Enhancing High-school Students’ Conceptual Understanding of the Linkages between the Earth and Trigonometry through an Inquiry-based Learning Unit

By Pimpalak Wongapiwatkul, Parames Laosinchai, Pintip Ruenwongsa and Bhinyo Panijpan.

Published by The Learner Collection

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

In order to make the Earth, as represented by the globe and the map, more understandable to high-school student, an inquiry-based learning unit on “The Earth and Trigonometry” was developed to supplement the traditional presentation of the longitude, latitude, the great circle, the meridian and the dateline. Students from two schools participated in the learning unit as groups in which they asked and answered questions, discussed with groupmates and class. The teacher acted as the facilitator who guided the students to the objectives by scaffolding their learning with basic trigonometry and geometry that they had learned from previous exposures. The teacher also conducted debriefing at which students and teacher participated to achieve better outcome overall. Several pilot studies were conducted in other schools before the teacher arrived at the final instructional unit reported here. Students’ conceptual understanding from pre- , post-tests, observation of their co-operation, their feedbacks to the attitudinal questionnaire were analyzed and the preceding version modified for better understanding of the geographical parameters above. It was found that the most difficult topic was the 3-D projection on the three orthogonal axes; x, y, z. However, using improved three-dimensional physical models and illustrations, better conceptual understanding to the longitude, latitude, the great circle and its distance was achieved.

Keywords: Earth Geometry, Geographical Parameters, Guided Inquiry-based Learning Unit, High-school Students, Physical Model, Trigonometry

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp.1-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 851.503KB).

Pimpalak Wongapiwatkul

Ph.D. Student, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Miss Pimpalak Wongapiwatkul is a Ph.D. candidate in science and technology education (mathematics education) program at Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Parames Laosinchai

Ph.D. Student, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Salaya, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Mr. Parames Laosinchai is affiliated with Multidisciplinary unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand. He is interested in all aspects of mathematics and computer.

Pintip Ruenwongsa

Deputy Director, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Assoc. Prof. Pintip Ruenwongsa is the former deputy director of the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University. She is now affiliated with Multidisciplinary unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Bhinyo Panijpan

Director, Multidisciplinary Unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Assoc. Prof. Bhinyo Panijpan, the former director of the Institute for Innovative Learning Mahidol University, is now at Multidisciplinary unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand.

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