Advertisement

Research in Science Education

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 357–368 | Cite as

Conceptualizing Magnification and Scale: The Roles of Spatial Visualization and Logical Thinking

  • M. Gail Jones
  • Grant Gardner
  • Amy R. Taylor
  • Eric Wiebe
  • Jennifer Forrester
Article

Abstract

This study explored factors that contribute to students’ concepts of magnification and scale. Spatial visualization, logical thinking, and concepts of magnification and scale were measured for 46 middle school students. Scores on the Zoom Assessment (an assessment of knowledge of magnification and scale) were correlated with the Test of Logical Thinking (TOLT) and a series of four spatial visualization tests. Results showed that the TOLT was significantly correlated with the Zoom Assessment. There was also a significant correlation between the TOLT and spatial visualization assessments MV1 (Shape Memory), MV2 (Building Memory), the Storage Test, and the Surface Development Test. The implications of this study for further research are discussed.

Keywords

Magnification Biology Science education Middle school 

References

  1. American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). (1993). Benchmarks for science literacy. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Babcock, R., & Laguna, K. (1997). An examination of the factor structure of four of the cognitive abilities included in the educational testing service kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 23(2), 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bitner, B. (1991). Formal operational reasoning modes: predictors of critical thinking abilities and grades assigned by teachers in science and mathematics for students in grades nine through twelve. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28(3), 265–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blades, M., Lippa, Y., Golledge, R. G., Jacobson, R. D., & Kitchin, R. M. (2002). Wayfinding by people with visual impairments: the effect of spatial tasks on the ability to learn a novel route. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 96, 407–419.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, J., West, G., & Enquist, B. (2000). Scaling in biology: patterns and processes, causes and consequences. In J. Brown & G. West (Eds.), Scaling in biology (pp. 1–22). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Capie, W., Newton, R., & Tobin, K. G. (1981). Developmental patterns among formal reasoning skills. Paper presented at the Eleventh Annual symposium of the Jean Piaget Society, Philadelphia, PA, May.Google Scholar
  7. Carter, G., Park, J., Butler, S., Wiebe, E. N., & Dickerson, D. (2003). The untapped resource: Spatial cognition in the science classroom. Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Philadelphia: NARST.Google Scholar
  8. DeCarcer, I. A., Gabel, D. L., & Staver, J. R. (1978). Implications of Piagetian research for high school science teaching: a review of the literature. Science & Education, 62, 571–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Delgado, C. (2009). Development of a research-based learning progression for middle school through undergraduate students’ conceptual understanding of size and scale. Unpublished dissertation, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  10. Eames Office. (2009). Powers of ten. Retrieved July 1, 2009, (http://powersof10.com).
  11. Eberbach, C., & Crowley, K. (2009). From everyday to scientific observation: how children learn to observe the biologist’s world. Review of Educational Research, 79(1), 39–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ekstrom, R., French, J., Harman, H., & Dermen, D. (1976). Manual for kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests. Princeton: Educational Testing Services.Google Scholar
  13. Eliot, J. (1987). Models of psychological space: Psychometric, developmental, and experimental approaches. New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Golledge, R., Gale, N., Pellegrino, J., & Doherty, S. (1992). Spatial knowledge acquisition by children: route learning and relational distances. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 82(2), 223–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hubona, G., Everett, S., Marsh, E., & Wauchope, K. (1998). Mental representations of spatial language. International Journal of Human-Compuer Studies, 48, 705–728.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Inhelder, B., & Piaget, J. (1958). The growth of logical thinking from childhood to adolescence. USA: Basic Books.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jones, M. G., & Rua, M. (2008). Conceptual representations of flu and microbial illness held by students, teachers, and medical professionals. School Science and Mathematics, 108(6), 263–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jones, M. G., Taylor, A., Minogue, J., Wiebe, E., & Carter, G. (2007). Understanding scale: powers of ten. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 191–202.Google Scholar
  19. Jones, M. G., Tretter, T., Taylor, A., & Oppewal, T. (2008). Experienced and novice teachers’ concepts of spatial scale. International Journal of Science Education, 30, 409–429.Google Scholar
  20. Jones, M. G., Taylor, A., & Broadwell, B. (2009). Estimating linear size and scale: body rulers. International Journal of Science Education, 31(11), 1495–1509.Google Scholar
  21. Kalyuga, S., Chandler, P., & Sweller, J. (1999). Managing split-attention and redundancy in multimedia instruction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13(4), 351–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kosslyn, S., Reiser, B., Farah, M., & Fliegel, S. (1983). Generating visual images: units and relations. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 112(2), 278–303.Google Scholar
  23. Lawson, A. E. (1982). Formal reasoning, achievement, and intelligence: an issue of importance. Science & Education, 66, 77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lawson, A. E. (1985). A review of research on formal reasoning and science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 22, 569–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lindgren, R., & Schwartz, D. L. (2009). Spatial learning and computer simulations in science. International Journal of Science Education, 31(3), 419–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Linn, M. C. (1982). Theoretical and practical significance of formal reasoning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 19, 727–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lynch, K. (1960). The image of the city. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  28. Mayer, R. E. (2003). Elements of a science of e-learning. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 29(3), 297–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. National Research Council. (2006). Learning to think spatially. Washington: National Academy.Google Scholar
  30. Palmer, S., Rosch, E., & Chase, P. (1981). Canonical perspective and the perception of objects. In J. Long & A. Baddeley (Eds.), Attention and performance IX (pp. 135–151). Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  31. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1948/1956). The child’s conception of space (F. J. Langdon & J. L. Lunzer, Trans.). New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  32. Richardson, A., Montello, D., & Hegarty, M. (1999). Spatial knowledge acquisition from maps and from navigation in real and virtual environments. Memory and Cognition, 27(4), 741–750.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schnotz, W. (2002). Towards an integrated view of learning from text and visual displays. Educational Psychology Review, 14, 101–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Shepardson, D. P., & Britsch, S. (2001). The role of children’s journals in elementary school science activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(1), 43–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sweller, J. (1994). Cognitive load theory, learning difficulty and instructional design. Learning and Instruction, 4, 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J. J. G., & Paas, F. G. W. C. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Taylor, A., & Jones, M. G. (2009). Proportional reasoning ability and concepts of scale: surface area to volume relationships in science. International Journal of Science Education, 31(9), 1231–1247.Google Scholar
  38. Taylor, A., & Jones, M. G. (forthcoming). Crossroads of science and mathematics: The intersection of scale and proportional reasoning. International Journal of Science Education.Google Scholar
  39. Thorndyke, P. W., & Hayes-Roth, B. (1982). Differences in spatial knowledge from maps and navigation. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 560–589.Google Scholar
  40. Tobin, K., & Capie, W. (1980). The development and validation of a group test of logical thinking. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association in Boston, MA.Google Scholar
  41. Tretter, T., Jones, M. G., Andre, T., Negishi, A., & Minogue, J. (2006a). Conceptual boundaries and distances: students’ and experts’ concepts of the scale of scientific phenomena. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43, 282–319.Google Scholar
  42. Tretter, T. R., Jones, M. G., & Minogue, J. (2006b). Accuracy of scale conceptions in science: mental maneuverings across many orders of spatial magnitude. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(10), 1061–1085.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gail Jones
    • 1
  • Grant Gardner
    • 1
  • Amy R. Taylor
    • 2
  • Eric Wiebe
    • 1
  • Jennifer Forrester
    • 1
  1. 1.NC State UniversityRaleighUSA
  2. 2.University of NC at WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations