Teaching with “The Density Notebook”: Learning Outcomes about the Concepts of Mass, Volume and Density

By Helen Stavridou and Stergios Grammenos.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

This paper reports on the learning outcomes concerning the concepts of mass, volume and density, that derive after the use of the educational software “The Density Notebook” in the classroom. The software design draws from the broader constructivist approach and is based on the assumption that the students’ understanding of the concepts of mass, volume and density in the microscopic level, will improve their respective understanding in the macroscopic level. The software presents a series of activities to the learner, aiming at constructing the relationship between the three aforementioned concepts. Before and after a seven-hour innovative teaching intervention, 91 primary students (aged 11-12) answered an initial and a final questionnaire. After the teaching intervention, the majority of the students could successfully use a simple particulate model of matter, in order to represent the concepts of mass, volume and density in the microscopic level. They were also able to correctly correlate representations in the microscopic and the macroscopic level related to the concept of density. On the other hand, students faced difficulties in handling the mathematical relation between mass, volume and density.

Keywords: Mass, Volume, Density, Educational Software, Particulate Model of Matter, Mental Representations

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp.311-324. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.874MB).

Helen Stavridou

Professor, Pedagogical Department of Primary Education, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Mrs. Helen Stavridou received her Bachelor in Chemistry from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (1974) and her Master (D.E.A.) and PhD in Science and Technology Education in 1985 and 1990, respectively, from Paris 7 University-France. She has participated in numerous research programs, studying students and student teachers’ understanding about science concepts and phenomena and also aiming at the development of educational software and multi-media material for a more efficient science teaching in primary and secondary students. Mrs Stavridou has published numerous articles in scientific journals and proceedings of national and international conferences, written in English, French and Greek. She is currently a professor of Science Education in the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Dr. Stergios Grammenos

Chemistry teacher, Secondary education, Greece, 1st Gymnasium of Multicultural Education of Pilaia, Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Mr Stergios Grammenos has a Chemistry degree from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and a PhD in Science Education from the Pedagogical Department of Primary Education of the University of Thessaly. Dr. Stergios Grammenos is a science teacher at the 1st Gymnasium of Multicultural Education of Pilaia, Thessaloniki, Greece. His research interests involve teaching and learning in science, children’s ideas in science, and computer-assisted learning. He has published numerous research articles in journals and conference proceedings.

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