The impact of student-constructed animation on middle school students' learning about plate tectonics

Mills, Reece, Tomas, Louisa, and Lewthwaite, Brian (2019) The impact of student-constructed animation on middle school students' learning about plate tectonics. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 28 (2). pp. 165-177.

PDF (Accepted Author's Version) - Accepted Version
Download (312kB) | Preview
[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


There is a need for research-informed instructional approaches that promote school students' deep conceptual understanding of abstract geological concepts. Given that a type of learner-constructed stop-motion animation, 'slowmation', has been shown to offer affordances for learning in science preservice teacher education, we extended its application to middle school and investigated the impact of the construction process on students' learning about plate tectonics. Drawing upon theoretical notions of knowledge reconstruction, this mixed methods case study explored two research questions that concerned the extent to which the slowmation construction process influenced students' conceptual understanding about plate tectonics, and how students' learning was facilitated by the slowmation construction process. The participants were Year 9 students (n=52) who constructed slowmations in small groups to explain the geological processes that occur at tectonic plate boundaries. Data were generated using a two tiered multiple-choice test instrument, the GeoQuiz, which we designed and validated, and audio recordings of students working together as they researched, planned, and constructed their slowmations. A significant improvement was found in students' GeoQuiz scores, from pretest to posttest, which indicates their conceptual understanding improved over the course of the construction process. Analysis of the qualitative data found that students’ ideas increased in sophistication through 'teachable moments', wherein students learnt through dialogic teacherstudent and student-student exchanges. We assert that such exchanges ought to be viewed as an integral part of the slowmation construction process itself. While the study's findings support existing research that suggests representation-based activities are effective for student learning of geological phenomena, they also raise important questions about how to best engage middle school students in the construction of a slowmation.

Item ID: 55788
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-1839
Keywords: earth science education; conceptual change; knowledge reconstruction; digital media; slowmation
Copyright Information: Copyright © Springer Nature B.V. 2018
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 03:29
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390113 Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 1258
Last 12 Months: 25
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page