AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 58 Astronomy Education Research
Poster, Wednesday, June 2, 2004, 10:00am-7:00pm, Ballroom

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[58.05] Breaking Down Barriers: Addressing student misconceptions in the K-12 classroom

B. Eisenhamer, J. D. McCallister, L. Knisely (Space Telescope Science Institute)

A typical astronomy question an educator may ask their students is “What is a black hole?” Many times, students’ responses sound more like an episode of Star Trek than an understanding about the universe and how it works: responses such as “Black holes are worm holes in space” or “A black hole is a huge vacuum in space, sucking everything in”. These are all common astronomy misconceptions about black holes. A misconception is defined as a preconceived notion of how the world, or in the case of astronomy - the universe, works. Misconceptions may originate for a variety of reasons, from miscommunication, to oversimplification, to misrepresentation via the media or pop culture. Students who latch on to an astronomy misconception may have difficulty learning new information that is built upon the existing misconception. Additionally, educators who are not able to identify and address misconceptions can create learning barriers that may resonate throughout a students’ life. This poster will introduce some of the extensive research that has gone into determining typical student misconceptions about astronomy, ways to identify them, and how students develop them. The poster will also explain why teachers need to be aware of ideas and concepts students may harbor as well as how misconceptions can be remedied.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://amazing-space.stsci.edu. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bonnie@stsci.edu

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