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Year 3 students’ conceptions of heat transfer


Fitzallen, N and Wright, S and Watson, J and Duncan, B, Year 3 students' conceptions of heat transfer, Proceedings of the 2016 Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference, 27 November - 1 December 2016, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, pp. 1-12. ISSN 1324-9320 (2016) [Refereed Conference Paper]


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Many children and adults have problems differentiating between heat and temperature. As a consequence, intuitions developed about the transfer of heat and other thermal concepts do not align with scientific explanations of the phenomena. These intuitions are formed as alternative conceptions, which are resistant to change and persist as children progress through school. In order to develop teaching interventions that challenge children’s thinking it is necessary to determine the potential alternative conceptions developed early in life. Embedded within the context of a STEM research project, the study reported in this paper explored Year 3 students’ conceptions about heat transfer and the properties of insulation after they had worked through an experiment that required them to collect data to determine the effect of insulation on the transfer of heat. The students were interviewed and the transcripts were interrogated to identify the instances when the students demonstrated their conceptions of thermal concepts. The aim was to determine the way in which the students related their conceptions of heat transfer and insulating properties of material to the context of the experiment and to every day experiences. Excerpts from the student interviews are used to illustrate the range of understanding expressed by the students.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:STEM, heat transfer, science education, technology education, alternative conceptions
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Pedagogy
UTAS Author:Fitzallen, N (Dr Noleine Fitzallen)
UTAS Author:Wright, S (Mrs Suzie Wright)
UTAS Author:Watson, J (Professor Jane Watson)
UTAS Author:Duncan, B (Mr Bruce Duncan)
ID Code:112794
Year Published:2016
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP150100120)
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2016-11-29
Last Modified:2017-12-14
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