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A Nature of Science guided approach to the physics teaching of Cosmic Rays

  • This thesis focuses on cosmic rays and Nature of Science (NOS). The first aim of this work is to investigate whether the variegated aspects of cosmic ray research -from its historical development to the science topics addressed herein- can be used for a teaching approach with and about NOS. The efficacy of the NOS based teaching has been highlighted in many studies, aimed at developing innovative and more effective teaching strategies. The fil rouge that we propose unwinds through cosmic ray research, that with its century long history appears to be the perfect topic for a study of and through NOS. The second aim of the work is to find out what knowledge the pupils and students have regarding the many aspects of NOS. To this end we have designed, executed, and analyzed the outcomes of a sample-based investigation carried out with pupils and students in Palermo (Italy), Tübingen and Hildesheim (Germany), and constructed around an open-ended questionnaire. The main goal is to study whether intrinsic differences between the German and Italian samples can be observed. The thesis is divided in three parts. In the first part we reconstruct the intricate history of cosmic ray research. First, we present the initial studies that proceeded the discovery of Viktor Hess in 1912, and then the pioneer years of research that unveiled the phenomenological and interpretational features of cosmic radiation. We then continue with the history of the mature phase of cosmic rays research focusing on the discovery and characterization of extensive air showers. In the second part of the thesis we first present the various aspects of NOS, including the operative definition adopted here and based on the 14 objectives proposed by McComas, Almazroa, and Clough. We then discuss the design, and execution of our sample-based investigation, finally we report in details the results of our analysis, performed with the MAXQDA software program. In the third part of the thesis the aspects of cosmic ray research, in its historical, technological and cultural developments, are observed through the lens of NOS. We therefore highlight aspects, moments, episodes of cosmic ray research that might elucidate and substantiate, with examples and occasions for discussions, the 14 statements of McComas and collaborators, and we suggest some didactic objectives and units, which can be developed by pupils and teachers

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  • Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the revised version of my doctoral thesis suitable for publication. This version has been reviewed by all members of the Promotionskommission. My supervisor is Prof. Dr. Ute Kraus of the Physics Institute, at University of Hildesheim.

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Author:Rosalia Madonia
Referee:Peter Prof. Dr. Grabmayr
Advisor:Ute Prof. Dr. Kraus
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2019
Granting Institution:Universität Hildesheim, Fachbereich IV
Date of final exam:2019/01/21
Release Date:2020/01/06
Institutes:Fachbereich IV
DDC classes:300 Sozialwissenschaften / 370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen / 370 Bildung und Erziehung
500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 520 Astronomie, Kartografie / 520 Astronomie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung - Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitungen 4.0