 2. Journals 94 3. Class d iscuss ion 97 B. Restructuring of ideas 98 1. C o n f l i c t s i tua t ions 9.8 2. Sharing ideas 101 3. Coming to consensus 102 C. App l i ca t ion of ideas 103 D. Ref lec t ion 104 E . The notion of ownership 105 111. Influence of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on the teacher 108 A. Adopting a new approach 109 B. Problems of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teacher 112 1. Challenging ideas 112 2. Time 113 - v i i -3. Lack of resources 113 C. The role of r e f l e c t i o n 114 IV. Conclusions 116 V. Implications of the study 121 A. Implications for teaching 121 B. Implications for further research 126 References 128 Appendices Al Example of diagnostic test 131 - v l i i -LIST OF FIGURES Fi g u r e 1 Student drawings o£ magnetic f i e l d s 50 Fi g u r e 2 Student drawings of broken magnetic f i e l d s 50 F i g u r e 3 Marias' heated magnet 77 F i g u r e 4 Marias' magnetized compass needle 77 F i g u r e 5 Lanas 1 magnetized compass needle 83 Fi g u r e 6 Rogers' broken magnet 83 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Many friends and family members have given t h e i r support and advice during the writing o£ this t h e s i s . Without the support and cooperation of the P r i n c i p a l , Mr. Roger Fox, and the s t a f f of Gleneagles Elementary School th i s study would not have been possible. I am p a r t i c u l a r l y grateful to the grade five students who showed great enthusiasm for the unit on magnetism. I would l i k e to say a special thank you to Dr. G. Erickson, for his interest and encouragement in tryin g something new, to Dr. R. C a r l i s l e , for reading the draft and asking some searching questions, to Allan McKinnon for video taping a l l the sessions and to Dr. J. Easley who planted the idea of doing my own research. F i n a l l y , and most importantly, thank you to my husband Gareth who bore the brunt o£ my moans and groans right to the end. -1-CHAPTER ONE 1. I n t r o d u c t i o n The f o l l o w i n g c a s e s t u d y i s b a s e d upon an i d e a t h a t i s w i d e l y h e l d among s c i e n c e e d u c a t i o n r e s e a r c h e r s , t h a t c h i l d r e n p o s e s s p r i o r knowledge t h a t t h e y b r i n g t o l e a r n i n g and t h a t t h i s knowledge a f f e c t s how t h e y l e a r n . The s t u d y Is a l s o b a s e d on t h e s u g g e s t i o n t h a t t e a c h e r s who a r e aware t h a t t h e i r s t u d e n t s p o s e s s t h i s p r i o r knowledge c a n b e t t e r p l a n a c t i v i t i e s t o f u r t h e r s t u d e n t l e a r n i n g . T h i s s t u d y was c a r r i e d o u t i n a B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a e l e m e n t a r y s c h o o l , w i t h a v e r a g e a b i l i t y f i f t h g r a d e s t u d e n t s by m y s e l f i n my own c l a s s r o o m . The p r i m a r y o b j e c t i v e o f t h e s t u d y was t o document c h i l d r e n s ' b e l i e f s a b o u t m a g n e t i s m and how I r e s p o n d e d t o t h o s e b e l i e f s . B e c a u s e t h i s c a s e s t u d y was c a r r i e d o u t i n my own c l a s s r o o m o v e r a s p e c i f i c p e r i o d o f t i m e c a u t i o n must be e x e r c i z e d i n g e n e r a l i z i n g t o o t h e r g r a d e f i v e c l a s s r o o m s . However t h e c o n c e p t a r e a and t h e p e d a g o g i c a l p r o b l e m s a d d r e s s e d a r e a p p l i c a b l e t o c u r r e n t i s s u e s i n s c i e n c e e d u c a t i o n . The s t u d y i s p r e s e n t e d i n f i v e c h a p t e r s . The f i r s t c h a p t e r c o n s i d e r s t h e major i s s u e s a d d r e s s e d i n t h e s t u d y . A r e v i e w o f t h e c u r r e n t r e s e a r c h on c h i l d r e n s ' p r i o r k n owledge, t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f c o n s t r u c t i v i s m , r e f l e c t i v e p r a c t i c e and t h e c o n s t r u c t i v i s t a p p r o a c h i n t h e c l a s s r o o m i s -2-presented. In the t h i r d chapter the background to the case, and the methods used to c o l l e c t and analyze the data, is addressed. The fourth chapter presents vignettes that highlight the problems that students' experienced while studying magnetism. F i n a l l y , in chapter f i v e , a summary of the effects of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on both students and teacher, and further implications of the study are given. 11. Background to problem Before children are faced with a formal science curriculum in school they have already been exposed to what Claxton (1982) c a l l s "gut" science, f i r s t hand explorations and Interactions with the environment, and "lay" science, founded in language, family, community and the media. He claims that when children make sense of a s i t u a t i o n they develop mini-theories based upon these personal experiences. By the time "school" science is introduced the average c h i l d already possesses much knowledge, and holds many b e l i e f s . The science curriculum, while they give, on the whole, a clear presentation of the conventional s c i e n t i f i c theories, they do not take into account the childrens' mini-theories that often pe r s i s t after teaching, (smith and Andrson, 1982). - 3 -Several research groups such as Anderson and Smith (1982), who investigated textbooks, teacher guides, and teacher planning, t r i e d to develop materials that take into account both childrens' mini-theories and those of the s c i e n t i f i c community. Driver (1986), who is currently working on an approach to reconstruct the science curriculum, Is In the process of trying to design a teaching sequence that encourages teachers to consider childrens' mini-theories and that suggests ways to restructure them. The Children's Learning in Science Project (Driver,1986), which adopted an approach to implementing a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective that takes childrens' prior b e l i e f s into consideration in curriculum planning, has worked with a group of teachers to produce and evaluate teaching approaches using a c y c l i c a l process of teaching, monitoring, r e f l e c t i n g , and r e v i s i n g . According to Driver, the teachers in the Children's Learning in Science Project have generally valued their involvement with the research group but the teaching that happened in t h e i r classrooms was interpreted by participant observers not the teachers and f a i l e d to take into consideration the teachers' b e l i e f s of how t h e i r classrooms work and how their students think. Easley (1982) suggests that from any position in the classroom an observer/researcher tends to see the student's perspective better than the teacher's perspective. He claims -4-t h a t " o n l y b y b e c o m i n g t h e t e a c h e r f o r a t i m e c a n t h e r e s e a r c h e r s e e what t h e t e a c h e r s e e s b e t t e r t h a n he s e e s what t h e p u p i l s s e e " ( p . 1 9 7 ) . I t I s w i t h i n t h e a b o v e c o n t e x t t h a t i t seems n e c e s s a r y f o r t e a c h e r s t o c o n d u c t t h e i r own r e s e a r c h i n o r d e r t h a t t h o s e who i n t e r p r e t t h a t r e s e a r c h f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f c l a s s r o o m a p p l i c a t i o n g e t a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f how t e a c h e r s v i e w t h e i r c l a s s r o o m o p e r a t i o n a n d s t u d e n t s t h i n k i n g . T h i s t h e s i s w i l l p r e s e n t a c a s e s t u d y , f r o m a my own p e r s p e c t i v e , t h a t d o c u m e n t s t h e b e l i e f s t h a t e l e m e n t a r y c h i l d r e n h o l d a b o u t m a g n e t i s m , and how I r e s p o n d e d t o them. 111. S t a t e m e n t o f r e s e a r c h p r o b l e m A. G e n e r a l p r o b l e m a r e a The c l a s s r o o m t e a c h e r who u n d e r s t a n d s t h a t c h i l d r e n ' s m i n i - t h e o r i e s , o r a l t e r n a t e c o n c e p t i o n s , c a n i n f l u e n c e t h e i r l e a r n i n g has t o be p r e p a r e d t o r e s p o n d t o s t u d e n t s ' i d e a s w i t h a p p r o p r i a t e a c t i v i t i e s a nd c h a l l e n g e s . A t t h e same t i m e t e a c h e r s n e e d t o r e c o g n i z e t h a t t h e i r own a l t e r n a t e c o n c e p t i o n s , o f s c i e n c e c o n c e p t s and o f how c h i l d r e n l e a r n , may i n f l u e n c e how t h e y r e s p o n d t o t h e i r s t u d e n t s and t h a t c o n s t a n t r e f l e c t i o n on t h e i r own a c t i o n s and d e c i s i o n s made i n i n s t r u c t i o n a l p l a n n i n g , i s r e q u i r e d . -5-Schon (1983) captured t h i s requirement very n i c e l y when he wrote "The practitioner recognizes that his actions may have d i f f e r e n t meanings for the c l i e n t than he intends them to have and gives himself the task of discovering what these are" (p.295). In educational research the "constructed worlds" of both the researcher (in this case myself) and observed (the students) need to be accounted for. This research project addressed as one general question: How does a classroom teacher adopt a co n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective towards the teaching of a unit about magnets and compasses? B. Sp e c i f i c research questions The general problem is by nature, a very complex one and several s p e c i f i c questions need to be addressed: 1. What are the students' b e l i e f s about magnetism before formal teaching? 2. How do students' alternate conceptions of magnetism interact with their conceptual understanding of magnetism? 3. What are some e f f e c t i v e teaching strategies a classroom teacher can use to u t i l i z e students' alternate conceptions of magnetism? 4. What role does teacher and student r e f l e c t i o n play in a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching magnetism? -6-While the l a s t question is the most complex i t is the primary focus of t h i s study. Reflection-in-action " i s the recognition that one's expertise is a way of looking at something which was once constructed and may be reconstructed and there is both readiness and competence to explore i t s ' meaning in the experience of the c l i e n t " (Schon,1983, p.296). The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching implies that the teacher, as well as the student, has the opportunity to r e f l e c t on and compare ideas. The case study w i l l document how my students' responded to a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence through my own r e f l e c t i n g . IV. Research design "When someone r e f l e c t s - i n - a c t i o n , he becomes a researcher in the practice content. He is not dependent on the categories of established theory and techmique, but constructs a new theory of the unique case." (Schon,1983.p.68) The research project occurred in my classroom at a school in an urban school d i s t r i c t in the Vancouver metropolitan area. My intent was to present a case study r e f l e c t i n g how I applied a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective to teaching a unit c a l l e d "Magnets and Compasses", outlined in the textbook S.T.E.M. (Rockcastle et al.1977), and of how the students responded to the i n s t r u c t i o n . -7-Based on Schon's (1983) notion that "when a practitioner does not r e f l e c t on his own inquiry he keeps his i n t u i t i v e understandings t a c i t and is inattentive to the li m i t s of his scope of r e f l e c t i v e attention" I made the decision to become a researcher of my own teaching s i t u a t i o n . An e f f o r t was made to increase trustworthiness of the data c o l l e c t i o n and analysis through the use of: an observer, video tapes, diagnostic tests, student journals, and a teacher journal. After each of the teaching periods I held a debriefing session with an observer, who was filming my teaching, to express concerns and successes that came as a re s u l t of the lesson. The unit began and ended with a diagnostic test designed to seek out students' alternate conceptions of five major concepts of magnetism presented in the S.T.E.M. 5 unit "Magnets and Compasses". The intent of the post diagnostic test was to determine i f and how the students' o r i g i n a l b e l i e f s of magnetism had changed and what the persistent conceptions of magnetism were, i f any. The format of the in s t r u c t i o n a l method loosely followed that developed by The Childrens' Learning in Science Project (Driver,198G), and emphasis was placed on group learning. Following an orientation period the f i r s t Instructional a c t i v i t y e l i c i t e d and recorded students' ideas that were kept for later r e f l e c t i o n . The next a c t i v i t y included the c l a r i f i c a t i o n and exchange of ideas through small group -8-t a s k s , exposure to c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n s , c o n s t r u c t i o n of new ideas, and e v a l u a t i o n . Students were then encouraged to app l y and use t h e i r ideas by d e s i g n i n g "experiments" and by problem s o l v i n g . The e n t i r e c l a s s was i n c l u d e d i n the r e s e a r c h but the case study focusses on s e l e c t e d students who found the l e a r n i n g of the concepts presented d i f f i c u l t or who demonstrated a p e r s i s t e n t a l t e r n a t e c o n c e p t i o n . My i n t e r a c t i o n s with these students were a l s o documented and are d i s c u s s e d i n chapter f o u r . V. E d u c a t i o n a l s i g n i f i c a n c e The " t h i c k d e s c r i p t i o n " and i n t e r p r e t i v e e f f o r t of e x p l a i n i n g the complex context of a classroom i s best done through an ethnographic approach such as the case study. (Magoon, 1977). c l e a r l y such a study does not a l l o w the res e a r c h e r to make g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s to other t e a c h i n g s i t u a t i o n s , nonetheless i t can make a s i g n i f i c a n t c o n t r i b u t i o n to e d u c a t i o n a l p r a c t i c e and f u r t h u r r e s e a r c h i n t h i s important a r e a . One of the reasons t h a t teachers do not c o n s i d e r e d u c a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h r e l e v a n t Is because the re s e a r c h e r i s not viewing classroom p r a c t i c e from the t e a c h e r s ' p o i n t of view ( E a s l e y , 1982). Case s t u d i e s done of classroom s i t u a t i o n s by teachers w i l l add a new dimension to -9-e d u c a t l o n a l r e s e a r c h t h a t may make r e s e a r c h more a c c e p t a b l e t o t e a c h e r s . Schon (1983) argues t h a t w i t h the i n c r e a s i n g c r i s i s of c o n f i d e n c e i n the p r o f e s s i o n s i t i s i m p o r t a n t t h a t t e a c h e r s b e g i n t o c h a l l e n g e the p r e v a i l i n g knowledge s t r u c t u r e of t h e i r s c h o o l s t h r o u g h r e f l e c t i v e t e a c h i n g i n o r d e r t o b u i l d a l e a r n i n g system t h a t i s a b l e t o w i t h s t a n d c o n s t a n t c r i t i c i s m and change. He s u g g e s t s t h a t d e s c r i p t i o n s and a n a l y s i s of cases a r e needed t o h e l p b u i l d a r e p e r t o i r e of the p r a c t i t i o n e r s s i t u a t i o n s . R esearch on c o n s t r u c t i v i s m i s s t i l l i n i t ' s e a r l y s t a g e s and l i t t l e r e s e a r c h has been conducted i n the e l e m e n t a r y c l a s s r o o m on the e f f e c t s of a p p l i c a t i o n of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e on t e a c h i n g s c i e n c e c o n c e p t s . T h i s r e s e a r c h p r o j e c t w i l l add t o t h i s growing body of knowledge. -10-CHAPTER TWO 1. Introduction to current research Since the early 1970's a large number of researchers have t r i e d to i d e n t i f y the views that children hold of various concepts in science (Driver and Easley, 1978). often these views are d i f f e r e n t from those held by s c i e n t i s t s and attempts have been i n i t i a t e d to find ways to encourage conceptual change (Hewson, 1981; Posner et a l , 1982). The curriculum, while perhaps giving a clear presentation of conventional s c i e n t i f i c theories, does not consider the ideas that children bring to the learning s i t u a t i o n . Thus teachers frequently wonder why so many concepts taught in science are so d i f f i c u l t for children to learn. Several research groups, (Anderson and Smith, 1982; Driver, 1985; Nussbaum and Novick, 1982; Osborne, 1985) have been working on curriculum materials, teaching strategies, and teaching models to help teachers make science concepts more comprehensible to students. This chapter is divided into three major sections, beginning with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t view of childrens* ideas and the theory of conceptual change as outlined by several researchers. The idea of r e f l e c t i v e practice, as suggested by Donald Schon, (1985) is then reviewed with some p a r a l l e l s drawn to a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t model of teaching science as outlined by Driver, (1986). F i n a l l y , a review o£ current -11-c o n s t r u c t i v i s t research in elementary classrooms w i l l be discussed along with an interpretation of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence. 11. Constructivist perspectives Magoon (1977) states that a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective towards knowledge and behaviour assumes that people are knowing beings and that t h e i r knowledge influences t h e i r behaviour. It also assumes that behaviour must have a purpose so that complex behaviour, such as teaching and learning, cannot be studied without accounting for meaning. He further suggests that a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective assumes humans are s o c i a l beings that can organize knowledge and understand complex communication. As a r e s u l t of his views Magoon suggests that educational research take an ethnographic approach that includes a "thick description" and an interpretation of some of the complex issues which are a part of schooling. Research, prior to the 1980's, has l a r g e l y f a i l e d to take into consideration how both teachers and students construct and interpret their s i t u a t i o n . "The claim is made that a s i g n i f i c a n t part of the context of behaviour that educational researchers observe I s a structure produced by the constructions of the observed subject" (Magoon, 1977, p.686) . - 1 2 -To understand how students and teachers might adopt a method of l e a r n i n g and t e a c h i n g t h a t takes t h e i r c o n s t r u c t e d worlds i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n i t i s necessary to understand the b a s i s f o r s t u d e n t s ' and t e a c h e r s ' b e l i e f systems and how or why these systems may or may not change. A, childrens' ideas The n o t i o n t h a t students have knowledge or perso n a l b e l i e f s t h a t may be i n t e r f e r i n g with t h e i r c onceptual understanding of s c i e n c e concepts i s not a new one and r e s e a r c h e r s have been working on the problem f o r many y e a r s . Current l i t e r a t u r e r e v e a l s t h a t d i f f e r e n t r e s e a r c h e r s , g r a p p l i n g with the same problem, r e f e r to "students' b e l i e f s " with a v a r i e t y of d i f f e r e n t l a b e l s and make many suggestions t h a t have l e d to the development o£ a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g sequence. David Hawkins, (1978) c a l l s i t a " c r i t i c a l b a r r i e r phenomena" when students f a i l to a s s i m i l a t e elementary s c i e n c e concepts. Concepts may,In f a c t , be p a r t l y a s s i m i l a t e d but do not prove r e t r i e v a b l e or a p p l i c a b l e In new s i t u a t i o n s . Students' ideas, c o n s t r u c t e d from t h e i r everyday experiences, may i n t e r a c t i n s e v e r a l ways with c u r r e n t accepted s c i e n c e t h e o r i e s c r e a t i n g a c o n f l i c t . Hawkins su g g e s t i o n , however, t h a t s t u d e n t s ' ideas are b a r r i e r s to l e a r n i n g may be onl y p a r t i a l l y c o r r e c t as other r e s e a r c h e r s -13-are suggesting that students' ideas may also be building blocks (Claxton,1982). Claxton refers to the personal theories or b e l i e f s that students have as "mini-theories" that stem from a need to make sense of and to act on new sit u a t i o n s . He claims that these m i n i - t h e o r i e s , which are a product- of the n a t u r a l experimenting that children do outside of the school set t i n g , gradually change through learning and become broader. Each theory is defined by a domain of experience and triggered by one of four learning experiences: Extension: when a mini- theory applied to an event works. Withdrawal: when a mini- theory does not work. Engulfing: when a mini-theory turns out to be part of a more general case. Abstraction: when separate mini-theories contain a sub - theory. Reconciliation - an overlap of several mini-theories that generate c o n f l i c t . Claxtons' view of mini-theories seems to suggest that understanding the types of ideas that students' have may help teachers decide how to approach the teaching of a certain concept. He further suggests that teachers spend more time l i s t e n i n g to what students are thinking about rather than spending time t e l l i n g students what to think. In so doing, i t should provide an opportunity for mini-theories - 1 4 -to be subsumed by school science, claxton also warns that teachers must use tact, understanding and respect when approaching students' sometimes cherished b e l i e f s i f change is to occur. Champagne, Gunstone, and Klopfer, (1983) claim that people young and old have personal b e l i e f systems for explaining s c i e n t i f i c phenomena. These explanatory systems or b e l i e f s (which they refer to as naive conceptions) d i f f e r from those students are expected to learn. They show consistency across diverse populations, a b i l i t i e s and n a t i o n a l i t i e s and are resis t a n t to change. Naive conceptions are sometimes found in the pure state but generally their ideas are contaminated by schooling. For example, students may say, "Magnets are attracted to an object because of gravity p u l l i n g at i t . " It i s not the students' lack of prior knowledge that makes learning some science concepts so d i f f i c u l t but rather their c o n f l i c t i n g knowledge. It has been suggested by several of the above researchers that a Socratic teaching method that requires students to deal with c o n f l i c t situations be used when working with students' naive conceptions. Students would be expected to construct frameworks that stand up to any c r i t i c i s m s received from their p a r t i c i p a t i o n in dialogue. -15-Driver and Erlckson (1983) suggest that researchers have had d i f f i c u l t y in defining frameworks. Some view frameworks as individual constructs while others describe them as a combination of Ideas shared by many students. However they are defined, an important factor for learning d i f f i c u l t i e s i s the reluctance or i n a b i l i t y of students to change or a l t e r their frameworks In favour of school science. The suggestion is made that "the extent to which students have to modify or fundamentally reorganize their ideas w i l l depend on the nature of the i r prior experiences of phenomena relevant to a topic", (p.49) The