History of Science and Conceptual Change: The Formation of Shadows by Extended Light Sources
Science & Education online first publication
Christos Dedes and Konstantinos Ravanis
This study investigates the effectiveness of a teaching conflict procedure whose purpose was the transformation of the representations of 12–16-year-old pupils in Greece concerning light emission and shadow formation by extended light sources. The changes observed during the children’s effort to destabilize and reorganise their representations towards a model that was compatible with the respective scientific model were studied using three groups of pupils belonging to different age groups. The methodological plan implemented was based on input from the History of Science, while the parameters of the geometrical optics model were derived from Kepler’s relevant historic experiment. The effectiveness of the teaching procedure was evaluated 2 weeks after the intervention. The results showed that the majority of the subjects accepted the model of geometrical optics, i.e. the pupils were able to correctly predict and adequately justify the experimental results based on the principle of punctiform light emission. Educational and research implications are discussed.