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PERC 2009 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Why Must Bulb Touch Battery? Interpretations of Fourth Graders' Thinking
Abstract: This paper continues a presentation given at the AAPT conference, providing further discussion of theoretical conjectures about and implications of our findings. Previous work suggests college students have more difficulty lighting a bulb with a single wire and a battery than with two wires (Slater et al., 2000), results that have informed the design of activities (Schaffer & McDermott, 1992). I present some unexpected findings from two 4th grade classes engaged in a 15-hour inquiry module on electric circuits. Students successfully lit the bulb with a single wire in a variety of ways, but students from both classes showed and expressed the view that the bulb must be in direct contact with a battery in order for it to light. I offer an interpretation of this in terms of a resources perspective (diSessa, 1993; Hammer et al., 2005), where spontaneously generated explanations and actions are contextually sensitive. (NSF Grant #0732233)
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Victoria Winters
San Diego State University / University of California, San Diego
5365 Toscana Way #448
San Diego, CA 92122
Phone: 909 262 0386
and Co-Presenter(s)
David Hammer
University of Maryland, College Park
davidham -at-