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Informant Design Workshop 1


Our first workshop approach was aimed to uncover and analyze students' conceptions in earth science by getting them to respond to a range of questions. The workshops were conducted after school with 20 students from two schools.

This cohort was at the beginning of their Secondary 1 school year and most of them had not started lessons covering these topics on Earth system science. We intended to establish deeper understanding of students' pre-conceptions of earth science concepts prior to their undergoing formal class lessons that would ‘deliver' the content.
Workshops were structured such that small groups of three to four students each worked with a facilitator in responding to the provided questions. Every student was provided with the opportunity to share their responses with their group members and the group facilitator. Workshop activities began by presenting each group with a picture of a dinosaur fossil (Mesosaurus), which was a major piece of evidence for continental drift. We asked to write a story about possible life, death and fossilization of the creature and how the same species could be found on two distant continents. Students were also asked to draw, write and describe what would happen if the Earth were sliced into half, and to also describe what they understood about volcanoes, similar to how Gobert (2000) studied 5th grade students’ models of the Earth’s interior and its causal and dynamic processes for plate tectonics, using their diagrams.


Student Work


"The equator is in the middle of the earth, then you see the core is in the center then surrounding the core is the mantle, called magma, then surrounding the magma is the crust, all of plates are join together"



"The plate one and plates two, they go to together, and they  fold  , this cause how it call , something like trading off, and this is like mountain, I think it like volcano, then the second picture is , when this two plates collide, it cause a dent, I guess this is earthquake

  And this big problem is, this is still carry about , plate one collide plate two, collide plate three , collide plate two, I think this is big problem"

A student's representation on how earthquake happens. The lines indicates the different plates on Earth
The drawing in the shows a cross-sectional view of the Earth and how the plates look.