source for frameworks are sensory and l i n g u i s t i c experiences. Subject matter areas which are r i c h in these experiences, such as mechanics, heat, and temperature, generally r e s u l t in stable frameworks and are more l i k e l y to be resist a n t to change. As suggested in thi s study, magnetism f i t s Into the category of stable frameworks. B. Conceptual change It has been suggested that alternate frameworks that are stable are generally resistant to change and a concerted e f f o r t i s needed to change them to a s c i e n t i f i c way of thinking. Hewson (1981) states that conceptual change can happen in several ways: an addition of new conceptions through personal development, contact with other people or further -16-experiences; a reorganization o£ ex i s t i n g conceptions or as a r e j e c t i o n of some exis t i n g conception. After being presented with a new concept a person could reject i t outright or incorporate i t into an ex i s t i n g framework. The concept could be memorized by rote and so not interfere at a l l with e x i s t i n g b e l i e f s , i t could be captured and reconciled with exi s t i n g b e l i e f s or the concept could be exchanged with an exis t i n g b e l i e f and then be reconciled with the remaining conceptions. A conceptual exchange model, developed by Hewson (1981) and Posner, et a l (1982), is based on the notion that "learning may involve changing a person's conceptions rather than adding new knowledge to what is already there." The conceptual exchange model suggests four conditions that must exist before a learner can successfully Integrate a new concept into e x i s t i n g knowledge. F i r s t , there must be d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with an exis t i n g concept. Secondly, the new conception must be i n t e l l i g i b l e although i t does not have to be believable. Thirdly, the learner must not only understand what the new concept means but must believe It to be plausible or p o t e n t i a l l y true. F i n a l l y , the new conception must be f r u i t f u l p a r t i c u l a r l y i f the learner is giving up an exist i n g b e l i e f which worked to their s a t i s f a c t i o n . The Hewsons do not suggest s p e c i f i c a c t i v i t e s that could be used by teachers but the conceptual change model does provide strategies that could be applied to conceptual -17-change teaching. For example i t is suggested that the teacher begin with a diagnosis o£ the students' b e l i e f s as a necessary prerequisite. Then integration should be pursued in order to reconcile two c o n f l i c t i n g conceptions. When two cl o s e l y related science concepts are confused then d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n is needed to c l e a r l y define meaning i f c o n f l i c t i s to occur. An example of this is when students confuse gravity with magnetism. Their b e l i e f i s that because gravity "holds you to the ground i t must be l i k e magnetism". The students' then need to see that the two concepts are not the same otherwise their b e l i e f i s quite plausible. F i n a l l y , an exchange strategy is used to create conceptual c o n f l i c t and to resolve the problem. One concern with the conceptual change model is the implication that teachers should persevere with conceptual change for a l l students. Perhaps th i s notion is overly ambitious and requires compromise and f l e x i b i l i t y within the classroom context. Nussbaum and Novick (1982) have developed i n s t r u c t i o n a l strategies where conceptual c o n f l i c t i s used to produce the sort of conceptual change suggested by the Hewsons'. They present an "exposing event" which they expect students to explain using th e i r own conceptions. This is followed by the introduction of a "discrepent event" which creates c o n f l i c t between the students' conceptions and an observed phenomenon. These two events are followed by a "resolution -18-phase" where students are encouraged to discuss results and c l a r i f y the desired conception. Driver (1985) has outlined in more d e t a i l (see section IV.) a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t pedagogy that includes f i v e basic steps: orientation, e l i c i t a t i o n , restructuring, application and review, 111. Reflective practice As a classroom teacher, i t has become apparent to me that to be successful with students is to understand their d i f f i c u l t i e s in learning and to treat each one as an ind i v i d u a l . The task of recognizing and dealing with each student's learning problems is of course a formidable one and many d i f f i c u l t i e s are encountered in accomplishing this end. Schon (1983) claims that a competent teacher sees a student's d i f f i c u l t i e s to learn as a challenge to her own instruction and therefore must find out what the d i f f i c u l t i e s are. The teacher does not necessarily have an immediate explanation for a student's unique problem but must be ready to invent new methods of teaching and somehow develop the a b i l t l y to be able to discover them (p.66). One of the ways that a teacher can begin to recognize students' ideas that may cause them d i f f i c u l t i e s in learning is through the process of r e f l e c t i o n . -19-When teachers r e f l e c t - i n - a c t i o n they reveal their own i n t u i t i v e understandings. The teachers' conceptions of how they view the subject taught and how they believe their students learn are as Important as understanding the students' b e l i e f s . Even i f the descriptions are not very good they may be good enough to enable teachers to c r i t i c i z e their own teaching and restructure their thinking so that new strategies are produced. Through r e f l e c t i o n a teacher becomes, in e f f e c t , a researcher except that there are no rules, techniques, or theories which must be applied to every case. Instead, in bringing past experiences to bear on a unique s i t u a t i o n , teachers draw upon a c o l l e c t i o n of examples, images, understandings and actions in order to develop a new theory for a s p e c i f i c case. Reflection-in-action Involves experimenting with reframimg the problems that students encounter in learning concepts. Reflective conversations (discussed e a r l i e r as Socratic dialogues) with the students enable the teacher to explore the students' understandings and to encourage conceptual change. i v . T e a c h i n g i m p l i c a t i o n s f o r a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e  In the c l a s s r o o m How many times have teachers, after thinking they have prepared a good lesson or unit, been frustrated to find that - 2 0 -their students simply did not appear to understand the information presented? Erickson, (1981) has stated that teachers are often aware of the lack of understanding their students have of science concepts but are uncertain of the learning blocks or alternate conceptions that are exhibited by their students. He suggests that being aware of students' alternate conceptions has been overlooked as part of a general teaching strategy. But being aware of students' alternate conceptions is a d i f f i c u l t task that requires the teacher to be constantly reviewing or r e f l e c t i n g on classroom behaviour and dialogue. The teacher has to become aware of the "constructed worlds" of both herself and the students as Schon has suggested and develop an understanding or "partnership in learning" with each student. Constructivist teaching l i k e l y w i l l require both dialogue and r e f l e c t i o n to be e f f e c t i v e . A. Constructivist teaching approaches A number of researchers have begun to use c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective as a basis for teaching science in the classroom (Nussbaum and Novlck 1980; Eaton, Anderson and Smith 1982 ; Slinger, Anderson and Smith 1984; Driver 1986) . Anderson and Smith, in conjunction with the Planning and Teaching Intermediate Science Project, have been interviewing and observing elementary science teachers in an -21-e f f o r t to assess the needs of the classroom teacher. They studied how teachers Interpreted and used curriculum materials and found that even though teachers were encouraged to use a conceptual change approach In their teaching they tended to Ignore the recommendations and interpreted the curriculum in a way that was consistent with th e i r own way of teaching. One r e s u l t of this work has been to rewrite teacher guides for the text based science programmes to include Information about children's ideas which was found to be missing in the prescribed textbooks but even then teachers tended not to follow the suggestions recommended. Driver and Oldham (1986) outline a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching science that includes a s p e c i f i c teaching sequence. The Children's Learning in Science Project i s an attempt to apply the research on children's thinking in science and current t h e o r e t i c a l developments in cognition with a method of teaching that includes a c t i v i t i e s to encourage the e l i c i t a t i o n of students' ideas and opportunities for students to restructure t h e i r ideas. The teaching model is f l e x i b l e enough that teachers can adjust their approach towards the needs of t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r c l a s s . 1. The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence The aim of the children's Learning In Science Project is to develop curriculum that w i l l allow the teacher to create a setting in which the student is given the opportunity to construct knowledge. The project is a n a t u r a l i s t i c inquiry set up in order to design and evaluate teaching approaches to improve students' understanding of various concepts in science. The general model for developing c u r r i c u l u m adopts a view of learning as conceptual change in the broad sense. Developers have taken the stance that students should be exposed to cert a i n experiences but there can be no prescription about the ideas they w i l l acquire, only a suggestion about what ideas may be constructed. The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence encourages the active construction of meaning s t a r t i n g from students' personal b e l i e f s and then providing opportunities for building on and modifying these towards a more s c i e n t i f i c way of thinking. One of the most important aspects of the teaching sequence is the necessity for s u f f i c i e n t time for students to c a r e f u l l y consider their ideas in the l i g h t of the i n s t r u c t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s . The teacher, therefore, must be sensitive to students' ideas that they bring to the classroom and to the meanings they construct from a c t i v i t i e s and observations. The teacher also has to ensure that the learning environment is supportive and that teacher and students respect each others views. Students need -23-opportunities to make their ideas known and to communicate them. The sequence is composed of five phases: 1. orientation - an opportunity for a sense of purpose and motivation to be developed. 2. e l i c i t a t l o n - achieved when the students make their ideas known through a va r i e t y of a c t i v i t i e s . 3. restructuring - a phase that includes the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n and exchange of Ideas once the students' ideas have been made known, the exposure to c o n f l i c t situations that may occur through disagreement or demonstrations and f i n a l l y an evaluation of ideas. 4. ap p l i c a t i o n - students use new ideas in both familiar and novel ways. 5. review - an important aspect of the teaching sequence that requires students to r e f l e c t on how their ideas may have changed over the course of study. The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence, as developed by Driver, and an e a r l i e r model, by Nussbaum and Novlck, was used with junior high school students so may not be t o t a l l y appropriate for elementary students. However, there appears to enough f l e x i b i l i t y for most teachers to adopt i t to meet the needs of th e i r p a r t i c u l a r classes. - 2 4 -V. Summary The l i t e r a t u r e on childrens' ideas in science suggests that not only are these ideas the product of everyday experiences but that they are diverse and resist a n t to change. They can be seen as barriers as well as building blocks but c o n f l i c t may be created when they overlap with s c i e n t i f i c theories. Students' ideas are not always "pure" but are often "contaminated" by "schooling". It i s suggested that teachers not only recognize that their students have alternate ideas to those presented at school but that they understand the types of ideas that children have. It is recommended that teachers l i s t e n to their students rather than " t e l l " them, using tact, understanding and respect for students' b e l i e f s . A suggestion for dealing with students' alternate ideas is to engage them in dialogues that w i l l enable them to deal with c o n f l i c t s and construct new frameworks. The classroom teacher who understands that children's mini-theories, or alternate conceptions, can be either a barrier or a building block to their learning has to be prepared to respond to students' ideas with appropriate a c t i v i t i e s and challenges. At the same time teachers need to recognize that their own alternate conceptions of science concepts and of how children learn may act as barriers or building blocks to the students' learning. Thus constant -25-r e f l e c t i o n on actions and decisions made in i n s t r u c t i o n a l planning and classroom strategies is required. -26-CHAPTER 3 I. Introduction Chapter three w i l l discuss the methodology of the study. The f i r s t section discusses the importance of the teacher/researcher in developing a classroom case study. The second section contains a brief outline of the unit on magnetism that is offered to the students. The teacher's current teaching approach is then discussed in some d e t a i l as well as the model of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence. Section three w i l l provide an explanation of how the data were collected and the problems encountered with that c o l l e c t i o n . F i n a l l y the s o c i a l context of this p a r t i c u l a r case to give the reader an understanding of the community, school, parents, teacher, and students involved w i l l be presented. II . Background to methods used in study Over the course of the l a s t eight to ten years n a t u r a l i s t i c inquiry has become popular among educational researchers. The case study, the most common form of reporting n a t u r a l i s t i c enquiry, i s considered to be an appropriate method for exploring the learner's cognitive structure. (Easley, 1982). -27-Certain c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of. the case format are esp e c i a l l y advantageous to the n a t u r a l i s t i c enquirer. For example, the case study reporting mode provides the "thick description" necessary for judgements of t r a n s f e r a b i l i t y and for probing internal consistency. (Lincoln and Guba, 1985). In most cases the n a t u r a l i s t i c inquiry i s carried out by an observer who reports the case from his or her own point of view. But Easley (1982) makes the point that "learning to see another person's experiences s t r i k e s any researcher as a very unreliable process" (p.197). This p a r t i c u l a r case study, of how I applied a con s t r u c t i v i s t approach to the teaching of a unit in magnetism, is reported from my point of view with the hopes of presenting a more r e l i a b l e documentation of my exper iences. A. Teachers as researchers One of the most important features of the co n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence (as discussed in ch.2) is the r e f l e c t i o n encouraged of both students and teachers. It therefore seems appropriate that the story of how a teacher adopts th i s method of instr u c t i o n should be told through r e f l e c t i o n . Donald Schon, (1985) strongly supports the notion that r e f l e c t i v e practice take the form of a r e f l e c t i v e conversation not only with the students but with the -28-s i t u a t l o n . i n o t h e r w ords r e f l e c t i v e p r a c t i c e n o t o n l y i n c l u d e s d i a l o g u e s w i t h s t u d e n t s i n t h e S o c r a t i c manner b u t i n c l u d e s a c o n t i n u i n g r e v i e w o f a c t i o n s and t h o u g h t . S c h o n i s c o n c e r n e d t h a t t h e t e a c h e r ' s i s o l a t i o n i n t h e c l a s s r o o m w o r k s a g a i n s t r e f l e c t i o n "She ne e d s t o c o m m u n i c a t e h e r " p r i v a t e p u z z l e s " a n d i n s i g h t s a n d t e s t them a g a i n s t t h e v i e w s o f h e r p e e r s " ( p . 3 3 2 ) , a n d s o i t i s i m p o r t a n t f o r t e a c h e r s t o f i n d a t e c h n o l o g y w h i c h h e l p s s t u d e n t s a s w e l l a s t h e m s e l v e s become aware o f t h e i r i n t u i t i v e u n d e r s t a n d i n g s . I r e c o g n i z e t h e p a r t i c u l a r p r o b l e m s o f t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s , i n r e l y i n g on d o c u m e n t i n g r e f l e c t i o n s , t o p r e s e n t my p o i n t o f v i e w . I b e l i e v e t h a t i n t h i s i n s t a n c e t h e b i a s e s t h a t I may show do n o t i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e s t r u c t u r e o f t h e a p p r o a c h t h a t i s b e i n g a d o p t e d . The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e a l l o w e d me t o u s e r e f l e c t i o n i n a way t h a t was b e n e f i c i a l t o my s t u d e n t s a n d e n a b l e d me t o c l o s e l y e x a m i n e my a p p r o a c h t o t e a c h i n g n o t o n l y m a g n e t i s m b u t s c i e n c e i n g e n e r a l . U l . , The unit - "Magnets and compasses" The t e a c h i n g o f t h e u n i t i n m a g n e t i s m t o o k p l a c e o v e r a p e r i o d o f s i x w e e k s . T h e r e were t w e l v e s e s s i o n s t h a t l a s t e d f r o m one t o o n e - h a l f h o u r s i n l e n g t h . The o r i g i n a l p l a n had bee n t o p r e s e n t t e n l e s s o n s o f one h o u r e a c h b u t c h a n g e d a s t h e u n i t p r o g r e s s e d . -29-The choice of magnetism as a vehicle for this research came after having taught magnetism to grade f i v e a number of times rather unsuccessfully. Twice prior to the research, I had questioned my students about their b e l i e f s on magnetism and each time was amazed at the variety of ideas that they had. Later I began to see that some of their ideas seemed to a f f e c t how they responded to my teaching and too often they had the same ideas at the end of the unit as they did at the beginning. The unit to be taught in t h i s study is found in STEM  SCIENCE le v e l 5 , and is t i t l e d "Magnets and Compasses". Many other information sources of about magnetism from the school l i b r a r y and several secondary and t e r t i a r y l e v e l text books were consulted to plan and carry out the unit. The students did not use the textbook but I used the teacher's guide extensively. I planned the unit, i n i t i a l l y , by following the order of concepts followed in the S.T.E.M. text. After the diagnostic test was given the f i r s t lesson c a l l e d "Attraction by Magnets" was modified then extended to allow for a c t i v i t i e s that would permit children to experiment. They were given the opportunity in order to find out which metals were attracted to magnets, to do some problem solving, and to design experiments that allowed them to Investigate various notions they had about how magnets perform under water. - 3 0 -The next series o£ lessons were concerned with magnetic shields, and the making and weakening of magnets. These topics led to the introduction of the p a r t i c l e theory of matter and experiments with heat, neither of which was in the textbook but was of interest to the students, and extended the unit for a further three lessons. The students then were presented with the concepts of the interaction of magnets, and magnetic f i e l d s . The students made diagrams of various magnetic f i e l d s , solved problems about magnetic f i e l d s problems and made compasses of their own design. The l a s t series of lessons dealt with how compasses work, and magnetic/true north. We did not deal with electromagnetism at thi s time even though i t was part of the unit in the text book. An in-depth look at the d i f f i c u l t i e s that certain students experienced in learning about magnetism w i l l be presented in the next chapter. IV. The teaching approach A. Background Having decided to present a case study about adopting a unit in magnets and compasses i t was then necessary to begin to decide how. Rosalind Driver (1986) had been working with teachers in the Children in Science Project in England and she along with her researchers and teachers in the study had -31-developed a teaching model that encouraged the e l i c i t i n g of. students Ideas and challenged the students' alternate conceptions. At thi s point there was no research on teaching with t h i s model at the elementary l e v e l so I began my planning using the Driver model influenced by an enquiry or discovery approach to teaching science that I was used to us ing. I did not consider myself a "discovery teacher" s t r i c t l y in the E.S.S. t r a d i t i o n , that is a teacher who provides a learning s i t u a t i o n where the learner's behaviour is goal-directed and learns without help from the teacher. But rather offered guided discovery in group situations combined with many approaches that I have no name for and that probably developed from classroom s u r v i v a l s k i l l s and from the adaptation of other teachers ideas. My task was to view the teaching of magnetism from a co n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective in order to deal with the student's alternate frameworks but I was not sure how or even i f I should give up the teaching method I was already using. However, I knew I was not e f f e c t i v e l y dealing with student b e l i e f s even though I was aware that they existed and I wanted to t r y a new approach. - 3 2 -B. The c o n s t r u n t l v i s t teaching sequence The c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence, a series of a c t i v i t i e s aimed at promoting conceptual change, is a product of the Children's Learning in Science Project being conducted at the University of Leeds under the d i r e c t i o n of Rosalind Driver,(1986). The sequence comprises of f i v e phases: 1. orientation 2 . e l i c i t a t i o n 3. restructuring 4. application 5. review The sequence, which frequently overlaps, continually encourages the active construction of meaning by s t a r t i n g with the student's own ideas ( e l i c i t a t i o n ) and by providing opportunites for conceptual change towards the s c i e n t i f i c theory (restructuring). The students are then encouraged to use their developed ideas (application) and to r e f l e c t on changes in thinking. The model of this teaching sequence was loosely followed for the case study with more time for enquiry in the application phase and less involvement in the review phase. It was found that r e f l e c t i n g , for both teacher and students, was p a r t i c u l a r y d i f f i c u l t and would require practice. -33-v . D a t a c o l l e c t i o n The d i f f i c u l t i e s o f d a t a c o l l e c t i o n f o r a s t u d y o f t h i s n a t u r e w i t h a t e a c h e r r e s e a r c h i n g h e r own c l a s s r o o m were many. T r u s t w o r t h i n e s s was t h e most o b v i o u s p r o b l e m a n d was d e a l t w i t h b y t r i a n g u l a t i o n . I t was assumed r i g h t f r o m t h e b e g i n n i n g t h a t t h e d a t a c o u l d n o t be g e n e r a l i z e d t o o t h e r c l a s s r o o m s a l t h o u g h i t was f e l t t h a t t h e d a t a may u n c o v e r a c t i v i t i e s , s u g g e s t i o n s and p r o b l e m s t o a v o i d t h a t may b e n e f i t a n o t h e r t e a c h e r . A. M e t h o d s o f d a t a c o l l e c t i o n D a t a c o l l e c t i o n f o r t h i s s t u d y was done t h r o u g h t h e use o f v i d e o t a p i n g , t e a c h e r j o u r n a l , s t u d e n t j o u r n a l s , a n d d i a g n o s t i c t e s t i n g . E x c e p t f o r t h e v i d e o t a p i n g t h e methods u s e d were u n o b t r u s i v e and were a n a t u r a l p a r t o f t h e t e a c h i n g o f t h e u n i t . 