An Inquiry-based Teaching-Learning Sequence about advanced astrophysical concepts for upper secondary school students
15:30 - 15:45
In the framework of the National Scientific Degrees Plan, physics and astronomy education researchers at the Department of Physics of Naples and at the Capodimonte INAF-Astronomical Observatory in Naples, designed a Teaching-Learning Sequence (TLS) about advanced topics as Sun, stars, galaxies, gravitational waves, cosmic rays. The TLS rationale is to reconstruct from the educational viewpoint the chosen topics using as key ideas cosmological distance scale, gravity, chemical composition of stars and galaxies. First, starting from basic aspects of gravity and measurements of the chemical composition, the students are introduced to the nature of stars and galaxies. Then, using cosmological distance scale, the students are familiarized with how astrophysicists validate models about the Universe. Finally, the students derive basic laws as the Hubble law and the luminosity-period relationship for the Cepheids to investigate the size of the Universe. The TLS exploits an inquiry-based methodology in which the students are guided towards the target concepts starting from example measurements on, e.g., Sun and galaxies spectra, light curves of Cepheids and Supernovae. The activities are cooperatively carried out by a professional astrophysicist and one physics education researcher. The TLS has been implemented with 20 secondary school students for a total duration of 30 hours during extra-curricular activities. Data collected include students’ worksheets and interviews. Preliminary data analysis shows the need to better relate the addressed topics with the key ideas in order to facilitate the inclusion of some of the TLS activities into classroom practice.