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Who needs 3D when the Universe is flat?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. Kristianstad University College. (Physics Education research, Fysikens didaktik)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Education Research, Fysikens didaktik)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Physics Didactics. (Physics Education Research, Fysikens didaktik)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3244-2586
Kristianstad University.
2014 (English)In: Science Education, ISSN 0036-8326, E-ISSN 1098-237X, Vol. 98, no 3, 412-442 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An overlooked feature in astronomy education is the need for students to learn to extrapolate three-dimensionality and the challenges that this may involve. Discerning critical features in the night sky that are embedded in dimensionality is a long-term learning process. Several articles have addressed the usefulness of three-dimensional (3D) simulations in astronomy education, but they have neither addressed what students discern nor the nature of that discernment. A Web-based questionnaire was designed using links to video clips drawn from a simulation video of travel through our galaxy and beyond. The questionnaire was completed by 137 participants from nine countries across a broad span of astronomy education. The descriptions provided by the participants were analyzed using hermeneutics in combination with a constant comparative approach to formulate six categories of discernment in relation to multidimensionality. These results are used to make the case that the ability to extrapolate three-dimensionality calls for the creation of meaningful motion parallax experiences.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 98, no 3, 412-442 p.
National Category
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology Didactics
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-224219DOI: 10.1002/sce.21109ISI: 000337696000007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-224219DiVA: diva2:715838
Available from: 2014-05-06 Created: 2014-05-06 Last updated: 2017-12-05
In thesis
1. Reading the Sky: From Starspots to Spotting Stars
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reading the Sky: From Starspots to Spotting Stars
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis encompasses two research fields in astronomy: astrometry and astronomy education and they are discussed in two parts. These parts represent two sides of a coin; astrometry, which is about constructing 3D representations of the Universe, and AER, where for this thesis, the goal is to investigate university students’ and lecturers’ disciplinary discernment vis-à-vis the structure of the Universe and extrapolating three-dimensionality.

Part I presents an investigation of stellar surface structures influence on ultra-high-precision astrometry. The expected effects in different regions of the HR-diagram were quantified. I also investigated the astrometric effect of exoplanets, since astrometric detection will become possible with projects such as Gaia. Stellar surface structures produce small brightness variations, influencing integrated properties such as the total flux, radial velocity and photocenter position. These properties were modelled and statistical relations between the variations of the different properties were derived. From the models it is clear that for most stellar types the astrometric jitter due to stellar surface structures is expected to be of order 10 μAU or greater. This is more than the astrometric displacement typically caused by an Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone, which is about 1–4 μAU, making astrometric detection difficult.

Part II presents an investigation of disciplinary discernment at the university level. Astronomy education is a particularly challenging experience for students because discernment of the ‘real’ Universe is problematic, making interpretation of the many disciplinary-specific representations used an important educational issue. The ability to ‘fluently’ discern the disciplinary affordances of these representations becomes crucial for the effective learning of astronomy. To understand the Universe I conclude that specific experiences are called. Simulations could offer these experiences, where parallax motion is a crucial component. In a qualitative study, I have analysed students’ and lecturers’ discernment while watching a simulation video, and found hierarchies that characterize the discernment in terms of three-dimensionality extrapolation and an Anatomy of Disciplinary Discernment. I combined these to define a new construct: Reading the Sky. I conclude that this is a vital competency needed for learning astronomy and suggest strategies for how to implement this in astronomy education.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. 229 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1196
Keyword
Astrometry, Astronomy Education Research, Disciplinary Discernment, Extrapolating three-dimensionality, Reading the Sky
National Category
Didactics Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
Research subject
Physics with specialization in Physics Education
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234636 (URN)978-91-554-9086-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-11, Polhemsalen (Å10134), Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-20 Created: 2014-10-21 Last updated: 2015-07-10

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Eriksson, UrbanLinder, CedricAirey, John

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