1. V i d e o t a p i n g The v i d e o t a p i n g was done b y a n o b s e r v e r who was i n t e r e s t e d i n c o n s t r u c t i v i s t r e s e a r c h a n d who had some t e a c h i n g e x p e r i e n c e a t t h e e l e m e n t a r y l e v e l . The p u r p o s e o f t h e v i d e o t a p i n g was t o p r o v i d e a b a s i s o f r e f l e c t i o n a n d t o c a p t u r e e x a m p l e s o f t h e f i v e p h a s e s o f a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e . - 3 4 -I n i t i a l l y t a p e r e c o r d i n g s were u s e d t o r e c o r d s t u d e n t s ' c o n v e r s a t i o n s i n g r o u p work b u t t h i s i n t e r f e r e d s o much w i t h c l a s s r o o m m o b i l i t y t h a t a f t e r t h e f i r s t t h r e e l e s s o n s t h e t a p i n g was d i s c o n t i n u e d . The s t u d e n t s had become a c c u s t o m e d t o t h e t a p e r e c o r d e r s i n p r e v i o u s s c i e n c e u n i t s and were u s e d t o s e e i n g i t i n t h e room b u t h a v i n g r e c o r d e r s a t e a c h work t a b l e d i d n o t p r o d u c e enough d a t a t o o f f s e t t h e d i s t r a c t i o n s t h e y c a u s e d . The s t u d e n t s f o u n d t h e v i d e o c a m e r a d i s t r a c t i n g u n t i l i t was s e t up a f t e r e a c h l e s s o n s t a r t e d and m a i n t a i n e d i n one l o c a t i o n a t t h e b a c k o f t h e room. C l a s s d i s c u s s i o n s were u s u a l l y h e l d on t h e c a r p e t a t t h e b a c k o f t h e room, and t h e c a m e r a was s i m p l y t u r n e d a r o u n d a s n e e d e d . O c c a s i o n a l l y , when t h e s t u d e n t s were b u s y a t g r o u p work t h e c a m e r a w o u l d be moved s o t h a t e a c h g r o u p c o u l d be f i l m e d . However, t h e c a m e r a o f t e n I n t e r f e r e d w i t h t h e s m o o t h f l o w o f s t u d e n t s a r o u n d t h e i r t a b l e s o we l i m i t e d t h e f i l m i n g o f g r o u p s work i n g . The s t u d e n t s were v e r y e x c i t e d a b o u t b e i n g a p a r t o f a s t u d y and my p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h e c l a s s r o o m f o r t h e two months p r i o r t o t h e s t u d y h e l p e d t o r e d u c e t h e n o v e l t y c r e a t e d by t h e e v e n t . A t t h e s t a r t o f t h e s t u d y , h o w e v e r , t h e s t u d e n t s were i n t r i g u e d w i t h t h e v i d e o c a m e r a and w a n t e d t o h e l p s e t up t h e e q u i p m e n t e a c h d a y . S i n c e a v i d e o c a m e r a had magnets i n i t we p o i n t e d t h a t f a c t o u t t o e v e r y o n e a n d made i t p a r t o f t h e s t u d y . However t h e s t u d e n t s s p e n t s o - 3 5 -l o n g e x p e r i m e n t i n g w i t h t h e c a m e r a a t t h e s t a r t o£ e a c h l e s s o n t h a t e v e n t u a l l y we had t o s t o p t h e i r I n v o l v e m e n t . I f o u n d t h a t t h e i n t r u s i o n o f m e d i a i n t h e room s o m e t i m e s a f f e c t e d b e h a v i o u r b u t d i d n o t i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e o f t h e l e s s o n w h i c h i s what we were t r y i n g t o f i l m . The n o n - i n t r u s i v e methods o f c o l l e c t i n g d a t a were t h e same a s c o u l d be u s e d by a n y t e a c h e r w i t h a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e t o w a r d s t e a c h i n g s c i e n c e and d i d n o t i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e t e a c h i n g b u t were a p a r t o f i t . 2 . T e a c h e r j o u r n a l The t e a c h e r j o u r n a l was i n v a l u a b l e i n k e e p i n g a r e c o r d o f my t h o u g h t s . I k e p t t h e j o u r n a l w i t h me and w o u l d o f t e n w r i t e i n i t a t home a s w e l l a s a t s c h o o l . The j o u r n a l was an e x t e n s i o n o f l e s s o n p l a n n i n g and made a r i c h s o u r c e o f i d e a s , p r o b l e m s a nd t h o u g h t s t h a t I w o u l d u n d o u b t e d l y have f o r g o t t e n . The j o u r n a l was a l s o a s o u r c e o f r e f l e c t i o n n o t o n l y f o r t h e s t u d y b u t f o r t h e p l a n n i n g o f l e s s o n s . I f o u n d t h e j o u r n a l d i f f i c u l t t o k e e p a t f i r s t b e c a u s e I w a s n ' t s u r e o f what was i m p o r t a n t t o w r i t e a b o u t a nd what was a w a s t e o f t i m e . S o metimes I w o u l d f o r g e t a b o u t t h e j o u r n a l a n d n o t w r i t e a n y t h i n g . B u t a s t h e r e s e a r c h p r o g r e s s e d a n d I was s e a r c h i n g f o r ways t o c h a l l e n g e i d e a s t h e v a l u e o f t h e j o u r n a l became q u i t e a p p a r e n t . I b e g a n t o w r i t e v e r y r e g u l a r l y a b o u t i d e a s t h a t I had f o r a c t i v i t i e s , u n u s u a l t h i n g s t h a t t h e s t u d e n t s had s a i d o r d o n e , a n y -36-c r i t i c i s m t h a t I heard from o t h e r t e a c h e r s , and p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h o u g h t s about the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e . The j o u r n a l was kept s e p a r a t e from my l e s s o n p l a n n i n g book but when I do i t a g a i n I w i l l keep them t o g e t h e r f o r the sake of convenience and t o p r o v i d e a b e t t e r p i c t u r e of a p a r t i c u l a r l e s s o n . 3. Student j o u r n a l s The purpose of the s t u d e n t j o u r n a l s was t o r e c o r d t h e i r i d e a s and changes i n t h i n k i n g about magnetism and t o have the s t u d e n t s r e f l e c t on the s e i d e a s as the u n i t p r o g r e s s e d . The j o u r n a l s were of more v a l u e t o me than t o my s t u d e n t s as t h e y were not v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n r e f l e c t i n g but I used the i n f o r m a t i o n t o p l a n f o r c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n s and t o add r e s s common problems. 4, D i a g n o s t i c t e s t s The p r e - d i a g n o s t i c t e s t was de v e l o p e d from the co n c e p t s p r e s e n t e d i n the t e x t - b o o k S.T.E.M. t o d i s c o v e r a s t a r t i n g p o i n t f o r t e a c h i n g the u n i t by e l i c i t i n g the s t u d e n t s p r i o r knowledge of magnetism. The p o s t - d i a g n o s t i c t e s t was used t o see i f the s t u d e n t ' s i d e a s of magnetism had changed toward a more s c i e n t i f i c view. There was a l i m i t a t i o n t o t h i s t e s t because the r o u t e t h a t the s t u d e n t s and I took t o f i n i s h the u n i t l e d us In a d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n from the o r i g i n a l p l a n n i n g and many d i f f e r e n t q u e s t i o n s were asked on the p o s t - t e s t t h a t had not been asked on the p r e - t e s t . The - 3 7 -i n f o r m a t i o n f r o m t h e p o s t - t e s t s h o u l d be v i e w e d i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h s t u d e n t j o u r n a l s t o p r o v i d e a more c o m p l e t e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e c h a n g e s i n t h i n k i n g . V I , s o c i a l c o n t e x t At The s e t t i n g The s e t t i n g f o r t h i s c a s e s t u d y i s a n e l e m e n t a r y s c h o o l i n a m u n i c i p a l i t y a d j a c e n t t o a l a r g e m e t r o p o l i t a n c i t y . The s c h o o l , w i t h a p o p u l a t i o n o f 256 i s s i t u a t e d a t t h e w e s t e r n edge o f t h e c o m m u n i t y , n e x t t o a g o l f c o u r s e , and o v e r l o o k i n g a f e r r y t e r m i n a l . One t h i r d o f t h e s t u d e n t s a r e b u s s e d i n f r o m a s m a l l e r m i d d l e c l a s s c o m m u n i t y 11 km away. As a r e s u l t o f i t s ' l o c a t i o n t h e s c h o o l has a m a j o r i t y o f m i d d l e t o h i g h income f a m i l i e s and a few l o w income f a m i l i e s w h i c h d i f f e r s s l i g h t l y f r o m o t h e r s c h o o l s i n t h e l a r g e r c o m m u n i t y . The s t a f f o f t h e s c h o o l numbers 15, w h i c h i n c l u d e s a d m i n i s t r a t o r s a s w e l l a s L e a r n i n g A s s i s t a n c e S t a f f . T h e r e a r e d i f f e r i n g p h i l o s o p h i e s a mongst t h e t e a c h e r s t h a t s o m e t i m e s l e a d t o a n i m a t e d d i s c u s s i o n and d i s a g r e e m e n t b u t t h e s t a f f g e n e r a l l y r e s p e c t one a n o t h e r s r i g h t t o t h i n k d i f f e r e n t l y . As a r e s u l t t h e r e i s a n a t m o s p h e r e o f c o - o p e r a t i o n and s u p p o r t among s t a f f members and w i t h a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . -38-The parent body is generally well educated and has high expectations o£ their children as well as high aspirations for them. The parents are supportive of the s t a f f and have shown their appreciation in a vari e t y of ways on many occasions. They have, for example, sent l e t t e r s of thank you, arranged s t a f f lunches, and organized a spe c i a l Valentines Day in appreciation of the teachers. For the purposes of the study I was granted a four month leave by my school board and a part-time teacher was hired to teach the class from September u n t i l December, except for science which I taught from September on. I then took over the class from January u n t i l June. This arrangement allowed me the time to f i n i s h a graduate course and to take the time necessary to prepare for the study. My replacement had done much substituting for many st a f f members as well as myself over the previous two years and was familiar with my teaching style and the operation of the school. As well, she was a personal friend and I had taught both of her children. We agreed beforehand that together we would make a general plan of the four months of the leave and that I would teach the science. We arranged to meet with parents at a "Meet the Teacher Night" and we conferred on the f a l l report card. I spent the f i r s t week of school in the classroom with the new teacher so that I could get to know the children and then met with th e i r parents at the end of September to - 3 9 -explain the study and how their children would be involved. It was quite evident that after this meeting the parents were as interested in the study as their children were and offered verbal support. Generally speaking there were few problems created with sharing the classroom with another teacher in thi s manner and those that there were w i l l be dealt with in another section. B. The teacher For the past ten years I have been teaching in a small but affluent community adjacent to a large c i t y . At the present time I am a f i f t h grade teacher at a school where I have taught for four years. I am also the science resource person, and the computer co-ordinator for my school. One year after graduating with a B.Ed. I became a part time student for two years and completed a f i f t h year in education in language a r t s . Then six years ago I began graduate studies In science education on a part-time basis. The decision to develop a case study of my own classroom was not a d i f f i c u l t decision to make. In fact i t seemed to make appropriate that someone who spend the majority of her l i f e concerning herself with lesson planning, classroom management, and how students learn would want to conduct research that would make a d i r e c t impact on those students as well as herself. I had decided not only - 4 0 -was I Interested in science education and wanted to do a s p e c i f i c piece of research but I believed I had the perfect opportunity to do something useful that my own s t a f f of teachers might read and not passover as work done by "some researcher somewhere who doesn't know the f i r s t thing about how we work in t h i s school". The school d i s t r i c t that I work in has become very interested in having a new look at teacher supervision and evaluation. A committee, composed of a panel of educators that include a cross section of teachers as well as administrators, is looking at d i f f e r e n t teaching styles and how teachers can self-evaluate their current s t y l e of teaching as part of the evaluation process. The kind of classroom research that I wanted to do seemed to be appropriate. Not only would I have a focus for self-evaluation but I would have the chance to research a problem, that of children's alternate conceptions, that I had found to be evident in my own classroom. At t h i s point no other case study had been written about an elementary classroom teacher using a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence so I did not know what the problems might but be I did know that I had good reasons for wanting to make the e f f o r t . The role of the teacher/researcher was not an easy one but there was only one person who could research in my classroom and come closest to understanding the complexities -41-of my p a r t i c u l a r problem and my point of view regarding children's alternate conceptions - myself. C. The students Thirty-two students took part in the study and no one in the class was excluded. The pupils were a healthy active group who were very involved in school l i f e as well as community a c t i v i t e s . They had a wide range of personal interests and had had many experiences with their families that broadened th e i r general knowledge. The class in general was considered to be average in a b i l i t y as compared to previous grade five classes in the school. There was no attempt made to group the students in any way at the beginning of the term although children who the s t a f f f e l t might not adapt to a change in teachers mid-year were put into another c l a s s . For example there was a sight impaired student with an aide who the s t a f f decided would not benefit from the teaching arrangements of the study. V l l . Analysis of data The teacher data collected In the study of magnetism w i l l be analyzed by looking c l o s e l y at the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence as developed by Driver, (1986) and picking out c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of that sequence that appeared In my teaching. The student data w i l l be analyzed by the same method except that examples o£ student behaviour or ideas w i l l be used to consider the e f f e c t of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t sequence on my students. -43-CHAPTER FOUR 1. Introduction This study was conducted with two ideas in mind. One that teaching with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective takes into consideration the notion that students come to the learning s i t u a t i o n with knowledge and/or experiences that influence how they learn. The second idea is that the teacher must take these ideas into consideration when planning and teaching lessons. In order to begin to understand what knowledge the students brought to this study of magnetism a series of a c t i v i t e s was instigated to Identify their ideas. To begin with a diagnostic test was given to the cl a s s . The results of that test gave some indication about students' ideas about magnets and compasses. The students were asked to keep a d a i l y journal of the i r ideas about events that happened throughout the unit. F i n a l l y , large charts, which recorded individual student responses during discussion times, were displayed prominently on a classroom wall. As the teacher/researcher I not only had written lesson plans but I also kept a journal that r e f l e c t e d my ideas and thoughts about what I was teaching and about how the students were reacting. These techniques helped me keep track of the ever-changing directions that the class took in - 4 4 -responding to the many a c t i v i t i e s involved in t h i s unit on magnetism. As the students became more confident about expressing their ideas in both their journals and through discussion they became more thoughtful about what they were saying. The students' queries became increasingly more challenging and eventually led us well beyond the confines of the standard grade five curriculum. Through the r e f l e c t i o n s of the teacher/researcher t h i s chapter w i l l show that the continuous monitoring of students' ideas, through a vari e t y of a c t i v i t i e s , helped to uncover not only the concepts that students had d i f f i c u l t i e s with but also many of the reasons why they seemed to experience t h i s d i f f i c u l t y . This knowledge helped the teacher plan situations that enabled students to come to a clearer understanding of the concepts presented. The chapter w i l l present a status report of students' prior knowledge of magnetism and then focus on five concepts in magnetism of interest to students but found to be the most d i f f i c u l t to understand. The chapter w i l l accomplish th i s l a t t e r aim by presenting a series of vignettes which deal with situations that occured during the study that brought to l i g h t the problems that the students experienced with p a r t i c l e theory. - 4 5 -1 1 . Students' Prior B e l i e f s about Magnetism At the beginning of the unit c a l l e d "Magnets and Compasses" a diagnostic test was given to the class to get an idea of what thoughts the students had about the major concepts that would be presented to them during the study. The results of previous teaching with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective had given me a general idea about how the students may respond but I wanted to see what th i s p a r t i c u l a r class was thinking about. The diagnostic test questions were based on the concepts presented in the S.T.E.M. textbook at the grade five l e v e l . I had used these same questions in previous years and f e l t they were reasonable examples of what knowledge might be expected of a t y p i c a l grade five student before beginning the unit. The purpose of the pre-test was not to discover what "school type" knowledge they had retained from another year but to determine a s t a r t i n g point for in s t r u c t i o n by uncovering some of their common-sense ideas about magnetism. The questions (appendix 1) were written on paper but were asked o r a l l y and then demonstrated so that there would be less confusion about what the questions meant. Also I did not want the students to be confused about the language used In the questions, i e : a t t r a c t , repel. There was no intent to measure the results of t h i s diagnostic test with a post--46-test with the aim o£ giving a grade as I believed that the post test should r e f l e c t the students experiences during the course of the study not what the textbook or curriculum dictated. The results of the pre-test simply indicated a s t a r t i n g place for the teacher. The questions asked, which can be grouped into fi v e categories, t r y to e l i c i t explanations of the following: 1. magnetic objects 2. r e p e l l i n g and a t t r a c t i n g 3. magnetic f i e l d s 4. magnetic shields 5. magnetic north There was a wide var i e t y of responses to the questions but most students did not respond with the s c i e n t i f i c a l l y acceptable answer to any more than three or four of the nine questions asked. However, the students responses were interesting and generally thoughtful. In general the students seemed to understand that metals were attracted to magnets but they were not aware that only a limited number of metals would be attracted. Almost every student responded with a similar answer to question 1 (see appendix 1) for example: Daria: The ones I c i r c l e d a l l have some metle(sic) on them. Many students could point out the poles of a magnet although i t was clear they did not understand what was -47-s i g n i f i c a n t about the poles. A number of students indicated that the bend in a horseshoe magnet was also a pole. A large number of students believed that the north pole was more powerful than the south. At least half of the students demonstrated that they believed that the N/N and S/S poles repelled while the N/S and the S/N poles attracted. Later questioning revealed that they did not know why t h i s happened, although John did explain that: "There are atoms in the magnet. When electrons go in opposite directions they push away." I la t e r learned that John enjoyed the study of magnetism so much that he and his father (a curriculum advisor for a l o c a l school board) got involved in learning about magnetism at home. Some of John's ideas that he brought up at school were a r e s u l t of seeing films and having discussions with his father. Ideas about magnetic shields did not r e a l l y surface u n t i l the unit was well underway as the pre-test had not asked probing questions. Generally most students believed that an object on a table could be attracted by a magnet under the table because the "force" goes through the wood. In answer to the question "How does a magnet a t t r a c t an object (pin) through a table?" some of the responses were: John: The magnet can send force through the table. -48-Robert: A magnet does not stop u n t i l It h i t s something metal. Wesley: It's a t t r a c t i o n goes through the table but i f i t ' s too thick i t won"t work. Matthew: When the table is metal the table becomes magnetic and the pin goes to the source. If the table is wooden i t does not become magnetic. Several children expressed the notion that the "force" grabs the object. For example: Matt: There is a certain length that the object can be attracted from. If the object is in i t ' s reach i t (the magnet) w i l l grab i t . The questions concerning compasses and how they work uncovered some of the most interesting ideas of the study and w i l l be covered in later sections of t h i s chapter. For example many students believed that a compass pointed north but the reasons why were varied: Wesley: The compass points north because It is pointing at the magnet underneath the compass. It stands for magnetic north. Colby: The compass points north because thats the main d i r e c t i o n . -49-Caroline: The compass points north i f the needle points north. The questions, explanations and thoughts that the students had during the remainder of the unit were extensions of the i r ideas about the five categories mentioned previously and gave many insights Into why they had d i f f i c u l t y understanding many of the concepts of magnetism. It is quite clear now that the diagnostic test did not even begin to uncover the depth of the students' ideas about magnetism. Only through continual monitoring during the teaching of the unit were these discovered. The rest of the chapter w i l l deal with several interesting problems that arose from the students' involement with magnets. It is speculated that some of these ideas could act as a type of barrier (Hawkins, 1978) to their understanding of magnetism in the future. 