Why is modern physics still today, more than 100 years after its birth, the privilege of an elite of scientists and unknown for the great majority of citizens? The answer is simple, since modern physics is in general not present in the standard physics curricula, except for some general outlines, in the final years of some secondary schools. But, is it possible to teach modern physics in primary school? Is it effective? and, also, Is it engaging for students? These are the simple questions which stimulated our research, based on an intervention performed in the last year of Italian primary school, focused on teaching gravity, according to the Einsteinian approach in the spirit of the Einstein First project, an international collaboration which aims to teach school age children the concepts of modern physics. The outcomes of our research study are in agreement with previous findings obtained in Australian schools, thus they contribute to validate them and show that there is no cultural effect, since the approach works in different education systems. Finally, our results are relevant also in terms of retention and prove that the students involved really understand the key ideas.

Physics for the masses: Teaching Einsteinian gravity in primary school

Ruggiero M. L.;Mattiello S.;Leone M.
2021-01-01

Abstract

Why is modern physics still today, more than 100 years after its birth, the privilege of an elite of scientists and unknown for the great majority of citizens? The answer is simple, since modern physics is in general not present in the standard physics curricula, except for some general outlines, in the final years of some secondary schools. But, is it possible to teach modern physics in primary school? Is it effective? and, also, Is it engaging for students? These are the simple questions which stimulated our research, based on an intervention performed in the last year of Italian primary school, focused on teaching gravity, according to the Einsteinian approach in the spirit of the Einstein First project, an international collaboration which aims to teach school age children the concepts of modern physics. The outcomes of our research study are in agreement with previous findings obtained in Australian schools, thus they contribute to validate them and show that there is no cultural effect, since the approach works in different education systems. Finally, our results are relevant also in terms of retention and prove that the students involved really understand the key ideas.
2021
56
6
1
10
Einstenian physics; Modern physics; Primary school; Relativity
Ruggiero M.L.; Mattiello S.; Leone M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1807279
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