Developing and Testing a Board Game to Learn About Stars

Developing and Testing a Board Game to Learn About Stars

Rabia Tanel (Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey) and Esra Bilal Önder (Dokuz Eylül University, İzmir, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2020070104


The aim of this study is to introduce an educational game called The Star Game, and to examine its effects on prospective science teachers' conceptual understanding of stars. In addition, their opinions of The Star Game were examined. The study was conducted with a total of 54 prospective teachers in three groups. The Star Game was played in all three groups and data was collected using the Star Properties Concept Inventory and the Star Game Opinion Questionnaire. The conceptual understanding on the stars increased significantly in all three groups after the application. The Star Game was described as enjoyable, interesting, instructive, and promoting a positive classroom environment, and a valuable educational activity for the profession. Criticisms included the length of answers, the noise caused in the classroom, and the time required.
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As known, astronomy is the oldest of all sciences, and is closely linked with other disciplines (Trumper, 2006a). For example, astronomy requires the use of optics and geometry knowledge (Fleck, Hachet & Bastien, 2015). The disciplines of mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology are involved in the evaluation of astronomical data, and geography and meteorological sciences, in locating observatories (Ceylan, Dar, & Kaya, 2017). Astronomy was born from the desire to understand the events in the sky, and also played a role in the development of basic sciences such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology (Ceylan et al., 2017).

Trumper (2006b) reported that although the interest of junior high school students in physics was extremely low, the three physics topics that these students were most interested in were related to astronomy or astrophysics: how it feels to be weightless in space; the effects of meteors, comets and asteroids to the earth, and the objects in outer space such as black holes supernovas, and the others. Trumper (2006a & c) states that new discoveries in the field of astronomy are of general interest and that the greatest public interest among all sciences is in astronomy, and recommends that this interest is used to increase students' motivation for learning science.

In the literature, many studies that report difficulties, and lack of knowledge and/or misconceptions in basic astronomy for groups including elementary and secondary school students (Cin, 2007; Devecioglu Kaymakci, 2016; Fleck et al., 2015; Küçüközer, Korkusuz, Küçüközer & Yürümezoğlu, 2009), university students (Comins, 2000; Favia, Comins & Batuski, 2016; Zeilik, Schau & Mattern, 1998), prospective teachers (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; Frede, 2006; Gangui, Iglesias & Quinteros, 2010; Kalkan & Kiroglu, 2007; Küçüközer, 2007; Ozkan & Akcay, 2016; Trumper, 2003; Trumper, 2001a; Ünsal, Güneş & Ergin, 2001), and even practicing teachers (Barrier, 2010; Taşcan & Ünal, 2016).

The subject of stars is considered to be a precondition for more advanced astrophysics, such as galaxies and cosmology (Wallace, Prather & Duncan, 2012). Colantonio, Galano, Leccia, Puddu and Testa (2017) state that providing training on the fundamental properties of stars can help students gain deeper knowledge of forces, hydrostatics, thermodynamics, nuclear reactions, light propagation and emission, and understand how these issues are related.

There are studies examining the conceptual understanding or misconceptions of elementary, middle and high school students (Agan, 2004; Cardinot & Fairfield, 2019; Colantonio et al., 2017; Kurnaz, 2012; Küçüközer et al., 2009), university students (Agan, 2004; Bailey, Prather, Johnson & Slater, 2009) and even prospective teachers (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; İyibil & Sağlam Arslan, 2010; Ozkan & Akcay, 2016) about stars. In the mentioned studies, a star is defined as a burning gas cannon (Agan, 2004; Bailey et al., 2009) or as a planet (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; İyibil & Sağlam Arslan, 2010). The sun is described as not being a star (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; Ozkan & Akcay, 2016), in contrast to comets (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; Kurnaz, 2012; Küçüközer et al., 2009) and shooting stars (Bailey et al, 2009). Students variously believed that light from the stars is created by burning (Agan, 2004; Bailey et al., 2009), by chemical reactions (Colantonio et al., 2017; Bailey et al., 2009; Agan, 2004) or by reflected light from the sun or moon (Agan, 2004; Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009; İyibil & Sağlam Arslan, 2010; Küçüközer et al., 2009; Ozkan & Akcay, 2016). In addition, prospective teachers were found to have the misconceptions that the stars with high luminosity were red, and those with low luminosity, blue (Emrahoğlu & Öztürk, 2009).

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