111. Vignettes Over the course of the unit my students struggled over "why" certain phenomena occurred and I struggled over how to present them with a c t i v i t i e s that would anable them to better understand the concepts presented to them. The areas of greatest interest, and those that caused us the greatest concern, are discussed in thi s chapter and are portrayed in terms of vignettes. They have been t i t l e d as follows: Chris Amy Caroline -51-1. Marias' Attraction - magnetic shields 2. P a r t i c l e s Galore - making magnet3 3 . To the Forge! - weakening magnets 4. One Pole ? - magnetic f i e l d s 5. Roberts' Magnetic Islands - magnetic north Each vignette t e l l s the story of one pa r t i c u l a r incident but also highlights at least one of the a c t i v i t i e s that I considered helpful to applying a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching the unit on magnetism. A. Marias' Attraction The idea of magnets being composed of atomic p a r t i c l e s became a focus for discussion many times during the study of magnetism. I quickly r e a l i z e d that the lack of understanding of p a r t i c l e theory would be a barrier to a true understanding of how magnets and compasses work. However, the students were never s a t i s f i e d with passing over a concept they wanted to find out as much as possible about an idea that interested them. The f i r s t stumbling block with p a r t i c l e s came afte r a group a c t i v i t y when the students had been asked to experiment with d i f f e r e n t materials to see which ones would block a magnetic f i e l d . During a class discusssion, in which the students were tryi n g to come to concensus, Maria proclaimed quite confidently that a can l i d (made p a r t i a l l y -52-o£ steel) was not acting as a sh i e l d after the rest of the class had agreed that i t was. She was quite eager to show us we were wrong and proceeded to demonstrate. What she had done was to make a magnet out of the can l i d by having the magnet touch the l i d thereby a t t r a c t i n g the paperclip underneath. The remarkable thing was that the whole cla s s , without exception, agreed with her findings that the l i d did not act as a shie l d and refuted their own results on the spot! I reminded the class that the material being tested as a shi e l d was not to touch the magnet but as I spoke the words I re a l i z e d that the students did not understand the reason why the l i d could not touch the magnet. They did not seem to believe that such a small d e t a i l was important. I also knew that most students had listened and followed instructions and that their test results were a product of their diligence but their results had made very l i t t l e sense to them so they were quite attracted to Marias' findings and were quite prepared to accept them. During the next lesson, at my request, Maria and James demonstrated the difference between Marias' way to do the experiment and James' way (which was to keep the l i d separate from the magnet) and I asked for suggestions as to which way produced the magnetic s h i e l d . The students gave a l l the "right answers" as to the "textbook" procedure for doing the a c t i v i t y but something was s t i l l missing --53-understanding. As James and Maria c a r e f u l l y demonstrated the a c t i v i t y again I narrated what was happening and caught myself c a l l i n g the can l i d , which was the material being tested, a " t i n can l i d " and have wondered ever since how much of the problem I created. By t h i s time the students understood that magnets were attracted to iron based materials but I had not thought to explain the l i d composition to everyone before the a c t i v i t y started. So, to help with Marias 1 problem the p a r t i c l e model was Introduced to show the north and south poles of the atoms aligned in the commercial magnet and the random way in which the p a r t i c l e s were aligned in the can l i d u n t i l Maria made a stronger magnet out of the l i d by a t t r a c t i n g opposite poles and bringing them into alignment. This model seemed to make sense to the students - or so I thought. It also cleared up the notion that a "magnetic force" goes around objects (which some students s t i l l believed) rather than the atoms a t t r a c t i n g each other. One of the most valuable incidences of the unit took place during the episode with Maria when she took the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for demonstrating and discussing her ideas before the class came to consensus. There was no arguing with the teacher over r e s u l t s . These student demonstrations happened frequently in the remainder of the unit. I asked questions but the students argued amongst themselves and the s i t u a t i o n became -54-comfortable enough that even shy students were not a f r a i d to speak out. With the episode featuring Maria came the f i r s t true understanding of not only how a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective can make teacher and student more active partners in learning and but how much time this unit was r e a l l y going to take! Up to t h i s point I had been tryi n g to do what I thought a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teacher should do (Driver,1986). But at the same time I was try i n g not to allow my ideas about discovery learning get l o s t as I was not sure that the two approaches could co-exist. At t h i s point I was not prepared to give up what had been for me a comfortable way of teaching science. I wanted to allow plenty of a c t i v i t y and discussion but not worry i f we did not come to consensus. Conversely I wanted to help the greatest number of students possible understand the concepts before going onto the next a c t i v i t y . My problem was that I believed that in doing so I would have to spend an unacceptably large portion of class time in discussion which would take students away from manipulating materials and "discovering" for themselves. What I ended up doing was allowing my students to discover for themselves by encouraging them to express their ideas in many d i f f e r e n t ways. In t h i s manner I could learn when they were having d i f f i c u l t i e s and spend the time needed tryin g to get the majority of students to understand a - 5 5 -concept rather than just leaving an idea and hoping that they would understand when they were ready. The incident with Maria showed me that the students were w i l l i n g to spend considerable time in "interpretive discussion" when the discussion arose d i r e c t l y from th e i r experimenting and problems. In so doing their ideas were considered or compared with those of their peers. I began to f e e l quite comfortable with the idea that discovery learning was a philosophy, while the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective seemed to lend i t s e l f to a method, (Driver,1986) and that the two could co-exist quite comfortably. My viewpoint changed again several months l a t e r , a f t e r getting back to the d a l l y routine of the classroom, but for the remainder of the study my actions were affected by what happened after the incident with Maria. B. P a r t i c l e s Galore The students almost always worked in co-ed groups of four that consisted of two female and two male partners. This arrangement i n i t i a l l y gave the students a partner to share ideas with and a small group to share equipment with. Eventually the group of four were able to share th e i r ideas but in the beginning discussions were not always productive as there was a certain amount of arguing and "fooling around". But generally as the unit progressed the students became eager to discuss results and since the group leader -56-was resposlble for presenting t h e i r results a much more serious approach was taken toward group a c t i v i t i e s . A subsequent group a c t i v i t y was to make a magnet. The problems that the students had in doing t h i s a c t i v i t y convinced me that the idea of magnetic p a r t i c l e s in the magnet meant l i t t l e to them or at the very least they were not t r a n s f e r r i n g the new information from their discussions with t h i s model from the previous lessons. Ideas gleaned from the students' journals showed that the greatest number of students believed that when you stroked an object with a known magnet you transferred magnetic p a r t i c l e s to that object. For example when I asked the question: "What happens to the s t e e l object when you stroke i t with a magnet?" some of the responses were: Morgan: The magnetism transfers to the object. Maria: The object scratches l i t t l e pieces off the magnet. Alison: Stroking an object with a magnet sends off energy that dives into the object. Roderick: The object pulls the magnetism onto i t . Since the students could not see p a r t i c l e s moving in the magnet I assumed that their idea of stroking them or p u l l i n g -57-them off was closest to their own experience as often pieces f a l l off an object when you brush i t or stroke i t b r i s k l y as they were doing with the pin and the magnet in the a c t i v i t y . Recognizing why the students had these ideas didn't make things any easier but c e r t a i n l y they did confirm that the whole issue of p a r t i c l e s had not been solved and was going to be d i f f i c u l t to deal with. With the knowledge that the class had some unusual ideas about the p a r t i c l e s in a magnet and with the help of the p a r t i c l e model we spent time in discussion about atoms and how atomic p a r t i c l e s react to heating and cooling. A number of students helped to demonstrate that the p a r t i c l e s did not change size during heating and cooling but that the spaces between them expanded and contracted. The students simulated p a r t i c l e s by standing in a small c i r c l e and reacting to two questions: 1. What would you act i f you were cold and needed your friends for warmth? and 2. How would you act i f you were very warm? The students could see that they did not change size but that the spaces did. I reminded the students that they were making a human model representing how p a r t i c l e s behave and that p a r t i c l e s did not r e a l l y "think" about warmth when they expanded or contracted. My own journal dated for the day of this discussion says quite simply: - 5 8 -" S u r e l y NOW t h e y u n d e r s t a n d a b o u t p a r t i c l e s ! " C. To t h e F o r g e ! The s t u d e n t s ' i n t e r e s t i n h e a t b e g a n w i t h t h e q u e s t i o n , "How c a n y o u weaken a m a g n e t ? " The r e s p o n s e t o t h i s q u e s t i o n y i e l d e d a v a r i e t y o f i n t e r e s t i n g i d e a s t h a t we k e p t p o s t e d on c h a r t p a p e r on t h e w a l l . J o h n : D r o p t h e power f r o m an e l e c t r o m a g n e t . R o g e r : B r e a k t h e magnet i n h a l f . E r i c : Bang t h e magnet a g a i n s t s o m e t h i n g . M o r g a n : P a i n t w i t h h e a v y p a i n t . N a t a l i e : P u t t h e magnet i n w a t e r . Amy: F r e e z e t h e magnet. L e a h : G e t t h e magnet r e a l l y h o t . J a m es: M e l t I t ! The l a s t two r e s p o n s e s o p ened up t o p i c s f o r d i s c u s s i o n a n d p r o m p t e d a c t i v i t i e s t h a t l a s t e d f o r d a y s . The s t u d e n t s ' p r e - o c c u p a t i o n f o r h e a t i n g t h e magnet t o d e s t r o y i t , n o t j u s t weaken i t , was a m a z i n g . S i n c e James' i d e a o f m e l t i n g t h e magnet w o u l d n o t be p o s s i b l e i n t h e c l a s s r o o m t h e i r -59-r e g u l a r teacher, Mrs. Stewart, suggested t h a t perhaps they c o u l d take a magnet to the forge a t F o r t Langely d u r i n g a coming f i e l d t r i p . That idea met with great a p p r o v a l and f o r the moment James' method of weakening a magnet was put a s i d e . The s t u d e n t s , working i n groups, s e t up a v a r i e t y of a c t i v i t e s to see which of the ideas they had t a l k e d about might work. During the d i s c u s s i o n p e r i o d the c l a s s was d i v i d e d on whether heat would r e a l l y weaken a magnet. Many students, i n c l u d i n g James who was determined t h a t " i t d i d n ' t work", had d i f f i c u l t i e s making a magnet s t r o n g enough to pick up more than one p i n . Thus they had l i t t l e to compare when they weakened t h e i r magnet. The students who claimed they were s u c c e s s f u l a l s o had poor r e s u l t s and were not r e a l l y convinced t h a t heat c o u l d weaken a magnet very much. So the graduate student, who was f i l m i n g the s e s s i o n s , helped me s e t up a demonstration with a propane t o r c h (I was sure t h i s would convince James!) and a p a p e r c l i p . The magnet was clamped to a r i n g stand with a p a p e r c l i p a t t r a c t e d to one end of the magnet. The p a p e r c l i p was heated with the propane t o r c h and i t f e l l away from the magnet. At f i r s t the c l a s s argued t h a t the p a p e r c l i p f e l l because of the wind c r e a t e d by the hot a i r blowing on i t . But i n doing the demonstration again i t was q u i t e c l e a r t h a t the c l i p f e l l s t r a i g h t down and was not blown away. Then the students d e c l a r e d t h a t the p a p e r c l i p was not r e a l l y a - 6 0 -magnet. Groan! Even af ter observing Marias' r e s u l t s , making magnets, and having discussions about atoms they could not accept that the strong bar magnet had al igned the p a r t i c l e s in the s tee l paperc l ip . The fact that a "real" magnet had to be a commercial one demonstrated to me that most students s t i l l d id not understand what was happening with magnetic p a r t i c l e s . The c lass and I had our f i r s t r e a l argument over th i s issue. James demanded that I heat the "real" magnet then i f the paperc l ip f e l l away he would bel ieve that heat weakened a magnet. To my consternation the c lass nodded in agreement. Well I d id t r y to heat that LARGE bar magnet but eventual ly the torch ran out of propane and the hour long struggle deal ing with the heat problem l e f t the c lass and I at odds - for the moment. Fortunate ly the c lass f i e l d t r i p to Fort Langley was coming up the next day so the magnet was l e f t in James' care to de l i ver to the blacksmith in the forge, who I s i n c e r e l y hoped had a sense of humour. My journal entry for that day is blank. I came away from the lesson fee l ing frustrated that I d id not seem to be making my point about p a r t i c l e s . The ent ire lesson had been videotaped though and as I looked at the tape of that day weeks l a t er I r e a l i z e d that the c lass was r e a l l y interested in what they were doing. Even though James was get t ing a l i t t l e out of hand with his demands about heating the large -61-magnet a t l e a s t the students f e l t comfortable about e x p r e s s i n g t h e i r i d e a s . I f e l t t h a t I understood why the c l a s s was having so much t r o u b l e understanding. I d i d not j u s t pass i t o f f with, "They weren't l i s t e n i n g , " or "They j u s t don't c a r e " . The j o u r n a l e n t r i e s and d i s c u s s i o n c h a r t s were r e a l l y g i v i n g me an i n s i g h t as to how the students were d e a l i n g with new concepts. I had to l e a r n to be more p a t i e n t and perhaps not expect so much from them. The t r i p to the forge occurred before the next l e s s o n . The b l a c k s m i t h heated the " r e a l " magnet almost to the me l t i n g stage ( there was the problem of, "What do you do with a melted magnet?") and then allowed i t to c o o l . James pro u d l y brought the magnet back to c l a s s and presented i t to me. I produced a box of s t e e l p i n s and James t r i e d , u n s u c c e s s f u l l y , to pi c k them up. Then Roger asked, "Can you make i t work again?" The magnet was then put i n t o an e l e c t r o m a g n e t i z e r , the p a r t i c l e s were r e a l i g n e d and much to my r e l i e f ( a f t e r the previous day I b e l i e v e d anything could go wrong) the magnet picked up h a l f a box of s t r a i g h t p i n s . There was j u s t a h i n t of a smile on James' f a c e ! The students had understood how the e l e c t r o m a g n e t i z e r worked - more or l e s s - and recognized t h a t i t was l i k e s t r o k i n g the magnet i n t h a t a l l the p a r t i c l e s became a l i g n e d . I asked, -62-"What d i d t h e h e a t do t o t h e magnet?" Some of t h e s t u d e n t s b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e h e a t c a u s e d t h e p a r t i c l e s t o move o u t o f a l i g n m e n t b u t most d i d n o t . Some of t h e i r j o u r n a l e n t r i e s f o r t h a t d a y were: C a r o l i n e : I t h i n k t h e p a r t i c l e s g o t t o o h o t and went In a l l d i r e c t i o n s and l o s t t h e i r power. M a t t : The p a r t i c l e s g o t r e a l l y h o t and s t a r t e d t u r n i n g away f r o m t h e h e a t . L e a h : P a r t i c l e s were b u r n e d and d i s i n t e g r a t e d . C h r i s : The h e a t d r a i n e d t h e e n e r g y o u t o f t h e magnet. C o l b y : A l l t h e p a r t i c l e s g o t s m a l l e r and s m a l l e r and t h e n j u s t d i s a p p e a r e d . Emma: When t h e magnet i s r e a l l y h e a t e d t h e p a r t i c l e s b u s t open. Q u i n n : The p a r t i c l e s m e l t b e c a u s e t h e y a r e so s m a l l . L a r a : when you g e t h i t by f i r e y ou r u n i n a l l d i r e c t i o n s . So when t h e ends o f t h e magnet g e t h e a t e d t h e p a r t i c l e s a t e a c h end r u n t o t h e m i d d l e and t h e y a l l bunch up i n d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n s . A l l o f t h e i d e a s made s e n s e t o t h e s e s t u d e n t s b e c a u s e t h e y i n d i c a t e d t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e s w i t h h e a t . L a r a s ' a n a l o g y Is a good example. T h i n g s do b u r n up, or m e l t , or -63-b u r s t from high heat exposure. People do t u r n away from something hot and one's energy becomes d r a i n e d on a hot day. O b v i o u s l y these p r i o r experiences with heat c r e a t e b e l i e f s t h a t can be t r a n s f e r r e d to other s i t u a t i o n s , such as a heated magnet, and they w i l l continue to be used u n t i l a more powerful idea takes i t s ' p l a c e . A f t e r some d i s c u s s i o n with the c l a s s I had to decide how much I expected them to know. We had spent three days on the heat problem, and while many i n t e r e s t i n g t h i n g s happened I was w i l l i n g to c a r r y on with the next a c t i v i t y and leave the problems of heat f o r another year. D. One Pole? The s t u d e n t s ' ideas about the poles of a magnet were uncovered a f t e r a s e r i e s of group a c t i v i t i e s were completed on magnetic f i e l d s . Students were asked to make diagrams of the magnetc f i e l d s surrounding a v a r i e t y of magnets. The group leaders were gi v e n the m a t e r i a l s ( i e : bar magnets, horseshoe magnets, round magnets, broken magnets, i r o n f i l i n g s and c l e a r a c e t a t e s h e e t s ) , to s e t up a t t h e i r t a b l e s and the students worked with p a r t n e r s , s h a r i n g r e s u l t s and d i s c u s s i n g . I t was obvious t h a t the students had a wide v a r i e t y of ways of r e p r e s e n t i n g t h e i r ideas but many of the i l l u s t r a t i o n s were c o n f u s i n g so at the s t a r t of the next l e s s o n the c l a s s was asked to review t h e i r drawings of what -64-they thought the magnetic f i e l d would look l i k e around a bar magnet. Volunt e e r s were asked to share t h e i r ideas by i l l u s t r a t i n g them on the board. Some of these are por t r a y e d i n F i g u r e 1 . From previous experience I knew t h a t a s k i n g students to a r e p r e s e n t magnetic f i e l d s was not an easy task but I wanted them to do ac c e p t a b l e drawings t h a t everyone c o u l d understand and share so we d i d the magnetic f i e l d drawing over again showing how us i n g dotted l i n e s and a r c s might c l a r i f y t h e i r i d e a s . The students then proceeded to work with t h e i r m a t e r i a l s to i l l u s t r a t e the magnetic f i e l d s s urrounding r e p e l l i n g and a t t r a c t i n g magnets with much b e t t e r r e s u l t s . During a d i s c u s s i o n f o l l o w i n g these group a c t i v i t i e s v a r i o u s students presented t h e i r i l l u s t r a t i o n s of v a r i o u s magnetic f i e l d s and the c l a s s t r i e d to come to consensus on the r e s u l t s . I t was not u n t i l we came to the broken magnet th a t the students began to d i s a g r e e v i g o r o u s l y about what they were o b s e r v i n g . The st u d e n t s ' i n d i v i d u a l drawings from the previous l e s s o n are shown In F i g u r e 2. The drawings were so d i f f e r e n t t h a t the students were not able to come to consensus with the is s u e of broken magnets. I found t h i s s i t u a t i o n v ery p u z z l i n g because they had done t h e i r own a c t i v i t i e s and i t seemed amazing t h a t t h e i r o b s e r v a t i o n s were so d i v e r s e . At the end of the l e s s o n I asked them to d e s c r i b e i n t h e i r j o u r n a l s what they thought -65-happened when a magnet was broken. Many responses r e f l e c t e d the i l l u s t r a t i o n s done in their notebooks: Chris: A l l the p a r t i c l e s go to the end and become a pole. (This was a very popular Idea with many students) Maria: some of the magnetism went to the other ha l f . A revised explanation in her journal states: The p a r t i c l e s broke up inside the magnet u n t i l i t stopped working. Amy: The p a r t i c l e s grew smaller and got mixed up. Eri k : The broken magnet works the same as a whole magnet. The magnetism in the middle of the magnet didn't a t t r a c t anything but when i t was broken an opening was made so i t was strong again. Caroline: The broken magnet has two poles because when i t is broken the p a r t i c l e s go to the end that is broken. At the begining of the next lesson I asked several children with d i f f e r e n t ideas to put their representations of the magnetic f i e l d of a broken magnet on the board. Then I demonstrated, on an overhead projector, with iron f i l i n g s and a broken magnet. At th i s point I was tryi n g to address the one pole idea and so asked the class what the iron f i l i n g s at both ends of the magnet might mean. (The day before when the students were doing their own a c t i v i t y I had observed that every - 6 6 -s t u d e n t had g o t t h e same r e s u l t t h a t I now had on t h e o v e r h e a d . ) A number o f s t u d e n t s p r o c e e d e d t o c o u n t t h e number o f i r o n f i l i n g s on t h e ends o f t h e magnet. When I e n q u i r e d a s t o why t h e y were d o i n g t h i s t h e r e s p o n s e was,"We want t o f i n d o u t w h i c h end i s t h e w e a k e s t b e c a u s e t h e n we w i l l know t h e o t h e