“As clear as night and day”. Using models to aid students’ conceptual understanding of space and the Solar System in a Year 8 science class
Scientific explanations for basic astronomical phenomena such as the cause of night and day and seasonal variation are notoriously difficult for students to conceptualise, resulting in widespread misconception. Effective teaching of space and the Solar System often suggests the use of models as effective teaching tools. This case study, spanning six astronomy lessons with a Year 8 class, therefore investigates the impact of using seven common teaching models on enabling students to change their conceptions through implementation of a Collated Astronomy Test (CAT). The study also investigates how these students perceived the models in respect of their learning of astronomical phenomena, and provides a basis upon which possible results may guide future teaching of the Earth-Sun-Moon system and the Solar System.