Design and experimentation of communication and of a teaching sequence on atmospheric physics

Moggio, Lorenzo (2017) Design and experimentation of communication and of a teaching sequence on atmospheric physics. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

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Weather and climate are topical issues widely present in the media, in the public culture, in political and socio-economic agendas and also in school guidelines. Having said that, confusion and a lot of misconceptions still exist with regards to issues such as climate change, greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect, pollution, anthropogenic emissions, ozone hole, predictability of weather and climate, stationary processes, radiation fluxes and balances in the Earth system etc. These themes are poorly addressed in the actual teaching practice in secondary schools, particularly from a quantitative point of view involving the underlying laws of physics, which are necessary for the understanding and construction of correct conceptual models of phenomena. Teachers often do not feel comfortable or lack the specific background for addressing such themes quantitatively, claiming for training initiatives which happen unfortunately only as a result of sporadic and local initiatives. For historical reasons, typical of the Italian context, these themes are usually addressed in subjects like geography or natural sciences for what concerns education in formal contexts such as primary and secondary schools and universities, but their treatment and significance would greatly benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, involving also the quantitative experimental approach of physics. At the same time, teaching physics from its general principles to their application in the context of weather phenomena and climate system, would improve the engagement and interest of students, fostering cooperation among teachers of different subjects, bridging boundaries and approaches characteristic of single disciplines. This would promote an integrated view of science as the result of a process, based on the application of the scientific method to the investigation and modeling of phenomena, where also technological advancement plays an important role, rather than as a mere collection of results and knowledge. In this perspective the present work develops from the research in atmospheric physics, performed by the candidate during one year at Concordia station, Antarctica, presenting on one hand a series of physics communication initiatives designed and tested with innovative formats such as TEDx conferences, videoconferences with researchers working on the field, social platforms and traditional media, targeted to different audiences. On the other hand it presents the proposal of a teaching learning sequence based on quantitative experimental activities, demonstrations and simulations, targeted to secondary school students and pre-service teachers, integrating general physics with its applications to the atmosphere and to the climate system. The teaching learning sequence has been experimented with graduate students of the course: ''Experimental physics laboratory at high school I'', held at the Department of Physics of the University of Trento and in collaboration with IPRASE, it has been proposed in the form of a training course for physics and chemistry teachers and their technical assistants as a framework for the integration of physics and chemistry. The results of pre and post tests used as an evaluation tool of this preliminary experimentation will be presented, encouraging future developments of the sequence and further diffusion of weather and climate issues in the teaching practice through capillary pre-teachers' and teachers' training initiatives.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Physics
PhD Cycle:29
Subjects:Area 02 - Scienze fisiche > FIS/08 DIDATTICA E STORIA DELLA FISICA
Repository Staff approval on:03 Jul 2017 13:08

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