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Title: Middle School Students’ Learning in Energy Flow and Matter Cycling in the Ecosystem
Authors: Cang, Xuesong
Gnesdilow, Dana
Dey, Indrani
Puntambekar, Sadhana
Keywords: Learning Sciences
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Cang, X., Gnesdilow, D., Dey, I., & Puntambekar, S. (2022). Middle school students’ learning in energy flow and matter cycling in the ecosystem. In Chinn, C., Tan, E., Chan, C., & Kali, Y. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Learning Sciences - ICLS 2022 (pp. 1417-1420). International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: An ecosystem is a complex system, including multiple layers of organization, complex interconnections among components, and invisible dynamic processes. Research shows that learners’ often see energy and matter in ecosystems as mostly a linear, not cyclic, pattern. This study examined 35 students’ energy and matter models at three points (pre, mid, and post) and interviews from 7 students during a Compost unit focused on ecosystems. We coded the models to examine students' understanding of energy and matter over time and included excerpts to show students’ ability to identify system components and understand energy flow and matter cycling. We found that more students explained energy flow by including observable and nonobservable organisms and process. Even though more students explained matter cycling as cyclic by including invisible process (decomposition), this was mostly at a superficial level. Students also conflated the terms “matter” and “energy”, often using them interchangeably. This indicates a need to better assist students explicitly understand the two processes and how they are connected. Key words: complex system, energy flow, matter cycling
Description: Short Paper
Appears in Collections:ISLS Annual Meeting 2022

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