The Conceptions of Astronomical Distance of Elementary School Teachers

초등학교 교사들의 천문학적 거리에 대한 개념 연구

  • Jeong, Jin-Woo (Department of Earth Science Education, Korea National University of Education) ;
  • Han, Shin (Department of Earth Science Education, Korea National University of Education)
  • 정진우 (한국교원대학교 지구과학교육과) ;
  • 한신 (한국교원대학교 지구과학교육과)
  • Received : 2010.11.23
  • Accepted : 2010.12.21
  • Published : 2010.12.31


The purpose of this study is to identify the conceptions of elementary school teachers regarding the variation scale about astronomical distance and its accuracy with distance increased. The astronomical distance questionnaire was administered to 69 elementary school teachers, then; three teachers were selected to interview about their conceptions. Results showed that many elementary school teachers overestimated the distance from the Earth to the Moon and to the Sun, and dramatically underestimated the distances to the nearest star and to the nearest galaxy. They inferred astronomical distance with the use of both intuitive (psychological) measure and theoretical (calculative) measure. They well recited the terminology such as AU and a light-year, yet they did not show a good understanding of what the terms exactly means. Some teachers thought that the distance to Neptune is farther than the distance from Earth to the nearest star. There was a considerable variability in the participants' estimates of astronomical distances. Elementary school teachers showed a tendency to overestimate the distance as it gradually increases to the outer solar system.


Supported by : 한국교원대학교


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