The overlooked challenge of learning to extrapolate three-dimensionality.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Learning astronomy has many learning challenges due to the highly diverse, conceptual, and theoretical thinking used in the discipline. One taken for granted challenge is the learning to extrapolate three-dimensionality. Although we have the ability to see our surroundings in three- dimensional terms, beyond a distance of about 200m this ability quickly becomes very limited. So, when looking up at the night sky, learning to discern critical features that are embedded in dimensionality does not come easily. There have been several articles addressing how fruitful 3D simulations are for astronomy education, but they do not address what students discern, nor the nature of that discernment. Taking the concept of discernment to be about noticing something and assigning meaning to it, our research question is: In terms of dimensionality, what do astronomy/physics students and professors discern when engaging with a simulated video fly- through of our Galaxy and beyond?
A web-based questionnaire was designed using links to video clips drawn from a well-regarded simulation-video of travel through our galaxy and beyond. 137 physics and astronomy university students and teaching professors, who were drawn from nine countries, completed the questionnaire. The descriptions provided by them were used to formulate six categories of discernment in relation to multidimensionality. These results are used to make the case that astronomy learning that aims at developing the ability to extrapolate three-dimensionality needs to be grounded in the creation of meaningful motion parallax experiences. Teaching and learning implications are discussed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Extrapolating three dimensionality, discernment, higher education, astronomy education
Other Physics Topics
Research subject Physics with specialization in Physics Education
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-212018DiVA: diva2:675790
Paper presented at the International Conference on Physics Education, Prague, Czech Republic, 5-9 August.