r end i s t h e p o l e . " I t was t h e n t h a t I r e a l i z e d t h a t t h e i r b e l i e f s o f what a b r o k e n magnet was had a c t u a l l y i n f l u e n c e d how t h e y w o u l d do t h e i r d r a w i n g s r e g a r d l e s s o f what t h e y o b s e r v e d . I was a l s o i n t e r e s t e d t o n o t e t h a t t h e j o u r n a l e n t r i e s a b o u t b r o k e n magnets r e f l e c t e d some s t u d e n t s ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f p a r t i c l e t h e o r y i n t h e i r a t t e m p t t o e x p l a i n a n i d e a : B e o d l : A l l magnets have two p o l e s . Some p a r t i c l e s w i l l t u r n a r o u n d a n d f a c e t h e end t h a t was b r o k e n . M a t t : I f t h e s o u t h end was b r o k e n o f f t h e b r o k e n end w o u l d s t a r t w o r k i n g a s s o u t h , a n d t h e l i t t l e p a r t i c l e s o f magnet w o u l d s t a r t p o i n t i n g s o u t h . W e s l e y u s e d t h e f i r s t a n a l o g y I had r e a d o r h e a r d f r o m a s t u d e n t : " A b r o k e n magnet w o r k s t h e same a s a w h o l e magnet b e c a u s e I t ' s l i k e a n e a r t h w o r m . I f i t ' s b r o k e n i t s t i l l l i v e s . I f y o u b r e a k a magnet t h e p a r t i c l e s w i l l be t h e same. I t ' s j u s t m a k i n g a s m a l l e r o n e . " - 6 7 -Th e use of analogies, up to this point, had been l e f t up to me and so i t was exciting to have a student use one. The class probably picked up on my enthusiasm, ( p a r t i c u l a r l y after I posted Wesleys' analogy on the b u l l e t i n board), because several other students t r i e d to explain themselves by using analogies. Note Laras' explanation of what happens when you heat a magnet in section C. The whole notion of poles became even more interesting when I introduced a magnet, again on the overhead projector, that appeared to have three poles! The students, as well as the teacher and the graduate student, were incredulous. No matter how many times we did the demonstration there were s t i l l three poles. Eventually we decided that perhaps two log shaped magnets had been welded together although the t h i r d pole did not appear in the middle of the magnet. We did not f e e l we had to come to consensus on t h i s one and i t was a good way to bring this part of the unit to closure -with something else to think about. E. Rogers' Islands Eventually our lessons in magnetism led us to magnetic north and compasses. From the diagnostic test and the discussions following from day one of the unit I knew there was a variety of ideas about how and why compasses work: Teacher: Why does the compass needle point to north? - 6 8 -Erlk: It's from the equator. It's a l l to do with the equator. Teacher: Oh, can you explain? E r i k : In the middle of the earth i t is burning hot and in the middle i t ' s being pulled by both d i r e c t i o n s . The south pole i t ' s way down p u l l i n g down, and the north pole is p u l l i n g up. It's being pulled by both d i r e c t i o n s . Morgan: A compass points north because we are closer to north. Colby: A compass needle points in the same d i r e c t i o n that you put the compass. Emma: Magnetic north has a small magnet in the a i r and the needle is metal and when you put i t down, i t just points there. Roger: There's an iron island in the A r c t i c Sea and the magnet points there because magnets a t t r a c t Iron. There's a magnetic island. Kler: Yeah, just l i k e Roger said there is an island....well, a couple of islands that 'cause the water is so cold the volcanic eruption came and the water cooled i t down so i f there is any magnets in the water the magnetic s t u f f i t got in and when the - 6 9 -island was formed the volcanic rock had magnetic s t u f f in i t . The idea of the magnetic island was very common among the students. For example the following lesson when I asked the students to help me make a l i s t of where you might find a magnet the "is l a n d " came up again: Roger: Well, I looked on the atlas and I found the magnetic island up around the north pole....Magnetic Island. Teacher: Do you want me to put that on the l i s t ? Roger: No, I found i t on the a t l a s . You know that island we were tal k i n g about? Because Roger's idea of the island was popular and he seemed to fe e l very strongly about i t I asked him i f he could explain exactly what he meant because I had never heard of Magnetic Island. He to l d me that his Scout Leader had taught him that the compass needle pointed to "magnetic Islands" near the north pole. He was absolutely i n s i s t e n t that there was an island c a l l e d "Magnetic Island". He was so interested in thi s idea that we continued on with the discussion after class and I said that I would t r y to find the island on a map of North America. I spent a long time looking at every map that I could lay my hands on tr y i n g to find the islan d . Eventually I real i z e d that because the current position of the North - 7 0 -M a g n e t i c P o l e Is l n the v a c l n l t y of B a t h u r s t I s l a n d the c a r t o g r a p h e r , who had de v e l o p e d the maps f o r the s c h o o l a t l a s , had l a b e l l e d the map i n such as way t h a t g i v e s the i m p r e s s i o n t h a t t h e r e i s a "North M a g n e t i c I s l a n d " . The name B a t h u r s t i s over t o one s i d e of the i s l a n d and the word p o l e i s p l a c e d below the i s l a n d so t h a t i t l o o k s l i k e t h e y do not be l o n g w i t h the r e s t of the words. Roger had l o o k e d a t our s c h o o l a t l a s and had h i s n o t i o n of the magnetic i s l a n d c o n f i r m e d , a l o n g w i t h t h a t of h i s Scout Leader and so t h i s i d e a was v e r y s t r o n g f o r him. S c i e n t i s t s , of c o u r s e , a r e not r e a l l y s u r e about how magnets work and t h e r e i s some s p e c u l a t i o n t h a t perhaps t h e r e i s ma g n e t i t e a t the p o l e s but the s t u d e n t s ' i d e a of the magnetic i s l a n d s b e i n g the cause of compass movement was not one t h a t I wanted t o s t r e s s . The i d e a of the e a r t h s ' magnetic f i e l d (whatever i t s ' s o u r c e ) i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h the magnets* magnetic f i e l d , s i m i l a r t o t h a t of two magnets, seemed t o be more i n l i n e w i t h what we had been s t u d y i n g p r e v i o u s l y . The groups spent time making t h e i r own magnets and s e t t i n g up s h o r t d e m o n s t r a t i o n s but we kept coming back t o Rogers' i s l a n d . E v e n t u a l l y , w i t h the h e l p of diagrams t h a t showed the s i m i l a r i t y of the e a r t h s ' magnetic f i e l d and the magnets' magnetic f i e l d , the s t u d e n t s c o u l d see t h a t i t made sense t h a t the magnetic compass needle was a t t r a c t e d t o the n o r t h magnetic p o l e . -71-We did of course have to spend time discussing the notion that the N on the magnet or compass meant north-seeking not north. The idea of N not being north was confusing for many students but for most the Idea of unllkes a t t r a c t i n g ( e s p e c i a l l y when someone came up with the idea of male and female) was quite strong and having the south end of p a r t i c l e s c a l l e d the north - seeking end of the magnet suddenly made sense. The concepts of magnetic north and compass interaction with the earths' magnetic f i e l d are both part of the S.T.E.M. unit in magnets and compasses. The information in the textbook is very confusing unless the teacher has done some preliminary work with p a r t i c l e s ( not included in the textbook) and there is very l i t t l e background information for the teacher. I found myself continually r e f e r r i n g to secondary physics textbooks whose authors complained about the fact that students had such a weak understanding of magnetism. IV. Evaluating Students' B e l i e f s About Magnetism As the unit on magnetism progressed more amd more information concerning how the students were thinking about certain concepts of magnetism was being c o l l e c t e d . By the time the unit had come to a conclusion the b u l l e t i n boards in the classroom were covered with charts that contained student ideas about magnets and compasses. The students' - 7 2 -journals were f u l l of entries, at least one for each lesson and sometimes two, there were problem sheets that students had worked on and notebook entries that displayed the results of their own experimenting. There seemed to be more than enough work done to evaluate students with without a formal test but for my own future planning I decided to use the information that was available to see i f there had been any change in their thinking about magnetism by giving a second diagnostic t e s t . The students were told that t h i s was not a test they could study for and in fact even i f they had been told to study no text book had been used and they had not taken any notes to study from. The students were informed that t h i s test was similar to the one given at the beginning of the unit and that i t would show i f there had been a change in their o r i g i n a l thinking and i f that thinking was similar to what s c i e n t i s t s thought. The purpose of the test was not to grade right or wrong answers. I was not surprised with the reaction of concern on the part of the students as their notion of any kind of a test at the end of a unit was quite d i f f e r e n t from what I had in mind. I made up questions similar to the ones on the diagnostic test given to the students at the beginning of the unit but added to that questions that covered other topics that we had studied about magnets and compasses. The test was a paper and pencil one but was read out o r a l l y and - 7 3 -demonstrated when applicable just as the f i r s t test had been done. This time, however, the students were to l d that they should use t h e i r journals, charts, problem sheets and notebooks to help them answer the questions. The students were asked to look back at t h e i r previous thinking to see i f their current thinking had changed by r e f e r r i n g to their pre-tests, t h e i r journal entries and to the discussion charts and then come up with an explanation for each one of the questions on the post-test. For example, the f i r s t question was to c i r c l e objects that would be attracted to a magnet. Many students had o r i g i n a l l y believed that a l l metals were attracted to a magnet. I wanted them to recognize that not only were certa i n metals attracted to magnets but that their thinking had changed. There was no problem with copying answers from charts and journals, because the students were asked to explain, usually with diagrams, what they were thinking about. Once the test began students got used to the idea that they could use a l l the sources of ideas to answer the questions. At times throughout the test you could hear students laugh as they read t h e i r previous work but o v e r a l l they a c t u a l l y used their own written materials minimally although I directed them to the class chart work continually. I had hoped that they would spend more time comparing th e i r new ideas with th e i r old ones. But on r e f l e c t i o n I can see that this idea w i l l take nurturing as - 7 4 -the students' idea o£ a test was quite foreign to this one and they were more concerned with just answering the questions. I was pleased to see though that some students were doing as I had asked and were relaxed enough to do so. (More discussion of r e f l e c t i o n w i l l occur in chapter 5.) The students received the diagnostic tests back with comments rather than a mark and an indication where their thinking had changed and i f i t was similar to the way a s c i e n t i s t might answer the question. There were nineteen concepts tested and the majority of students answered 80% of the questions with acceptable answers but what was stressed was how much their thinking had changed. - 7 5 -V. Students' current b e l i e f s about magnetism The influence of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on my students was a positive one. My enthusiasm for what we were doing, the filming that was going on during the lessons, and student knowledge that the study was " s p e c i a l " undoubtedly influenced behaviour but those situations do not take away from the fact that the students did have many ideas about magnetism that influenced their thinking. They were given an opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways that encouraged discussion and the sharing of ideas. Whether or not the students understood more concepts with t h i s approach than other approaches I leave up to another researcher. The influence of student b e l i e f s on conceptual understanding and on how students performed a c t i v i t i e s was monitored constantly through journals, discussions, problem solving, and notebook entries. P r o f i l e s of the following three students were made up from ideas expressed on pre and post diagnostic tests, from journal entries and from class discussions. They give some indication of the students' current b e l i e f s about magnetism, i f or how their thinking changed and some reasons for their thinking that w i l l , hopefully, aid in preparation of the unit when i t i s next taught. - 7 6 -A. Student p r o f i l e s  Maria Maria was a new student to the school and was having trouble making friends. She had begun to resort to seeking attention by "showing o f f " and as a re s u l t her reputation with the students was very poor. Every time she spoke up about anything the class would moan and groan and say things l i k e , "Oh no not her again!" This was a very disconcerting s i t u a t i o n for me and for her classroom teacher, who was constantly tr y i n g to deal with the problem. Even though the class and I had discussed respecting the views of others, I was very worried when Maria, who was very obviously interested in what we were doing, started to make suggestions and give explanations. Her idea about the magnetic s h i e l d caught the students attention when I asked her to demonstrate for the class and then discussed her ideas using her name. I believe that the class r e a l i z e d that I thought that her "discovery" was important because from that time on there was r a r e l y a time when anyones• ideas were scoffed at including Marias'. Maria believed right from the beginning that metals were attracted to magnets but she thought that a l l metals were attracted. So many of the common metals around the classroom do a t t r a c t metals that for Maria, and for the majority of her classmates i t was a natural thing for them to think. -77-FIGURE 3 Marias' heated maanet FIGURE 4 Marias' magnetized compass needle O * & A/ N A/ - 7 8 -Most of the students including Maria came to believe that metals must be iron or nickel based to be attracted to a magnet. Maria, however, never did understand what materials would or would not shie l d a magnet. She probably memorized the information she needed but did not understand i t . Perhaps th i s accounts for her experiment where she made a magnet Instead of a shie l d and everyone agreed with her. Marias' o r i g i n a l b e l i e f about broken magnets was: "A broken magnet would s t i l l have two poles because some of the magnetism went to the other h a l f . " The d i f f i c u l t y with the understanding of p a r t i c l e s was, for Maria, the same as for many students. They were looked on as something that was a l i v e and making deliberate moves. At the end of the unit Maria indicated that when a magnet was magnetised properly (even when i t was broken) the p a r t i c l e s were aligned. She also knew that a magnet, under intense heat, would have p a r t i c l e s that were not aligned but her drawing changed dramatically. Note that in Figure 3 the p a r t i c l e s are very small whereas in her drawing of the magnet with aligned p a r t i c l e s they were very large. Marias' journal states that: "When the magnet was heated the p a r t i c l e s inside the magnet broke up into small pieces which weakened and weakened the magnet t i l l It stopped working." - 7 9 -So, while Maria could accept that the magnet had p a r t i c l e s that stayed the same size in a cold magnet she f e l t that something d i f f e r e n t must happen to their size when the magnet was hot. Maria ended up with a rather confused idea of why a compass works. She could say that a compass points to the North Magnetic Pole because: "The needle is magnetised and magnetic north is magnetic." Her notion of north-seeking prompted her to do the drawing as shown in Figure 4. She had apparently decided that the p a r t i c l e s In the front half of the needle are pointing south because she knew that N meant north - seeking but the p a r t i c l e s in the back of the needle pointed north because she knows there are two poles. She has not understood that a l l of the p a r t i c l e s , as well as the magnet, have a north and south pole. James Like Maria, James believed that a l l metals were attracted to magnets but he seemed to be able to sort out the d i f f e r e n t metals used in experimenting and was more successful in determining what materials would create a magnetic s h i e l d . - 8 0 -James did, however, express a view that Maria did not and that was that the south pole of a magnet was stronger than the north pole. I am not sure that he r e a l l y had any reason to believe t h i s because he changed his mind very quickly when we began to work with magnetic f i e l d s . However, many students did believe that the north pole was the strongest and there seemed to be several reasons for this thinking. F i r s t , we l i v e in the northern hemisphere and as a resul t are north oriented by nature. Second, the fantasy of Santa Claus has made the notion of the "North Pole" very prominent in chi l d r e n s 1 minds. And t h i r d , students who had had any experience with compass work knew that the needle pointed north. James indicated that he knew that compasses pointed north but perhaps was not sure i f both poles were the same so he just guessed. In the beginning James' explanation of why a compass points to the North Magnetic Pole was: "It always points north." Later when we had experimented with compasses he revised his explanation: "It would point In that d i r e c t i o n because there is a block of magnetite and the north pole of the needle i s pointing to the magnetic block." His b e l i e f in the block of magnetite was quite strong and he never changed his thinking. -81-James seemed to have an ever-changing view of many of the concepts that we del t with during the study. He showed a great deal of interest in the heating of magnets, although much of his approach was attention seeking, for example the propane torch experiment. Many times his answers appeared to be for my benefit rather than for his own. It was apparent that James had had l i t t l e experience with magnets before the study and he did not want to appear to be unknowledgeable in front of his peers. However, James' classroom teacher was amazed at his interest l e v e l , and at his change in behaviour after we began to take an interest in his ideas. His part in the t r i p to the forge seemed to provide the positive attention that he sought. Lajia Lana worked very hard throughout the unit to make some sense out of the concepts she was presented with. She had had no experience with a magnet at a l l - even at home. She was the only student in the class who had never used a magnet. Her interest in magnetism heightened at the same time Jamess' did when students were making suggestions as to how to weaken a magnet. Lana wanted to "Get the magnet r e a l l y hot". It was this suggestion that led to the propane torch experiment in which Lana was asked to a s s i s t . Lana was able to draw a model of the atoms in a magnet when i t was strongly magnetized, broken, and heated. Her -82-drawings showed the p a r t i c l e s aligned for a l l three states but l i k e Maria the size of p a r t i c l e for the heated magnet was smaller. l i a n a s 1 explanation for the broken magnet was: "...the pardekels (sic) ln each side stay in that side..." She says nothing about alignment but her diagram showed that the atoms were lined up and that they were approximately the same s i z e . Lana may not have given a complete explanation but she was getting there. Her explanation for a heated magnet as she explained in her journal was: "I think the pardikels (sic) in the magnet got burnd (sic) and disinegrated ( s i c ) . " Her diagram and explanation showed that she did not understand p a r t i c l e theory but the atoms were not aligned so she did know that something happened to the atoms in the magnet when It was heated and that It would not a t t r a c t metals. It was intere s t i n g to read Lanas' explanations of her ideas. She was a learning assistance student in language arts and her vocabulary and s p e l l i n g was sometimes a barrier to my understanding - not hers. She never did use the words r e p e l l i n g and a t t r a c t i n g - just north and south. -83-FIGURE 5 Lana3' magnetized compass needle FIGURE 6 Rogers' broken magnet - 8 4 -Her explanation of why a compass points north at f i r s t sounds l i k e j i b e r i s h : "Because on a comas (sic) South is North so South i s atracked (sic) to North so North is not atracked (sic) to North. If you study her drawing (see Figure 5), which explains why the N end of the compass needle is attracted to earths' N pole, you can see that i t does make sense. She is try i n g to say that the atoms in the needle of a compass are aligned S/N and are north-seeking (south i s north). So, the south poles of the p a r t i c l e s ln the needle are attracted to the North Magnetic Pole of the earth (south is attracted to the north). The l a s t part of her statement, "So north is not atracked to north", shows her understanding of the idea that two north poles do not a t t r a c t but repel. It i s quite obvious that Lana has a long way to go before she r e a l l y understands the concepts of magnetism but I think that i t ' s important to note that students get confused with language which in turn masks the ideas they have that may be correct or at least show that they are on the right track. Roger Roger had had some previous exposure to magnetism with his grade three teacher and had been taught how to use a compass by his Boy Scout Leader, He was one o£ the most-active students in that he was always tryi n g so hard to put his own ideas together with the new ideas he was learning so that concepts made sense to him. On the pre-test Roger gave the impression that he remembered very l i t t l e about magnetism. Like almost a l l the other students he believed that a l l metals were attracted to magnets and he knew nothing about magnetic shields. He was unsure o£ where the poles on a magnet were but he did remember that l i k e poles repel and unlike poles a t t r a c t . His response to where a compass points was: "Anywhere i t stops." He did explain that a compass needle moves because of the magnetic p u l l of the earth (as in the Magnetic Islands). In general Roger, l i k e most of the students, had a wide variety of ideas about magnets and compasses. Some of the ideas were confused, some half remembered, and some based on experience. Roger gave up many of his confused ideas when he began to experiment for himself but he ended up with two very strong notions that he expressed on the post-diagnostic