In teaching physics, the history of physics offers fruitful starting points for designing instruction. I introduce here an approach that uses historical cognitive processes to enhance the conceptual development of pre-service physics teachers’ knowledge. It applies a method called cognitive-historical approach, introduced to the cognitive sciences by Nersessian (Cognitive Models of Science. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, pp. 3–45, 1992). The approach combines the analyses of actual scientific practices in the history of science with the analytical tools and theories of contemporary cognitive sciences in order to produce knowledge of how conceptual structures are constructed and changed in science. Hence, the cognitive-historical analysis indirectly produces knowledge about the human cognition. Here, a way to use the cognitive-historical approach for didactical purposes is introduced. In this application, the cognitive processes in the history of physics are combined with current physics knowledge in order to create a cognitive-historical reconstruction of a certain quantity or law for the needs of physics teacher education. A principal aim of developing the approach has been that pre-service physics teachers must know how the physical concepts and laws are or can be formed and justified. As a practical example of the developed approach, a cognitive-historical reconstruction of the electromagnetic induction law was produced. For evaluating the uses of the cognitive-historical reconstruction, a teaching sequence for pre-service physics teachers was conducted. The initial and final reports of twenty-four students were analyzed through a qualitative categorization of students’ justifications of knowledge. The results show a conceptual development in the students’ explanations and justifications of how the electromagnetic induction law can be formed.
Magnetic Flux Conceptual Change Electromagnetic Induction Teaching Sequence Interpretative Model
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
This work was supported by the Academy of Finland through grant SA1133369.
Gooding, D. (2006). From phenomenology to field theory: Faraday’s visual reasoning. Perspectives on Science,14(1), 40–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guisasola, J., Almudi, J., & Zuza, K. (2011). University students’ understanding of electromagnetic induction. International Journal of Science Education, 1–26. doi:10.1080/09500693.2011.624134.
Hadzidaki, P. (2008). The Heisenberg microscope: A powerful instructional tool for promoting meta-cognitive and meta-scientific thinking on quantum mechanics and the ‘nature of science’. Science & Education,17, 613–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harrison, A., & Treagust, D. (2000). A typology of school science models. International Journal of Science Education,22(9), 1011–1026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kipnis, N. (2005). Chance in science: The discovery of electromagnetism by H. C. Oersted. Science & Education,14, 1–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koponen, I. T. (2007). Models and modelling in physics education: A critical re-analysis of philosophical underpinnings and suggestions for revisions. Science & Education,16, 751–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koponen, I. T., & Mäntylä, T. (2006). Generative role of experiments in physics and in teaching physics: A suggestion for epistemological reconstruction. Science & Education, 15, 31–54.Google Scholar
Mäntylä, T. (2011). Didactical reconstruction of processes in knowledge construction: Pre-service physics teachers learning the law of electromagnetic induction. Research in Science Education, 1–22. doi:10.1007/s11165-011-9217-6.
Nersessian, N. J. (1984). Faraday to Einstein: Constructing meaning in scientific theories. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nersessian, N. J. (1985). Faraday’s field concept. In D. Gooding & F. James (Eds.), Faraday discovered: Essays on the life & work of Michael Faraday, 1791–1867 (pp. 175–187). London: MacMillan.Google Scholar
Nersessian, N. J. (1992). How do scientists think? Capturing the dynamics of conceptual change in science. In R. N. Giere (Ed.), Cognitive models of science (pp. 3–45). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
Nersessian, N. J. (2008). Creating scientific concepts. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
Nickles, T. (1993). Justification and experiment. In D. Gooding, T. Pinch, & S. Schaffer (Eds.), The uses of experiment: Studies in the natural sciences (pp. 299–333). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Oh, P. S., & Oh, S. J. (2011). What teachers of science need to know about models: An overview. International Journal of Science Education,33(8), 1109–1130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pocovi, M. C., & Finlay, F. (2002). Lines of force: Faraday’s and students’ views. Science & Education,11, 459–474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reif, F. (1982). Generalized Ohm’s law, potential difference, and voltage measurements. American Journal of Physics,50(11), 1048–1049.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Seroglou, F., & Koumaras, P. (2001). The contribution of the history of physics in physics education: A review. Science & Education,10, 153–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher,15(2), 4–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Strömdahl, H. (2012). On discerning critical elements, relationships and shifts in attaining scientific terms: The challenge of polysemy/homonymy and reference. Science & Education,21, 55–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar