How Cognitive Science Can Promote Conceptual Understanding in Physics Classrooms

Jose P. Mestre, Brian H. Ross, David T. Brookes, Adam D. Smith, Timothy J. Nokes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Cognitive science research focuses on how the mind works, including topics such as thinking, problem solving, learning and transfer. Much of this research remains unknown in science education circles, yet is relevant for the design of instructional strategies in the sciences. We outline some difficulties in learning science, along with a discussion of some relevant cognitive science research. We then present a cognitive science-based intervention in physics education aimed at promoting conceptual understanding within a problem solving context. In addition, we present assessments of problem solving and conceptual understanding to better examine the differences between knowledge learned from this approach compared to traditional instruction. Finally, we present some pilot data on an initial implementation of the approach.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFostering Scientific Habits of Mind
Subtitle of host publicationPedagogical Knowledge and Best Practices in Science Education
EditorsIssa M. Saleh, Myint Swe Khine
PublisherBrill | Sense
ISBN (Electronic)9789087909239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Publication series

NameContemporary Approaches to Research in Learning Innovations


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