te s t . The f i r s t notion had to do with broken magnets. Like many of the students Roger was quite prepared to accept the idea that a broken magnet would work the same as a whole - 8 6 -magnet. But very few students could give a clear explanation o f why. Rogers' current b e l i e f about broken magnets, l i k e that of many of his peers, is anthropomorphic: "When you cut a magnet Its' p a r t i c l e s divide up". But apparently not equally as you can see in Figure 6. His o r i g i n a l thought was: "A broken magnet works because when you cut i t , i t divides the power." He has revised his language rather than his thinking. Some students, even at the end of the study, did not want to accept the idea that broken magnets work. The thought that something broken can work the same as something whole is hard to accept. The fact that the students wanted to count every iron f i l i n g at the ends of a broken magnet in the magnetic f i e l d experiment demonstrates that they didn't want to give up their idea. Test wise students memorize these facts but do they understand them or believe them? Rogers' explanation of the broken magnet was quite d i f f e r e n t from that of: James: "If you break a magnet a l l the p a r t i c l e s or iron f i l i n g s s t i l l go the same way." -87-Maria: "The p a r t i c l e s are s t i l l in the magnet so i t is s t i l l as powerful as i t was when i t was whole. Wesley: "If i t s ' broken i t just gets smaller. You get two magnets but they are both weaker. James, Maria, and Wesley believed that the p a r t i c l e s did not move from one side to the other or divide up as Roger described. The class was divided on the issue of p a r t i c l e movement. Two-thirds of the students gave an answer that demonstrated their b e l i e f that the p a r t i c l e s did not divide up and move into each section of the magnet but that the pa r t i c l e s remained in the same place. The second b e l i e f that was very strong for Roger was that of the magnetic islands described in section 4. As explained before many students had a similar idea to Rogers' - that a magnetic island or rock hovered over or was part of the North Magnetic Pole. Roger had many c o n f l i c t i n g ideas about this issue and I'm not sure that he has yet resolved them, but i t was c e r t a i n l y not from t r y i n g . Roger was able to draw a representation of the atoms in a compass needle to show why N i s attracted to the earths' magnetic pole, when asked to explain why the compass points to the North Magnetic Pole he said that: "The compass needle is north seeking and i t is in the northern hemisphere." Roger had given up his island, or has he? - 8 8 -VI. Summary The students did not give up their prior b e l i e f s e a s i l y when the i r own experiences were strong and the concept did not make sense to them. For example, ideas about magnetic north, broken magnets, magnetic shields, and weakening magnets (discussed in sec.3) were d i f f i c u l t concepts and the information learned from everyday experiences was easier for students to understand and made more sense to them. The post-diagnostic test indicates that many students s t i l l had a weakness in understanding these concepts. The reverse of this s i t u a t i o n is that some concepts such as r e p e l l i n g and a t t r a c t i n g , and p a r t i c l e alignment made sense to students because of their every day experiences and so were able to accept those concepts more re a d i l y . I w i l l never r e a l l y know i f any of my students answers on the post - diagnostic test Indicate a change in the i r b e l i e f s . Some of the problem solving a c t i v l t e s done during the unit, such as working out mystery magnetic f i e l d patterns, and some of the drawings, in journals and on the test, Indicate they seemed to understand some of the basic concepts. Only time w i l l r e a l l y t e l l i f the new ideas are useful. I do know that I have a good understanding of some of the problems that my students were having. Better yet I believe that I also discovered the reasons for some of those -89-problems and having t h a t knowledge helped guide me through the u n i t and w i l l help me agai n when I next teach magnetism. -90-CHAPTER FIVE 1 . T n t r o d n n t i on In general, the major thrust o£ t h i s chapter w i l l be a discussion or the influence of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective in the classroom and of the value of r e f l e c t i n g as an integral part of the application of that perspective. In p a r t i c u l a r , the chapter w i l l examine the common be l i e f s of magnetism s t i l l held by the students and how some of these b e l i e f s interacted with the new concepts presented. The value of the strategies used in the e l i c i t a t i o n of student b e l i e f s , in the restructuring of ideas, and in the application of the student's understanding of magnetism in group a c t i v i t i e s and problem solving w i l l be analyzed. Also, the notion of "ownership" that developed as the unit progressed w i l l be discussed. Several sections of the chapter w i l l focus on how the teacher/researcher adopted a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective to su i t her own classroom and w i l l discuss how r e f l e c t i n g -in/on - action posed problems as well as uncovered them. F i n a l l y , the chapter w i l l conclude with a discussion of the implications of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective for the classroom teacher and suggestions for further research. -91-1 1 . Tnfluence of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence on  students The Influence of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on my students was a positive one. My enthusiasm for what we were doing, the filming that was going on during the lessons, and student knowledge that the study was " s p e c i a l " undoubtedly influenced behaviour. But those aspects of the situations did not take away from the fact that the students had many ideas about magnetism that influenced their thinking and that they had an opportunity to express them in a variety of ways that encouraged discussion and the sharing of ideas. Whether or not the students gained a better conceptual understanding of magnetism with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence than with other approaches is not possible to address with t h i s type of case study. I leave that question to other researchers with a d i f f e r e n t design. It is quite evident that a number of a c t i v i t i e s used in the teaching of magnetism assisted in the application of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective that could be used in other grade five classrooms i f the teacher was aware that student's do in fact have alternate frameworks from which they view the world. -92-The a c t i v i t e s described in the next section are part of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence, adapted for the magnetism unit from a model developed by researchers working with The Children's Learning in Science Project (Driver 1986) . A . E l i c i t i n g students' ideas 1. Pre-testing The student's alternate framework for understanding the concepts of magnetism was only p a r t l y uncovered by a pre-diagnostic test given on the f i r s t day of the study. Even though some time was spent in giving the test and trying to c l a r i f y exactly what I meant by each question through demonstration, i t was d i f f i c u l t to uncover the students ideas for a number of reasons: 1. the students did not have the vocabulary to express themselves c l e a r l y ; 2. many students were nervous because i t appeared to be a "test"; 3 . I may not have asked the questions in a manner that would best bring out the student's prior b e l i e f s ; 4. i t was d i f f i c u l t to know which questions to ask that would give a good view of the student's prior knowledge. There are many concepts of magnetism taught in the unit on Magnets and compasses and the - 9 3 -students at this age l e v e l have trouble dealing with too many Ideas at one s i t t i n g Number five is interesting because I had given a similar pre-test to previous classes o r a l l y and found that there were certa i n prior b e l i e f s of magnetism that were common to a l l groups such as: 1. magnets a t t r a c t a l l metals; 2. compasses point north because of a magnetic rock or island hovering over the pole; 3. the north pole is stronger than the south pole; But each class had their own interests and followed the unit to conclusion in their own way so that i t was hard to know exactly which questions to ask another group other than the few b e l i e f s which seemed to be common ones. The oral pre-test had presented problems of i t ' s own such as shy students not speaking up, and students making up ideas after hearing other suggestions just to be par t i c i p a t e . On the other hand the discussion was richer than a written test because the students who needed encouragement to speak could build on the ideas of others and I could d i r e c t the questioning in the area of their i n t e r e s t . Either way I could not count on a pre-test to do anything but give a s t a r t i n g place for discussion. I began the study with the b e l i e f that a written test would also have i t ' s problems and so followed up the -94-pre-test with an oral discussion immediately after the pre-tests were handed i n . The students were quite prepared to discuss the questions o r a l l y that I had just asked and had more time to think about them. Undoubtedly some of the student's responses to questions were not t o t a l l y their own after hearing th e i r peers ideas but the pre-test and discussion together gave a broader picture of where to begin the f i r s t lesson and approximately what topics would need more preparation. The pre-test and discussion s t i l l did not uncover many of my student's ideas as was apparent as the unit progressed and more concepts were introduced. The uncovering of additional b e l i e f s , the influence of student b e l i e f s on conceptual understanding and on student performance of a c t i v i t i e s was monitored continuously through journals and class discusssion. 2. Journals The use of journals had been Introduced early ln September with a unit in Forensic Science. The students took some time to understand that what I wanted was for them to put down their thoughts -- that they were not answering questions that had a right or wrong answer. They were also encouraged to ask questions of their own that I would either answer in their journal or bring up in discussion during the next lesson. Since I could not deal with a l l the questions on a class basis I looked to see i f several people had similar questions and dealt with those. It took some time for me to see how to get real value from the journals because the majority of students wrote very l i t t l e to begin with and some students complained when I asked them to write in their journals because they viewed the procedure as a type of tes t i n g . They were used to keeping a d a i l y journal of personal thoughts for the i r classroom teacher but this one was viewed as something very d i f f e r e n t at f i r s t . When the unit in magnetism started we had not progressed very far with the qual i t y of content in the journal. But as time went on and the students r e a l i z e d that I read t h e i r journals c a r e f u l l y after each lesson and then dealt with their questions in some positive way, without evaluation, most of the students spent more time trying to express their thoughts. If I f a i l e d to answer a question that a student was interested in I would sometimes get a gentle reminder to "Please answer my question from yesterday!". I did not want to get into the habit of answering a l l questions in thi s manner because the point of the journal was to monitor th e i r ideas and to use them to plan for class discussion. Furthermore, I was not prepared to just " t e l l " them everything, so I often made suggestions as to how they might find out the answers to their questions for themselves i f I was not going to deal with i t in class time. The recognition -96-that I had read the journal was what seemed to be the most important. The practice of commenting in the journals in a non-evaluative way had the added value of personalizing our teacher/student r e l a t i o n s h i p . However the time factor involved would not make i t p r a c t i c a l for a teacher to do th i s a f t e r every lesson for every c h i l d . The journal was also useful In having the students r e f l e c t on their past ideas before adding adding new ideas to i t . This was very d i f f i c u l t to do because most students did not l i k e reviewing their past work p a r t i c u l a r l y i f they were not proud of their o r i g i n a l idea. This s i t u a t i o n slowly gave way to a fee l i n g of "ownership of ideas" which w i l l be discussed in another section. The whole Idea of r e f l e c t i n g was d i f f i c u l t not only for the students but for me. Reflecting takes time, energy and practice and only when i t becomes evident that r e f l e c t i n g w i l l produce something f r u i t f u l do you begin to r e a l i z e the value ln the process. It was quite evident during the post-test, when students were encouraged to use their journals to answer questions, that many students were not prepared to take the time to use them. Their journals did not contain enough of their ideas to r e a l l y make them useful. I believe that keeping a science journal that w i l l be r e a l l y useful for the student w i l l take much practice and, in fact, is d i f f i c u l t for many grade five students. - 9 7 -However, the j o u r n a l s were v e r y u s e f u l t o me i n l e s s o n planning. np 3. Class discussions Discussion played a very large role in the development of the unit in magnetism. It was important to know how the students were thinking not only at the beginning of the study but throughout the unit. Additional student b e l i e f s in magnetism were uncovered and the monitoring of new or changed thinking as i t surfaced was made e x p l i c i t during our many discussion times. A concerted e f f o r t was made not to allow discusssions to become question and answer periods but to encourage interpretive or r e f l e c t i v e conversation. This was hard for me because I had been used to asking questions in order to help students begin working with materials and then to c i r c u l a t i n g among the groups to ask individuals s p e c i f i c questions about th e i r work. The aim of the discussions for this study was to begin with some sort of problem or event that encouraged students to express their ideas not only to me but to engage in discussion with their peers before their ideas were t r i e d out with materials. I did not stop asking individuals s p e c i f i c questions about th e i r work but the questions sought out opinions as well as d i r e c t i n g experimenting. For example the question, -98-"What do you think w i l l happen when the magnets N poles are pointed at each other?" was more common than, " What happens when you point the magnets N poles at each other." Both are good questions and both should be asked but the f i r s t question t r i e s to encourage the student to think about what she already knows then she is ready for question number two. I found that I spent more time and e f f o r t on prediction than I ever had before and with a greater understanding of why I was doing i t . To keep track of student b e l i e f s and to allow those b e l i e f s to be recorded v i s u a l l y large chart paper was hung on the wall in the discussion area and Individual names were written beside the owner's idea as i t was presented. The students were then able to refer to s p e c i f i c ideas by name when they were speaking. Sometimes during discussion we would refer to previous thinking and the charts were valuable in allowing us to look back on prior discussions. B. Restructuring of ideas 1. C o n f l i c t situations The restructuring of student's ideas began with the type of interpretive discussion as described in the previous section. But i t was not just discussion that brought about a change in thinking in many cases. Students that did not have a strong b e l i e f of t h e i r own were quite prepared to l i s t e n to discussion and accept the new ideas with l i t t l e thought - 9 9 -as as they did in Marias' case where she made a magnet Instead of a s h i e l d . If there had not been a follow up to that experiment in the form of a c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n , (Maria and James shared their opposing ideas by demonstrating to the class) I am sure many students would have continued to believe her results because they "saw" i t happen. They may have listened to my explanation of what happened and understood but I wonder what would have been the most powerful influence - what they heard from me? or what they saw Maria do? The introduction of the p a r t i c l e model diagrams afte r the incident with Maria widened the study of magnetism beyond my o r i g i n a l intent but the students were interested in taking this d i r e c t i o n and the problems that the diagrams instigated were interesting enough to explore. The c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n presented with the propane torch and the paperclip to show that heat could weaken a magnet c e r t a i n l y led to f r u s t r a t i o n on my part but i t did show me quite c l e a r l y that aside from the heat problem the students s t i l l believed that a " r e a l " magnet was bar shaped and commercially made. Knowing t h i s made i t easier to understand why they may have had d i f f i c u l t y understanding that the heat from the torch did weaken the paperclip magnet. The "red hot" heating of the " r e a l " magnet at the forge was necessary before the students would believe that heat r e a l l y could weaken a magnet. -100-Presenting a problem in some form that c o n f l i c t e d with the current idea gave the students a chance to see and to hear about something d i f f e r e n t . Then the students had an opportunity to "do" by applying new conceptions in a variety of ways. Hopefully new ideas were consolidated with t h i s approach. Perhaps this happened at the forge. It was often necessary to introduce some sort of c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n or problem during the discussions in order to keep them from becoming question and answer periods. Unfortunately knowing what challenge might be needed ahead of time was not always possible because I never knew how the students would be thinking ahead of time or the di r e c t i o n the discussion might take. The introduction of c o n f l i c t situations was where r e f l e c t i o n - i n - action was often necessary and important -but d i f f i c u l t . I think that teachers probably r e f l e c t - i n -action frequently when they are c i r c u l a t i n g in the classroom and see a need for red i r e c t i n g an a c t i v i t y but the s i t u a t i o n is d i f f e r e n t when you are confined in a discussion s i t u a t i o n with t h i r t y students try i n g to red i r e c t a conversation with a "problem on the spot". Many times a discussion was brought to closure because I was not sure of what I should do next. I am convinced that practice in r e f l e c t i n g and f a m i l i a r i t y with student's common alternate Ideas of magnetism w i l l make the inclusion of c o n f l i c t situations - I d -eas i e r l n the f u t u r e a l t h o u g h t r i p s t o the f o r g e a r e r a r e l y possible. np 2 . Sharing ideas Some of the most interesting situations, that encouraged the students to restructure their ideas, took place during discussion times when the students shared th e i r ideas in a variety of ways. For example Beodl used a set of f l o a t i n g magnets to explain a t t r a c t i n g and r e p e l l i n g to the class and then compared her idea to others that she saw l i s t e d on the chart paper. Emma used an overhead projector to explain her ideas of a magnetic f i e l d . Lana helped to demonstrate her idea of heat weakening a magnet by helping with the propane torch. Roger explained his island theory using a map of Canada. Maria, who was very daring and demonstrated her idea of a magnetic s h i e l d , caused a number of students to get involved in a v a r i e t y of demonstrations. I would l i k e to have seen a great deal more of t h i s kind of sharing but l i k e many of the other a c t i v i t e s used during the study i t required practice and patience on the part of the teacher to allow for i t and an understanding of i t s ' role on the part of the students. -102-3. Coming to consensus Trying to come to consensus on an issue was always interesting and provided for the most exciting kind of sharing and potential restructuring of ideas. After the students had had an opportunity to work with materials the group leaders would be asked to present the results that their group members had agreed upon (or not agreed upon in some cases). After the f i r s t group explained their findings the class would be asked how many other groups confirmed the re s u l t s . Those groups that did not would be asked to demonstrate their own findings and we would enter into discussion u n t i l we came to some kind of closure. If the entire class was on the wrong track i t was time for me to present a c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n . For example we did not come to consensus with the magnetic sh i e l d experiment u n t i l after Maria, James and several others had demonstrated their findings. But eventually everyone was s a t i s f i e d . The concept of heat weakening a magnet took days to be resolved but again we came to consensus after the torch experiment and the t r i p to the forge. I am not convinced that we ever r e a l l y came to consensus on the idea of why compasses point north and the post-diagnostic test c e r t a i n l y showed that some students s t i l l believed in Rogers' magnetic island theory. -103-The aim was t o come t o consensus w i t h the r e s u l t s from a c t i v l t e s and experiments but i f we d i d not as in the case of heat p a r t i c l e s , magnetic north, and the three pole magnet I simply went on with the next lesson. When the students were drawing magnetic f i e l d s there was very l i t t l e discussion other than confirming instructions or arguing about who was going to sprinkle the iron f i l i n g s next but once the class was told to discuss results to see If the group could come to consensus they began to share their ideas. These conversations often ended up in arguments u n t i l the ideas were presented to the cl a s s . The majority of students did need teacher d i r e c t i o n when trying to come to consensus. C. Application of ideas When working with materials the students were grouped into fours so that they could work with a larger number to share equipment, work with a partner, or work as individuals as the need arose. I found that many students did not carry on a productive discussion when working with the larger group but were quite capable of sharing results once they had had the opportunity to work alone or with a partner. Working with a group also took practice. There was improvement over the course of the study but at f i r s t there was more gossip than anything else except when the conversation was directed by me as I mingled with individual -104-groups or during