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Characterizing student understanding of variation within a STEM context: improving catapults

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 07:13 authored by Jane WatsonJane Watson, Noleine FitzallenNoleine Fitzallen, Wright, S, Ben Kelly
STEM learning experiences at the school level provide both opportunities and challenges for exploring students’ understanding of statistical concepts. This report focuses on data handling and informal inference embedded in a STEM context, that is, of testing, adjusting, and retesting catapults. In particular, the learning goal was for Grade 4 students (aged 9-10 years) to build on their developing understanding of variation while learning about the science topic of force as demonstrated by two configurations of catapults causing ping pong balls to be launched different distances. This report focuses on the students’ experiences of variation that were associated with the activity from a structural perspective during implementation. The analysis, employing various aspects of the Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes, points to the potential contribution of Multimodal functioning in identifying and characterizing understanding of variation in a new context. The activity took place with 50 students in two classes, with data collected from student workbooks and graphs created in TinkerPlots. Results suggest that meaningful engagement with context can provide support for developing understanding of the concept of variation

Funding

Australian Research Council

History

Publication title

Statistics Education Research Journal

Volume

21

Pagination

1-25

ISSN

1570-1824

Department/School

Faculty of Education

Publisher

International Association for Statistical Education

Place of publication

Netherlands

Rights statement

© International Association for Statistical Education (IASE/ISI), February 2022

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Primary education

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