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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Using misconceptions research in the design of optics instructional materials and teacher professional development programs
Author(s): Stephen M. Pompea; Erin F. Dokter; Constance E. Walker; Robert T. Sparks

Paper Abstract

To create the Hands-On Optics program and its associated instructional materials, we needed to understand a number of basic optics misconceptions held by children (and adults) and how to address them through a proper educational approach. The activities have been built with an understanding of the naïve concepts many people have about light, color, and optical phenomena in general. Our own experience is that the concepts that children and adults have of light are often not that different from each other. This paper explores the most common misconceptions about light and color, according to educational research, and describes how they can be addressed in optics education programs. This understanding of misconceptions was useful as well in the professional development component of the program where educators were trained on the Hands-On Optics modules. The professional development work for the optics industry volunteers who worked with the educators was also based on research on how an optics professional can work more effectively in multi-cultural settings–an area with great applicability to industry volunteers working in the very different culture of science centers or after-school programs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 June 2007
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9665, Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics, 966515 (3 June 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.2207517
Show Author Affiliations
Stephen M. Pompea, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (United States)
Erin F. Dokter, Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Constance E. Walker, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (United States)
Robert T. Sparks, National Optical Astronomy Observatory (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9665:
Tenth International Topical Meeting on Education and Training in Optics and Photonics
Marc Nantel, Editor(s)

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