the discussions when we were tr y i n g to come to consensus. The students needed the time and opportunity to apply the ideas that we had been discussing on the various topics presented. Sometimes that application took the form of problem solving as in id e n t i f y i n g mystery f i e l d patterns after working with magnetic f i e l d s . The students demonstrated their b e l i e f s of poles and r e p e l l i n g and at t r a c t i n g with t h i s kind of a c t i v i t y . Every lesson included work with materials and an opportunity for personal enquiry. For example the students were encouraged to make their own compasses, they were not given a s p e c i f i c procedure for doing so. They experimented with many d i f f e r e n t ways to weaken a magnet even though they had had a class discussion and had heard their friends ideas. They were eager to t r y out these ideas as well as their own. Since the students were not sharing their ideas while they worked with materials and because many students simply did not know how to get started having discussions about what you could do ahead of time was usually productive. However, there was plenty of time set aside for "messing around" (Hawkins, 1965). D. Reflection Trying to get my students to r e f l e c t was the most d i f f i c u l t part of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence. The -105-s t u d e n t s were most a n x i o u s t o k e e p d o i n g new a c t i v i t e s . T hey d i d n o t want t o " l o o k b a c k " t o s e e how t h e i r t h i n k i n g had c h a n g e d . E x c e p t f o r t h e o c c a s s i o n a l r e f e r r a l t o a n i d e a b y name f r o m t h e c h a r t s , o r r e a d i n g t h e l a s t e n t r y i n t h e i r j o u r n a l and c o m p a r i n g i t t o p r e v i o u s e n t r i e s , o r l o o k i n g a t t h e r e s u l t s f r o m a p r e v i o u s e x p e r i m e n t , t h e y saw no v a l u e i n r e f l e c t i n g . E v e n d u r i n g t h e p o s t - d i a g n o s t i c t e s t where t h e y were e n c o u r a g e d t o use t h e i r j o u r n a l s t h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e s t u d e n t s d i d n o t want t o do s o . The most v a l u a b l e p a r t o f r e f l e c t i o n , h o w e v e r , h a p p e n e d w i t h o u t t h e s t u d e n t s r e a l i z i n g what t h e y were d o i n g . T h i s h a p p e n e d when t h e y were e n c o u r a g e d t o t a l k o r w r i t e a b o u t t h e i r b e l i e f s . The s t u d e n t s a l r e a d y had a f r a m e w o r k o f b e l i e f s b u i l t f r o m e x p e r i e n c e s . I t was t h i s f r a m e w o r k upon w h i c h t h e y r e f l e c t e d . Any o p p o r t u n i t y t h a t a l l o w e d t h e s t u d e n t s t o e x p r e s s t h e i r o l d b e l i e f s , new b e l i e f s , o r c h a n g e d b e l i e f s r e q u i r e d them t o r e f l e c t , w h i c h t h e y were d o i n g u n c o n s i o u s l y . E. The N o t i o n o f O w n e r s h i p The s t u d e n t s were e n c o u r a g e d t o e x p r e s s t h e i r i d e a s f r e e l y d u r i n g d i s c u s s i o n p e r i o d s . P r e v i o u s e x p e r i e n c e had t a u g h t me t h a t t e n y e a r o l d s c a n e x p r e s s t h e m s e l v e s much more c l e a r l y o r a l l y t h a n on p a p e r and a g r e a t d e a l o f I n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t what t h e y were t h i n k i n g w o u l d have b e e n l o s t t o me u n l e s s a n a t t e m p t had b e e n made t o r e c o r d I t . -106-Large lined chart paper was hung up in the discussion area and when students were sharing ideas they were noted on the chart (very similar to what an elementary teacher might do when brainstorming for ideas) only the students* names were placed along side their idea. Later, when the discussion was over the charts were then l e f t hanging on a b u l l e t i n board. The display boards f i l l e d up with charts and eventually had to be stacked together but they were a valuable source of ideas that were used for reference on a number of occasions. Very quickly after the idea of recording ideas became established the students began to take ownership of their ideas. During a discussion students would use each others names when r e f e r r i n g to a certain a c t i v i t y or idea. For example the students were quite clear on who wanted to heat the magnet - Lana - and who wanted to melt i t - James -. During the experiment with Maria, Beodl t r i e d to explain a point by r e f e r r i n g to "Marias' way". Eventually the students would stop and wait to see that I had in fact remembered to write a name down beside an idea on the chart. The e f f o r t was always made to get down the exact words of a student response rather than rewording thoughts for the sake of speed or correct English. This small act did not go unnoticed by the students and they would a s s i s t in making sure that I had heard the words -107-eorrectly, not just for their own ideas but for the i r peers as well. Several months l a t e r , after I had returned to the classroom, the students and I were studying a unit in astronomy and I asked a question about how they believed galaxies were formed. There was a buzz of interest as the students thought about th i s then I asked a female student to give a response. I wrote the idea down and then asked a second student to respond. The classroom became very quiet and when I asked what was wrong the second student said, "You forgot to write her name down beside her idea." The students liked being recognized for their ideas. They were quite free to change them but in the mean time their thoughts were treated as important discussion items. At the beginning of the study the students were often taken aback when I would say, "John had an interesting idea yesterday about how to make a compass. I have the materials here John come up and show the class what you were talking about," or "Wesley gave a very interesting analogy about broken magnets in his journal. I've put i t on a poster on the b u l l e t i n board have a look at i t when you have a chance." Generally the students gave thoughtful answers to the questions asked. I believe that for the most part the students were proud of their ideas. They often pointed out their names on the charts to other students and would -108-oceasionally remind me that we had not tried their idea out with the c l a s s . Students who were shy always had their journals to write in later but there were very few students who did not f e e l that they could share their ideas by the end of the study. The idea of ownership did not occur just with the students' ideas. They also recognized they were part of the study. Students would l i n e up at the classroom door before the lessons to help set up the video camera and to a s s i s t in any way they could. They were also excited about watching a video made from exerpts of lesson tapes e n t i t l e d Childrens' Ideas About Magnetism shown to them after the study was completed. Many queries have been made about when the "book" would be written, as the thesis became known. The students' involement enhanced the idea of teacher and students working in a partnership. I I I . Influence of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on the  teacher A c o n s t r u c t l v l t i s t perspective toward teaching has influenced my teaching in two ways. F i r s t l y , i t has given me an opportunity to r e f l e c t on my teaching s t y l e and to assess i t and secondly, i t has helped me understand my students thinking In a way that I never have before. Looking with a new perspective at what I had been doing for a long time was very exciting as I say new p o s s i b i l i t i e s -109-a r i s e , b u t i t was a l s o f r u s t r a t i n g a nd f r a u g h t w i t h p r o b l e m s . A. A d o p t i n g a New A p p r o a c h When I f i r s t b e g a n t h e s t u d y I b e l i e v e d m y s e l f t o be a " g u i d e d d i s c o v e r y " t e a c h e r . To me t h a t meant t h a t my s t u d e n t s w o r k e d w i t h m a t e r i a l s , I a s k e d q u e s t i o n s t o g u i d e them, we had d i s c u s s i o n s when a p p r o p r i a t e , a n d I p r e s e n t e d i n f o r m a t i o n when I f e l t i t n e c e s s a r y . I a s s u s m e d t h a t i f t h e i n f o r m a t i o n was i n t e r e s t i n g a nd i n t e l l i g i b l e t o my s t u d e n t s t h e y w o u l d u n d e r s t a n d . I f e l t c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h t h a t a p p r o a c h t o t e a c h i n g and I d i d n o t want t o c h a n g e b u t t h e r e were some t o p i c s i n s c i e n c e , m a g n e t i s m f o r e x a m p l e , t h a t I n e v e r seemed t o be a b l e t o p r e s e n t s u c c e s s f u l l y . The o v e r w h e l m i n g e v i d e n c e o f my s t u d e n t s ' p r i o r b e l i e f s i n m a g n e t i s m t h a t I r e c e i v e d a f t e r a p r i o r s t u d y i n my own c l a s s r o o m c o n v i n c e d me t h a t t h e y had many i d e a s a b o u t m a g n e t i s m t h a t had i n f l u e n c e d t h e i r l e a r n i n g and s t a r t e d me t h i n k i n g a b o u t how I c o u l d m e l d c o n s t u c t i v i s t t h e o r y w i t h a d i s c o v e r y p h i l o s o p h y . Much o f t h e l i t e r a t u r e on c o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e t h e o r y ( e g . Hewson, 1981) gave t h e i m p r e s s i o n t h a t a p p l y i n g c o n s t u c t i v i s t t h e o r y t o t h e c l a s s r o o m meant t h a t t h e t e a c h e r s h o u l d p e r s i s t u n t i l e a c h c h i l d had d e m o n s t r a t e d u n d e r s t a n d i n g . T h i s seemed l i k e a n u n r e a s o n a b g l e t a s k f o r t h e t e a c h e r o f a l a r g e c l a s s r o o m s o e v e n t h o u g h r e s e a r c h e r s l i k e D r i v e r ( 1 9 8 6 ) d i d n o t make t h e same a s s u m p t i o n s a s -110-Hewson I was unsure of what a c o n s t u c t i v i s t teacher should do in terms of a teaching method. My i n i t i a l attempt to use a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach consisted of following the model of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence that Driver (1986) and other researchers in the children in Science Project at Leeds had developed. The idea that a discovery approach could not work in conjunction with this c o n s t r u c t i v i s t model, even though I wanted i t to, evolved during the planning stages of the unit. For several weeks I t r i e d to follow someone else's model of teaching and f a i l e d to recognize the value in what I had already been doing. While the model appeared to be d i f f e r e n t from my own teaching s t y l e i t was, in fact, only d i f f e r e n t in certain aspects. For example, there was the stress on a c t i v i t i e s to monitor student thinking, more of an emphasis on challenging ideas, and no expectation that students should discover everything for themselves. In r e a l i t y t h i s teaching model, which was intended by the reasearchers to be f l e x i b l e , was quite compatible with my own thinking. Eventually I f e l t confident enough to adjust my teaching to suite myself and my students and I r e a l i z e d that I had not r e a l l y changed my ideas about discovery - I just enriched my teaching. After the f i r s t three lessons presented to the class I began to r e a l i z e that very l i t t l e of what I had planned ahead of time was a c t u a l l y being done when I wanted to do - I l l -i t . T h a t when c o n s c i o u s l y c o n s i d e r i n g s t u d e n t s ' u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f e v e n t s , on a c o n t i n u i n g b a s i s , I had t o be p r e p a r e d t o c h a n g e a p r e s e n t a t i o n , d e m o n s t r a t e a d i s c r e p e n t e v e n t f o r j u s t " t a l k i t o u t " , i n o r d e r t o have more s t u d e n t s come t o a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e c o n c e p t b e i n g c o n s i d e r e d . I was p r e p a r e d t o be f l e x i b l e p r i o r t o t h e s t u d y b u t t h e d e e p e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e s t u d e n t s t h i n k i n g made c h a n g e s i n p l a n s a n d d i r e c t i o n c o n s t a n t . G r a d u a l l y what I r e a l i z e d was h a p p e n i n g was a p a r t n e r s h i p . I w o u l d p r e s e n t a c o n c e p t , t h e s t u d e n t s w o u l d work w i t h m a t e r i a l s , a n d t h e n t h e y w o u l d p r e s e n t t h e i r i d e a s d u r i n g d i s c u s s i o n . B u t someone w o u l d i n v a r i a b l y h ave a n i d e a t h a t j u s t d i d i n ' t " f i t " w i t h e v e r y o n e e l s e ' s . So I w o u l d t h e n t r y t o a d j u s t t h e l e s s o n o r t a k e t h e new i d e a i n t o c o n s i d e r a t i o n d u r i n g t h e n e x t l e s s o n . E v e n t u a l l y t h e u n i t came t o a c o n c l u s i o n b u t w i t h b o t h t e a c h e r a n d s t u d e n t s g u i d i n g t h e way. One o f t h e most d i f f i c u l t s t a g e s o f a d o p t i n g t h i s new a p p r o a c h o c c u r e d when I was t r y i n g t o work o u t how much I had t o do t o c h a n g e o r r e d i r e c t my c u r r e n t t e a c h i n g p r a c t i c e . I became s o c a u g h t up i n t r y i n g t o f i g u r e o u t how a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e t r a n s l a t e d i n t o c l a s s r o o m p r a c t i c e , i n my own i n s t a n c e , t h a t I l o s t s i g h t o f what I was a l r e a d y d o i n g w e l l . F o r t h e f i r s t two weeks o f t h e s t u d y I f e l t l o s t a n d f r u s t r a t e d b e c a u s e I t h o u g h t t h a t t h e two p e r s p e c t i v e s , d i s c o v e r y and c o n s t r u c t i v i s t were n o t c o m p a t i b l e . I had no e v i d e n c e t h a t t h e y were n o t b u t t h a t was how I was t h i n k i n g . Then one d a y when t h e c l a s s was v e r y -112-b u s i l y and n o i s i l y engaged in about f i f t e e n d i f f e r e n t a c t i v i t i e s I realized I was f e e l i n g very comfortable with the teaching atmosphere. I'm not quite sure what happened but a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective seemed to be just part of my teaching not dominating i t . A c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach did not have to assume that I must "f l o g a concept to death" (which was quite contrary to my personal b e l i e f of how to present a concept), i t simply made me more aware of where to put the emphasis to encourage conceptual change. In other words the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t model encouraged me: to monitor student's ideas; to ask better questions in a variety of ways that were the most b e n e f i c i a l to the majority of students; to challenge students ideas that seemed to be confused; to encourage the development of consensus and the sharing of ideas; and to compare new ideas with old ones to see how we were progressing. B. Problems of the constructivist teacher. 1. C h a l l e n g i n g i d e a s Challenging student's conceptions was never an easy task because c o n f l i c t situations to challenge ideas were usually required at unexpected times and required r e f l e c t i o n - i n - action. I could not always think of how to respond on the spur of the moment and often I had to return to a problem at the beginning of the next lesson. Sometimes the c o n f l i c t had been forgotten by the students but most of the - 1 1 3 -t i m e c o m i n g b a c k t o a p r o b l e m w i t h a n i n t e r e s t i n g c h a l l e n g e a f t e r a b r e a k had g i v e n me t i m e t o r e f l e c t a n d t h e d i s c u s s i o n s were o f t e n r i c h e r b e c a u s e o f i t . P r e s e n t i n g c o n f l i c t on t h e s p o t w i l l come w i t h p r a c t i c e and d e t e r m i n a t i o n b u t w o u l d be p a r t i c u l a r l y h a r d f o r a t e a c h e r w i t h l i t t l e b a c k g r o u n d k n o w l e d g e o f a s p e c i f i c t o p i c . 2. Time One o f t h e f r u s t r a t i n g a s p e c t s o f a n y a c t i v i t y o r i e n t e d t e a c h i n g programme i s a l w a y s t i m e b u t a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t a p p r o a c h l e n t new m e a n i n g t o t h e w o r d . N o t o n l y was t i m e a p r o b l e m on a l e s s o n b a s i s b u t a l s o on a u n i t b a s i s . As a n e l e m e n t a r y t e a c h e r i n a s c h o o l where t h e t e a c h e r has c o n t r o l o v e r t i m e and where a c e r t a i n d e g r e e o f l e e w a y i s g i v e n o v e r t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f a u n i t I g e n e r a l l y do n o t f e e l r e s t r i c t e d . However, d u r i n g t h e s t u d y I had t o c o - o p e r a t e w i t h a n o t h e r t e a c h e r and t h e c l a s s had t o l e a v e f o r a n o t h e r c l a s s a t a s p e c i f i e d t i m e . I am c o n v i n c e d t h a t t e a c h e r s c a n o vercome t h e t i m e p r o b l e m w i t h most o f t h e a c t i v i t i e s u s e d i n t h e c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e . 3. L a c k o f r e s o u r c e s The l a c k o f b a c k g r o u n d i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t m a g n e t i s m i n t h e t e a c h e r s ' g u i d e f o r t h e t e x t b o o k u s e d i n t h e s t u d y s e n t me s e a r c h i n g f o r a d d i t i o n a l r e s o u r c e m a t e r i a l . As t h e s c i e n c e r e s o u r c e t e a c h e r i n my s c h o o l I had a c c e s s t o o t h e r b o o k s and a c t i v i t y i d e a s a b o u t m a g n e t i s m b u t I d i d n o t h a v e -114-a n up t o d a t e p h y s i c s t e x t t h a t I c o u l d r e f e r t o . The f a c t t h a t I had t h e t i m e t o s e a r c h f o r and f i n d t h e i n f o r m a t i o n I ne e d e d d o e s n o t m i n i m i z e t h e p r o b l e m f o r o t h e r t e a c h e r s who do n o t have r e s o u r c e s b e y o n d t h e i r t e a c h e r g u i d e s . I n o r d e r t o be a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e p r o b l e m s t h a t my s t u d e n t s were h a v i n g u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e c o n c e p t s o f m a g n e t i s m a nd t o be a b l e t o o f f e r c h a l l e n g e s i t was n e c e s s a r y t o have t h i s a d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n . I f o u n d t h a t i t was n o t enough t o have "messed a r o u n d " on my own b e f o r e a l e s s o n . C. The r o l e o f r e f l e c t i o n A d o p t i n g a new a p p r o a c h t o w a r d s t h e t e a c h i n g o f m a g n e t i s m d e p e n d e d g r e a t l y on r e f l e c t i o n . S o m etimes t h e r e f l e c t i o n t o o k p l a c e d u r i n g t h e l e s s o n and r e q u i r e d "on t h e s p o t " d e c i s i o n s a b o u t how t o d e a l w i t h a p r o b l e m . U s u a l l y t h e r e f l e c t i o n t o o k p l a c e a f t e r t h e l e s o o n and a s s i s t e d i n l e s s o n p l a n n i n g . The r e f l e c t i o n t h a t t o o k p l a c e i n a c t i o n was t h e most d i f f i c u l t t o e n g i n e e r . D e a l i n g w i t h p r o b l e m s I n a c t i o n i s s o m e t h i n g t h a t I do a l l t h e t i m e f o r many d i f f e r e n t s i t u a t i o n s b u t i t t o o k a d i f f e r e n t k i n d o f s k i l l t o c h a l l e n g e s t u d e n t s ' i d e a s a s a r e s u l t o f i m m e d i a t e r e f l e c t i o n . T h i s r e q u i r e d k n o w i n g when t o i n t r o d u c e a d i s c r e p e n t e v e n t o r when t o i n t r o d u c e a new I d e a i n s u c h a way t h a t I t e n c o u r a g e d c o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e s u c h a s h a v i n g a s t u d e n t e x p a n d on a n i d e a as James and M a r i a d i d w i t h t h e m a g n e t i c s h i e l d o r d e m o n s t r a t i n g a d i s p r e p e n t e v e n t s u c h a s f l o a t i n g m a g n e t s . -115-I found that r e f l e c t i o n - in - action was d i f f i c u l t because my own knowledge of magnetism was elementary and because I had been used to dealing with students as individuals within their small groups and to t r y i n g to get them to to solve their own problems. I continued to deal with the students ln t h i s manner much of the time but I f e l t that more input was needed from me when we had common problems that were not being solved. The class discussions occured more often as a result and i t was during those discussions that the r e f l e c t i o n - in - action was needed most. Many of the of the a c t i v i t i e s that I instigated in t h i s study occured as a result of the r e f l e c t i o n - on - action. This made planning very time consuming although i t resulted in lessons that were not only of interest to the students but r e f l e c t e d t h e i r current problems with conceptual understanding. As I look back on the study now the most important influence of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective on my teaching was the emphasis on r e f l e c t i n g . That had not been an conscious part of my "guided discovery" because I was often content to learn with the students and I believe that i t has made me much more aware of not only my student's thinking but my own as well. I am p a r t i c u l a r l y pleased with the partnership that developed between my students and I as the r e s u l t of r e f l e c t i n g . -116-I V . C o n c l u s i o n s E l i c i t i n g o f s t u d e n t s ' i d e a s was t h e p r i m a r y a c t i v i t y u s e d t o a d o p t a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e t o w a r d t e a c h i n g m a g n e t i s m t o t h i s g r a d e f i v e c l a s s . E f f e c t i v e methods o f e l i c i t i n g s t u d e n t s * b e l i e f s w e r e : 1. c l a s s d i s c u s s i o n 2. d i a g n o s t i c t e s t s 3. t h e use o f j o u r n a l s 4. s m a l l g r o u p work on a one t o one b a s i s C l a s s d i s c u s s i o n s were t h e most e f f e c t i v e a n d t h e e a s i e s t way t o f i n d o u t how t h e s t u d e n t s were t h i n k i n g . The f o l l o w i n g a r e some s t r a t e g i e s t h a t e n c o u r a g e d d i s c u s s s i o n : 1. r e v i e w i n g t h e i m p o r t a n c e o f r e s p e c t i n g t h e v i e w s o f o t h e r s 2. p l a c i n g n o n - e v a l u a t i v e j u d g e m e n t s on s t u d e n t s ' i d e a s 3. i n v i t i n g v o l u n t e e r s who were l i k e l y t o p r e s e n t more p r i m i t i v e o r n a i v e v i e w s f i r s t , t h e n c a l l i n g on t h o s e who were more a d v a n c e d i n t h e i r t h i n k i n g 4. l i s t i n g o f i d e a s on c h a r t s f o r f u t u r e r e f l e c t i o n 5. r e f e r r i n g t o c o n t r i b u t o r s o f i d e a s by name when d i s c u s s i n g o r c o m p a r i n g m o d e l s 6. a s k i n g s p e c i f i c q u e s t i o n s b u t t h e n a l l o w i n g t h e s t u d e n t s t h e t i m e t o a n s w e r t h em and t o s h a r e t h e i r i d e a s . - 1 1 7 -Once some o f t h e s t u d e n t s ' b e l i e f s o f m a g n e t i s m were u n c o v e r e d t h e r e was a v a r i e t y o f a c t i v i t i e s t h a t a l l o w e d t h e m t o c h a n g e t h e i r v i e w s . The f o l l o w i n g a c t i v l t e s p r e s e n t e d t h e o p p o r t u n i t y f o r c h a n g e t o o c c u r . 