Conceptual Change and Learning About Forces

Part of the Contemporary Trends and Issues in Science Education book series (CTISE, volume 38)


This chapter outlines some aspects of the historical evolution of research into science learning and examines some of the complexities of the conceptual change process in learning about forces. Section 2.1 discusses the influence of cognitive psychology, in particular Piaget’s work on the individual construction of meaning, and how this relates to classical models of conceptual change. The discussion includes a review of conceptual change models concerned with developing knowledge and understanding of learners’ conceptions in science and explores some of the more recent criticisms of such approaches. This section concludes with a brief examination of socio-cultural and social constructivist perspectives. Section 2.2 provides an empirically based account of conceptual change in action detailing primary teachers’ learning about forces. This part of the discussion explores the generation of an emergent pedagogy as teachers analyse the dynamics of their own learning.


Conceptual Change Scientific Explanation Primary Teacher Cognitive Conflict Gravitational Attraction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of EducationManchester Metropolitan UniversityDidsburyUnited Kingdom

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