The Important but Less Emphasized Spatial Competence in Learning Astronomy: Decoding Domain-Specific Intrinsic-Static Spatial Information (73958)

Session Information:

Wednesday, 22 November 2023 15:45
Session: Poster
Room: Orion Hall
Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Science learning materials are full of various forms of representation, including graphics, animations, maps, and figures. Many researchers have recognized the close relationship between spatial abilities and successful learning in science-related domains. Therefore, the processes of spatial reasoning in science learning were worth investigating to clarify the effects of spatial ability. Following the author’s previous claim that spatial knowledge combined with task-relevant spatial skills is a better predictor of science learning (Chen et al., 2020), this study aims to provide empirical evidence to justify the crucial role of spatial competence rather than the so-called general spatial ability in spatially demanding classroom science problem solving. Forty university students and 12 experienced teachers volunteered to participate. They were asked to complete the task: draw the apparent paths of the sun on the date of the summer solstice (around June 21) at four different latitudes, 23.5°N, 60°N, 23.5°S, and 60°S. The processes of spatial competence used to solve astronomy problems were interviewed and further analyzed based on the four classifications of spatial competence proposed by Newcombe and Shipley (2015) (i.e., intrinsic vs. extrinsic and static vs. dynamic). The main results show that students’ ability to decode domain-specific intrinsic-static spatial information is the key to solving domain problems, compared to the mental rotation skills that receive the most attention. Using the complex topic of astronomy as an example, this study argues that science learning materials should disclose the static spatial domain-specific knowledge conveyed in visual scientific representations that is the key to successful instruction.

Yi-Chun Chen, National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Yi-Chun Chen is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at National Taiwan Ocean University in Taiwan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00