Explicitly linking simulated with real experiments for conceptual understanding of floating/sinking phenomena

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Anastasios Zoupidis Anna Spyrtou Dimitrios Pnevmatikos Petros Kariotoglou


In the present paper, we have examined the impact of explicit linkage between simulated (i.e., virtual) and real (i.e., physical) experimental settings in order to scaffold conceptual understanding, in the case of floating and sinking (F/S) phenomena explanations. This research is part of a research-based curriculum project and has been implemented in an evolutionary manner. The first implementation took place in a science classroom of 12 fifth graders while the refined second, that emphasizedexplicitly linking students’ explanations of real with simulated F/S phenomena, took place in two science classrooms of 41 fifth graders in total. We report and discuss the results of five research tasks included in a questionnaire developed to record students’ explanations concerning F/S phenomena. Findings showed that explicit instruction linking simulated and real activities of F/S phenomena was beneficial for students even as long as seven months after the intervention.

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