124 Student Knowledge Structures: Considering a Fluid Parcel

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Kathleen Quardokus Fisher, Florida International Univ., Miami, FL; and L. Saucer

This is a preliminary report of an investigation into the knowledge structures that students develop and use to understand thought experiments with fluid parcels. All knowledge is organized into structures that are called schemata. These structures help students determine which processes are important to consider during thought experiments and how ideas are related to each other. A fluid parcel that is lifted in the atmosphere is often introduced to students to discuss buoyancy and atmospheric instability. This study aims to improve these lessons by understanding what knowledge structures students use when considering these thought experiments. Methods include think-aloud problem solving and interviews, qualitative thematic coding, and epistemic network analysis. Epistemic network analysis illustrates the relation between qualitatively coded information. In an epistemic network, codes are plotted as points on an x-y plane and ties are created between points if two codes are co-occurring (occurring during the same time stamp). This network of points and ties provides a visualization of the schema that a student uses to understand a fluid parcel. Identifying these schemata and understanding how students use them can be used to inform the design of parcel-based activities and lessons. This preliminary report will focus on initial results, while allowing time for feedback from session participants.
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