1. d i s c u s s i o n a, sharing o£ ideas b. c o m i n g t o c o n s e n s u s 2. u se o f m o d e l s a nd a n a l o g i e s 3. c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n s a. d i s c r e p e n t e v e n t s b. p r o b l e m s o l v i n g The s t u d e n t s had a f o c u s f o r t h e "hands o n " p a r t o f t h e l e s s o n s a s t h e y were e n c o u r a g e d t o a p p l y t h e i d e a s f r o m d i s c u s s i o n . I c h o s e n o t t o d i r e c t t h e a c t i v i t i e s t o e x c l u d e t h e i r own " m e s s i n g a r o u n d " b u t a l l o w e d them t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o t r y t h e i r own i d e a s a s w e l l a s t h e ones s u g g e s t e d b y me. G r o u p d i s c u s s i o n o f I d e a s d u r i n g t h e s e t i m e s was n o t p r o d u c t i v e f o r most s t u d e n t s u n l e s s i t was t e a c h e r d i r e c t e d . P a r t n e r s however d i d s h a r e i d e a s and d i d t r y t o come t o c o n s e n s u s . T h i s s i t u a t i o n i s p e r h a p s i n d i c a t i v e o f t h e s o c i a l i z i n g o f g r a d e f i v e s t u d e n t s i n t h a t t h e y w o u l d o f t e n a r g u e a b o u t whose t u r n i t was n e x t when i n a l a r g e r g r o u p b u t were a b l e t o s h a r e a n d t a l k q u i e t l y w i t h one o t h e r p e r s o n . -118-The students found r e f l e c t i n g to be unnecessary although they did refer to their peers ideas in discussion. I found that r e f l e c t i o n was an integral part of the constructive perspective but that r e f l e c t i o n - i n - action was very d i f f i c u l t and in retrospect see that most of my r e f l e c t i n g took place on action. If teachers are to allow their students' b e l i e f s to d i r e c t lesson planning r e f l e c t i o n - o n - action must be practised at the very lea s t . The students took an interesting view of their ideas in the notion of ownership. It would appear that these students were more interested in expressing their ideas when they were acknowledged p u b l i c l y and their ideas accepted at face value rather than corrected with the s c i e n t i f i c d e f i n i t i o n . Teaching with a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective is a time consumming task both in the planning and in the executing. The teacher must make the e f f o r t to be well informed about the subject to be taught as there is not always the same opportunity to learn with the students as there Is in a discovery approach. Much time however Is needed to "mess around" or t r y out a c t i v i t e s that could be used during a lesson. The teacher not only needs time to consider a c t i v i t e s prior to a lesson but needs the opportunity to consider students' b e l i e f s that may be causing d i f f i c u l t y with conceptual understanding. Teachers must consider the class time involved in using a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective. The constraints of a set time -119-period for teaching science or a set period of time that a unit may take w i l l require some careful planning and decision making about what concepts to teach and what a c t i v i t e s to introduce. The process of adopting a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective towards teaching magnetism has only just begun for me. There are many new ideas to consider, many strategies that require practice, and problems to overcome. I believe that the e f f o r t was worth the time required to teach magnetism from a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t perspective and hence to use a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching sequence that w i l l a s s i s t in the adopting of t h i s perspective. Some of the reasons for my b e l i e f are that I gained: 1. a knowledge of the students' b e l i e f s of magnetism that enabled better preparation of lessons 2. a heightened understanding of the d i f f i c u l t i e s in learning that the students' faced when presented with the concepts of magnetism 3. a clearer understanding of my own b e l i e f s about magnetism and how i t should be taught There appears to be a number of a c t i v i t i e s that e l i c i t students' ideas about magnetism and that help to restructure their thinking. Some a c t i v i t i e s seem to be more a f f e c t i v e than others for elementary students for example the group discussion charts and the introduction of c o n f l i c t s i t u a t i o n s . -120-The r o l e o f r e f l e c t i n g , w h i l e a d i f f i c u l t one f o r b o t h s t u d e n t s and t e a c h e r s , i s i m p o r t a n t i n c o n s i d e r i n g a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t a p p r o a c h t o t e a c h i n g . -121-V. implications of the study A. Implications for teaching In planning to adopt a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching magnetism a teacher w i l l have to give careful consideration to the following points: 1. Re-thlnklng of the teaching s t y l e and the focus of lessons when alternate frameworks are encountered Having to consider a new teaching s t y l e i s disconcerting for any pr a c t i t i o n e r , p a r t i c u l a r l y for someone who i s comfortable with their present s t y l e . However, when students' alternate frameworks surface and are then acknowledged to be important, there is an obvious need for some re d i r e c t i o n of thinking. The time must be taken to question what your goals r e a l l y are for completing both lessons and units. 2. Reflection-in-action The words re£lectlon-in-actlon and reflectlon-on-action were new to me before the study although I know as a teacher I do r e f l e c t on many occasions, both in class and a f t e r , in other subjects such as language arts and arithmetic. However, conscious r e f l e c t i n g , p a r t i c u l a r l y in science, was another matter. I found It d i f f i c u l t to make It happen while teaching a subject l i k e magnetism when I was not always sure myself If I thoroughly understood the concepts as a -122-p h y s i c i s t w o u l d . T e a c h e r s n e e d t o u n d e r s t a n d t h e n a t u r e a n d i m p o r t a n c e o f r e f l e c t - i n - a c t i o n . 3. The t i m e f a c t o r I n v o l v e d i n f i n d i n g r e s o u r c e m a t e r i a l o t h e r t h a n t h e t e x t b o o k The t e x t b o o k c l e a r l y d i d n o t p r o v i d e t h e i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t I n e e d e d t o be i n f o r m e d a b o u t m a g n e t i s m n o r d i d i t g i v e me a s o u r c e o f a c t i v i t i e s t h a t I c o u l d u se a s d i s c r e p e n t e v e n t s . The t i m e s p e n t i n f i n d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n a n d t h e n t r y i n g o u t t h e a c t i v i t i e s b e f o r e a l e s s o n was p e r h a p s t o o l o n g . I was f o r t u n a t e t o h a v e many r e s o u r c e s a v a i l a b l e t o me b u t I know t h a t many t e a c h e r s w i l l f a c e t h e p r o b l e m o f r e s o u r c e s a n d t h i s f a c t o r n e e d s t o be c o n s i d e r e d s e r i o u s l y . 4. L e a r n i n g how t o e n c o u r a g e / m o t i v a t e c o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e As w i t h a l l new i d e a s i n t e a c h i n g , t h e y t a k e t i m e t o become u s e f u l . T e a c h e r s who a t t e m p t t o use a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t t e a c h i n g s e q u e n c e i n t h e i r c l a s s r o o m s n e e d t o e x a m i n e c l o s e l y t h e a c t i v i t i e s t h a t e n c o u r a g e c o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e a nd e x p e c t t h a t some o f them may n o t work w i t h a c e r t a i n age g r o u p o r a p a r t i c u l a r g r o u p o f c h i l d r e n . H o wever, some o f t h e a c t i v i t i e s , s u c h a s j o u r n a l w r i t i n g a n d r e f l e c t i n g , n e e d t o be p r a c t i c e d b y b o t h s t u d e n t s a n d t e a c h e r o v e r t i m e . S u c c e s s w i l l n o t n e c e s s a r i l y h a p p e n a f t e r one t r y . -123-5. Accepting students' beliefs at face value T h i s p o i n t i s of paramount import a n c e . I f the t e a c h e r and the s t u d e n t s * peers do not a c c e p t Ideas a t f a c e v a l u e and do not r e s p e c t the o t h e r s * v i e w p o i n t s the s h a r i n g of i d e a s w i l l not happen. Teachers need t o t a k e the time t o a s s u r e s t u d e n t s t h a t t h e i r j o u r n a l w r i t i n g s a r e not f o r e v a l u a t i o n and t h a t t h e i r c l a s s r o o m d i s c u s s i o n s a r e Important. One way t o ensure t h a t s t u d e n t s b e l i e v e you Is not t o reword t h e i r i d e a s i n " t e a c h e r language" when r e c o r d i n g I d e a s . 6. P e r f e c t i n g q u e s t i o n i n g s k i l l s t h a t w i l l m o t i v a t e s t u d e n t s ' t o e x p r e s s t h e i r t h o u g h t s . Much r e s e a r c h has been done on t h e r o l e of q u e s t i o n i n g and i t s ' importance i n t e a c h i n g a good l e s s o n . Much of t h i s r e s e a r c h , however, has f o c u s s e d on q u e s t i o n i n g s t y l e s and t e c h n i q u e s and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p t o s t u d e n t s ' " r i g h t answers'*. Teachers need t o c o n s i d e r how t h e y q u e s t i o n the s t u d e n t s so t h a t the d i s c u s s i o n p e r i o d s do not become q u e s t i o n and answer p e r i o d s . From a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t s t a n c e one of the p r i m a r y purposes of d i s c u s s i o n i s t o e l i c i t s t u d e n t s * i d e a s , not f o r t e a c h e r s t o l i s t t h e i r own. So, f o r example, the q u e s t i o n "What I f " Is p r e f e r a b l e t o "What i s i t ? " -124-7. The role of language Teachers need to consider how they respond to a student's idea both in what they say and in how they look or gesture. For example, during the f i r s t lesson in magnetism I got very excited about the ideas I was hearing and often responded with words l i k e "wow", " t e r r i f i c " , and "what a neat idea" perhaps giving the students the notion that their b e l i e f s were s c i e n t i f i c a l l y correct, whereas I r e a l l y just wanted them to know that I found their responses int e r e s t i n g . I found i t d i f f i c u l t to remain s i l e n t when the students were speaking but found later that responses such as "that's an inte r e s t i n g idea" or "thank you for your thought" said calmly, was more appropriate. The misinterpretation of language from both the teachers and students' point of view is worthy of great consideration. Many times throughout the unit the students and I did not "connect" because of the difference in Interpretation. The " t i n can" l i d demonstration with Maria is one good example of how careful a teacher needs to be with language. That l i d was not made of t i n but the average person refers to a can that contains food as a " t i n can" and I believe that the students took me l i t e r a l l y . Lana's journal and post-test both were f i l l e d with s p e l l i n g errors and awkward sentences that on f i r s t glance were confusing but a second look at her drawings combined with her words -125-made me b e l i e v e t h a t she r e a l l y knew much more a b o u t m a g n e t i s m t h a n what a p p e a r e d t o be t h e c a s e . 8 . C o n t r o l l i n g o n e s ' I m p a t i e n c e when s t u d e n t s ' i d e a s seem t o be l e a d i n g "nowhere" I t i s v e r y e a s y t o g i v e up when t h i n g s go wrong i n t h e c l a s s r o o m and t o j u s t t e l l t h e s t u d e n t what t h e y s h o u l d know and g e t i t o v e r w i t h . F o r example, t h e s t u d e n t s w i l l n o t a l w a y s r e s p o n d t h e way you p l a n n e d . The i n c i d e n t between James and I d u r i n g t h e p r o p a n e t o r c h d e m o n s t r a t i o n s e r v e d a s a r e m i n d e r t h a t I t t a k e s t i m e f o r c o n c e p t u a l change t o happen. T e a c h e r s need t o l o o k a t t h e i r a p p a r e n t f a i l u r e s w i t h a p o s i t i v e v i e w and c o n s i d e r c a r e f u l l y why i t m i g h t have happened. 9. The u n i t i n mag n e t i s m In t h e t e a c h i n g o f mag n e t i s m t e a c h e r s need t o be aware t h a t t h e many p r o b l e m s s u r r o u n d i n g t h e p a r t i c l e t h e o r y o f m a t t e r may a r i s e and d e c i s i o n s must be made a s t o how t h e i r i d e a s a b o u t m a t t e r s h o u l d be d e a l t w i t h . B e c a u se o f t h e n a t u r e o f t h e c o n s t r u c t i v i s t a p p r o a c h i t was d i f f i c u l t t o s t a y w i t h i n t h e c o n f i n e s o f t h e g r a d e f i v e c u r r i c u l u m . T e a c h e r s w i l l have t o be wary t h a t many o f t h e c o n c e p t s p r e s e n t e d may have t o be d e a l t w i t h more b r o a d l y t h a n p l a n n e d . P e r h a p s i n t r o d u c i n g fewer c o n c e p t s t h a n t h e t e x t b o o k s u g g e s t s would be a p p r o p r i a t e . -126-10. Student/teacher partnership A teacher who takes chlldrens* b e l i e f s Into consideration in planning lessons w i l l , in e f f e c t , be forming a partnership with the students and must be prepared to consider these b e l i e f s throughout the unit not just in the beginning. The students ideas grew and changed continually as was evident in both journals and discussions. These ideas must be constantly monitored and discussed throughout the unit. B. Implications for research The aim of thi s research project was to document the implementation of a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach in teaching magnetism and my own r e f l e c t i o n s of that implementation in a f i f t h grade classroom. From t h i s endeavour there has emerged four major ideas for future research. F i r s t , i t i s quite evident from prior research that children have many ideas about science before being formally taught and that they get these ideas from th e i r personal experiences outside the school as well as from previous schooling. Future studies need to be done to investigate the students' most common b e l i e f s about magnetism that could be used by textbook authors to a s s i s t teachers in pre-planning, in presenting background information and in providing a wider var i e t y of a c t i v i t i e s for use as discrepant events. -127-secondly, the question " Do the students undergo a greater degree of conceptual change when taught by a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach than with other approaches?" w i l l have to be investigated. Because a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach w i l l require changes to be made by a teacher and i n i t i a l l y increase their planning time and class time, i t may have to be proven that a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach w i l l r e s u l t in an academic gain before i t w i l l be accepted by teachers. Thirdly, the whole question of making ones' r e f l e c t i o n s e x p l i c i t w i l l have to be considered. More work w i l l be required on how to communicate to teachers, at the preservice and inservice l e v e l s , some methods to encourage r e f l e c t i o n . Researchers w i l l have to experiment with how this can best be done. F i n a l l y , further studies need to be done with teachers using a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching approach in the elementary grades. There are many considerations that are d i f f e r e n t from those faced by a secondary teacher - such as the students' a b i l t i t y to r e f l e c t and to write coherently in their journals. Much of the writing and preliminary work on c o n s t r u c t i v i s t teaching has been done primarily at the junior secondary l e v e l and the a c t i v i t i e s may not be as appropriate for elementary students. - 1 2 8 -References A n d e r s o n , C h a r l e s W. and S m i t h , E.L. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . C h i l d r e n ' s P r e - C o n c e p t i o n s and C o n t e n t A r e a T e x t b o o k s . I n G. D u f f y , L. R o e h l e r , and J . Mason ( E d s . ) . C o m p r e h e n s i o n I n s t r u c t i o n : P e r s p e c t i v e s and S u g g e s t i o n s . New Y o r k : Longman, I n c . Champagne, A., G u n s t o n e , R., K l o p p e r , L. ( 1 9 8 3 ) . N a i v e k n o w l e d g e and s c i e n c e l e a r n i n g . R e s e a r c h i n S c i e n c e  and T e c h n o l o g y E d u c a t i o n , 1 ( 2 ) , 1 7 3 - 1 8 3 . C l a x t o n , Guy. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . S c h o o l S c i e n c e : F a l l i n g on S t o n y G r o u n d o r C h oked by T h o r n s ? P a p e r a v a i l a b l e f r o m a u t h o r a t C h e l s e a C o l l e g e , L o n d o n . D r i v e r , R. ( 1 9 8 3 ) . The P u p i l a s S c i e n t i s t ? The Open U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s . D r i v e r , R. ( 1 9 8 6 ) . R e c o n s t r u c t i n g t h e S c i e n c e C u r r i c u l u m : The A p p r o a c h o f The C h i l d r e n s ' L e a r n i n g i n S c i e n c e 20 P r o j e c t . P r e s e n t e d a t AERA, San F r a n c i s c o . D r i v e r , R. and B e l l , B. ( 1 9 8 6 ) . S t u d e n t ' s t h i n k i n g and t h e l e a r n i n g o f s c i e n c e : a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t v i e w . S c h o o l  S c i e n c e R e v i e w , 4 43-455. D r i v e r , R and E a s l e y , J . ( 1 9 7 8 ) . P u p i l s and P a r a d i g m s : a R e v i e w o f l i t e r a t u r e r e l a t e d t o c o n c e p t d e v e l o p m e n t i n a d o l e s c e n c t s c i e n c e s t u d e n t s , S t u d i e s i n S c i e n c e  E d u c a t i o n , 5, 61-8 4. D r i v e r , R. and E r i c k s o n , G. ( 1 9 8 3 ) . T h e o r i e s - l n - a c t i o n : Some t h e o r e t i c a l a nd e m p i r i c a l i s s u e s i n t h e s t u d y o£ s t u d e n t ' s c o n c e p t u a l f r a m e w o r k i n s c i e n c e . S t u d i e s i n  S c i e n c e E d u c a t i o n , 10, 37-60. D r i v e r , R. and Oldham, V. ( 1 9 8 6 ) . A c o n s t r u c t i v i s t a p p r o a c h t o c u r r i c u l u m d e v e l o p m e n t i n s c i e n c e , s t u d i e s i n  S c i e n c e E d u c a t i o n , , 13, 105-122 . - 1 2 9 -E a s l e y , J.A. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . N a t u r a l i s t i c case s t u d i e s e x p l o r i n g s o c i a l - c o g n i t i v e mechanisms, and some methodological i s s u e s i n r e s e a r c h on problems of t e a c h e r s . J o u r n a l  of Research i n Science Teaching, 1 9 ( 3 ) , 9 1 - 2 0 3 . Eaton, Janet F., Anderson, Charles W. and Smith, Edward L. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . Student pre-conceptions i n t e r f e r e with l e a r n i n g : case s t u d i e s of f i f t h grade s t u d e n t s . Paper presented a t NARST, Fontana, Wisconsin. E r i c k s o n , G.L. ( 1 9 8 1 ) , Students' b e l i e f s about s c i e n c e concepts: A m i s s i n g i n g r e d i e n t i n the i n s t r u c t i o n a l p rocess. Presented a t AAAS, Toronto, O n t a r i o . Hawkins, D. ( 1 9 7 2 ) . Messing about i n s c i e n c e . In Good, R.G. (Ed.) C h i l d r e n - Science. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown Company. Hawkins, D. ( 1 9 7 8 ) . C r i t i c a l b a r r i e r s to s c i e n c e l e a r n i n g . Outlook , 2 9 , Autumn. Hewson, P.W. ( 1 9 8 1 ) . A conceptual change approach to l e a r n i n g s c i e n c e . European J o u r n a l of Science  Education , 3 ( 4 ) , 3 8 3 - 3 9 6 . L i n c o l n , G. and Guba, E. ( 1 9 8 5 ) . N a t u r a l i s t i c I n q u i r y . Sage P u b l i c a t i o n s , Inc. Magoon, A, Jon. ( 1 9 7 7 ) . C o n s t r u c t i v i s t approaches i n e d u c a t i o n a l r e s e a r c h . Review of E d u c a t i o n a l Research, 4 7 ( 4 ) , 6 5 1 - 6 9 3 . Nussbaum, J . and Novick, S. ( 1 9 8 0 ) . B r a i n s t o r m i n g i n the classroom to invent a model: a case study. School  s c i e n c e Review, 6 2 ( 2 2 1 ) , 7 7 1 - 7 7 8 . Nussbaum, J . , and Novick, S. ( 1 9 8 2 ) . A l t e r n a t i v e frameworks, conceptual c o n f l i c t and accomodation: Toward a p r i n c i p l e d t e a c h i n g s t r a t e g y . I n s t r u c t i o n a l Science, 1 1 , 1 8 3 - 2 0 0 . -130-o s b o r n e , R . J . a n d W i t t r o c k , M.c. (1983). L e a r n i n g s c i e n c e : a g e n e r a t i v e p r o c e s s . S c i e n c e E d u c a t i o n , 67(4), 651-693. P o s n e r , G . J . , S t r i k e , K.A., Hewson, P.W., and G e r t z o g , W.A. (1982). A c c o m a d a t i o n o f a s c i e n t i f i c c o n c e p t i o n : t o w a r d s a t h e o r y o f c o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e . S c i e n c e  E d u c a t i o n , 66(2), 211-227. R o c k c a s t l e , V e r n e N. e t a l . (1977). M a g n e t s a nd c o m p a s s e s . S.T.E.M. S c i e n c e , l e v e l 5, A d d i s o n W e s l e y . R o t h , K . J . (1984). U s i n g c l a s s r o o m o b s e r v a t i o n s t o i m p r o v e s c i e n c e t e a c h i n g a n d c u r r i c u l u m m a t e r i a l s . I n A n d e r s o n , C.W. ( E d . ) O b s e r v i n g S c i e n c e C l a s s r o o m s : O b s e r v i n g  S c i e n c e P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m R e s e a r c h a n d P r a c t i c e . C o l u m b u s , O h i o : ERIC/SMEAC. S c h o n , D o n a l d A. (1983). The R e f l e c t i v e P r a c t i t i o n e r , B a s i c B o o k s , I n c . S l i n g e r , L.A., A n d e r s o n , C.W., and S m i t h , E.L. (1982). S t u d y i n g l i g h t i n t h e f i f t h g r a d e : A c a s e s t u d y o f t e x t - b a s e d s c i e n c e t e a c h i n g . P a p e r p r e s e n t e d a t NARST, F o n t a n a , W i s c o n s i n . S m i t h , E.L. and A n d e r s o n , C.W. (1984). P l a n t s a s p r o d u c e r s : A c a s e s t u d y o f e l e m e n t a r y s c i e n c e t e a c h i n g . J o u r n a l  o f R e s e a r c h i n S c i e n c e T e a c h i n g , 21(7), 685-698. S t r i k e , K.A., and P o s n e r , G .J. (1982). C o n c e p t u a l c h a n g e and s c i e n c e t e a c h i n g . E u r o p e a n J o u r n a l o f S c i e n c e E d u c a t i o n , 4(3), 231-240. -131-APPENDIX Al Diagnostic test 1. C i r c l e the objects below that might be attracted to a magnet. aluminum f o i l candy wrapper gold ring brass plate rusted wrench copper pot st e e l needle Canadian nickel paper c l i p 2. John made a compass by f l o a t i n g a magnetized needle in a st e e l bowl f u l l of water. The compass didn't work explain why? 3. A t r a i n i s to move by a magnet along a track made of wood, p l a s t i c , iron, glass, brass, copper. Place an X under the section the t r a i n cannot run over. Explain your answer. -132-4. Label a l l the poles with an X. A. Horseshoe Magnet B. Bar Magnet C. Broken Magnet 5. Label the poles with N or S A. B. Expla in why the magnets are f l o a t i n g in B. 6. Expla in how a broken magnet works. Draw a diagram i f i t helps you exp la in . -133-7. A. Are these magnets r e p e l l i n g or attracting? B. Explain why th i s happens. 8. W i l l the scissors stay closed or open? Explain your answer. 9 . A. C i r c l e the pole you think the compass points to. -134-B. Explain why the compass points in the d i r e c t i o n that you chose. 10. Label a model of the atoms in a compass needle with N and S to show why the needle is attracted to earths' N pole. 11. Draw a model of the atoms in a magnet to show what when i t becomes: A. magnetized: B. weakened by banging or high heat: C. broken: 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
http://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0097258/manifest

Comment

Related Items