General relativity in upper secondary school: Design and evaluation of an online learning environment using the model of educational reconstruction

Word cloud in yellow and grey: physics students learn relativity
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Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity relies on advanced mathematics and can seem quite abstract. That's probably the reason why high school students rarely learn about general relativity at school.


Luckily, life is full of possibilities: Science educators have started to explore different approaches to teaching general relativity at high school level. 


Our research suggests that a sociocultural view of learning and a historical-philosophical approach to teaching general relativity can be successful in fostering a qualitative understanding of general relativity among students. We employed the  model of educational reconstruction to analyse the science content structure of general relativity. Based on an overview of student challenges in the domain of relativity, we transformed this content structure into a list of specific learning goals that allow teachers to teach general relativity on a qualitative level. We were able to supplement these learning goals with design principles that help teachers and educators to create suitable learning resources. The design principles spring from an iterative design and development phase that was guided by design-based research methods. 


Find our results in our latest article published in PHYSICAL REVIEW PHYSICS EDUCATION RESEARCH. It is freely available! 


Kersting, M., Henriksen, E. K., Bøe, M. V., & Angell, C. (2018). General relativity in upper secondary school: design and evaluation of an online learning environment using the model of educational reconstruction. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 14(1), 010130-1-010130-18.



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