Unpacking student conceptions of surface area to volume ratio in the nanoscience context: An empirical application of the construct-centered design framework

Swarat Su*, Greg Light, Eun Jung Park, Denise L Drane

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

"Surface area to volume ratio" has been widely acknowledged as one of the "big ideas" of nanoscience, as it lays the foundation for understanding size-dependent properties that characterize nanoscale science and technology. Though seemingly an easy concept, students are reported to have difficulty grasping this concept, particularly its connection to property change. We report in this paper our effort in unpacking students' conceptions of this concept in the context of an undergraduate engineering course. Guided by the "Construct-Centered Design" (CCD) framework, we conducted detailed unpacking of student conceptions, and developed corresponding assessment items in an iterative process, which not only revealed an interesting range of conceptions, but also yielded several effective assessment items. The identified conceptions are summarized in a preliminary typology, which includes three major types of conceptions distinguished by seven aspects of variation. Practical implications of the typology and the use of the CCD process are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Event2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009 - Palm Cove, QLD, Australia
Duration: Jul 20 2009Jul 23 2009

Other

Other2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009
CountryAustralia
CityPalm Cove, QLD
Period7/20/097/23/09

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Education

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