Forschungsprojekte unserer Arbeitsgruppenmitglieder finden Sie unter www.cermat.org.
Based on theories of scientific discovery learning and conceptual change, this study explores students' preconceptions in the domain of torques in physics and the development of these conceptions while learning with a scientific discovery learning task. Referring to a three-space theory of scientific discovery learning (Burns & Vollmeyer, 2000), the focus was on the content of model space, which is supposed to contain the current conceptualization/model of the learning domain, and on its change through hypothesis testing and experimenting. A multiple-choice test for assessing students' models of torques was developed and used in a study with secondary school students (N=47) who learned about torques using computer simulations. We identified those aspects of torques about which students had physically correct conceptions, and those about which misconceptions were predominant. Working with the computer simulations led to replacement of some misconceptions with physically correct conceptions, though some misconceptions were still common after learning. Analyzing individual differences in model development, we found that an intense use of the simulations was associated with the acquisition of correct conceptions. The three-space theory provided a useful framework for understanding conceptual change in scientific discovery learning.