This study reports the outcomes of a ‘flipped classroom’ activity designed to improve students’ (aged 14-16) understanding of thermal concepts by setting activities in a space context. The research was carried out as part of a PhD study in Hungary.
- Many students thought differences in temperature were properties of a material (e.g., 'fork feels cooler than paper because it is metal').
- Space-based, practice-focused teaching and learning significantly improved the understanding of students in the study of heat and heat transfer.
The aims of the study were:
- How do students imagine the concept of heat conduction?
- How can the experiment of a space accident help in the learning process of students?
- How and which kinds of models/representations do students use in interpreting heat conduction?
- How do students profit from explanations which make use of the phonon model?
Evidence was collected via a simple pre- and post-intervention questionnaire which was designed for the study. This consisted of three questions from which responses were compared.
Details of the sample
Two groups of students were involved in the project:
- 90 students from a single secondary school in Budapest aged 14 planning the project.
- 22 students from the same school aged 16 carried out the experiment.