Teaching Thermal Phenomena by the Use of Educational Software of Constructivist Inspiration

By Christina Solomonidou and Spyridoula Kalantzi.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many science education research studies revealed students’ difficulties in learning and understanding science concepts and phenomena. Regarding heat and temperature, students have difficulty in using a simple particulate model of matter to describe and explain thermal phenomena, even after traditional teaching (using mainly blackboard presentations and textbooks reading). In our study we used the Greek educational software ‘M.A.TH.I.M.A.’ which was developed within the frame of social constructivism to cope with students’ learning difficulties in four science sections. In the present study we investigated the contribution of ‘Heat’ section of the software in the construction of Heat and temperature concepts by students in both the experimental and particulate level of matter. Sixty Greek lower high school students aged 13–14 years participated. The experimental group consisted of 20 students who worked with the software and special worksheets after they had attended traditional teaching on the topic. The other 40 students formed two comparison groups. All the students answered a written questionnaire before and after instruction. Data analysis showed that the additional teaching with the software ‘M.A.TH.I.M.A.’ had better learning results than traditional teaching, as the experimental group students could understand and use a simple particulate model of matter to describe and explain thermal phenomena.

Keywords: Secondary Education Students, Thermal Expansion, Changes of State

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp.253-262. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.124MB).

Prof. Christina Solomonidou

Professor, Pedagogical Department of Primary Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Thessaly, Greece

Christina Solomonidou is a Professor at the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly. She graduated in Physics of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece). She made post-graduate studies in Science and technology Education at the University of Paris 7 (France), where she got a MEd and a PhD diploma. She has collaborated with other researchers within several research programs aiming at the development of quality educational software, learning science and technology, and the implementation and use of ICT in teaching and learning in primary and secondary school. She has published three books in Educational Technology, and has an important number of publications in scientific journals and conference proceedings. Her research interests focus on students’ learning especially in science and technology, teaching and learning with the use of ICT, design and evaluation of appropriate teaching sequences to remedy students’ alternative conceptions.

Spyridoula Kalantzi

Science Teacher, Pedagogical Department of Primary Education, University of Thessaly, Volos, Thessaly, Greece

Spyridoula Kalantzi is a science teacher of secondary education in Greece. She graduated from the Physics Department of the University of Patras. Recently she has obtained her MEd diploma after she attended the postgraduate program “Modern Learning Environments and Development of Teaching Material” of the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly, in Greece. Her research interests include students’ ideas related to science concepts and phenomena and remediation of students’ alternative conceptions with the use of suitable ICT tools and activities.

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