The cycle of waxing and waning of the moon is taught in the sixth grade science curriculum in elementary school, as well as third year science in junior high school in Japan. In elementary school, the cycle is taught based on a “geocentric theory”, while in junior high school it is taught based on a “heliocentric theory”. Aiba (2015) indicated certain instructional problems in elementary school science when teaching the cycle of waxing and waning of the moon, and contrived a teaching material. This paper focuses on the issues that have risen from teaching the cycle of the moon in junior high school science, using a heliocentric theory viewpoint. By conducting a survey to analyze current science textbooks, some instructional problems emerged. In order to solve the problems, the author developed a teaching instrument for junior high school, which is teaching the cycle of waxing and waning of the moon, and recommends adopting a “heliocentric theory” in elementary school science.
In this study, we examined the effectiveness of a guidance method for the law of action-reaction in physics education in upper secondary school in Japan. It is assumed that it is difficult to teach students the law of action-reaction due to their deeply ingrained naive conceptions about the force of attraction between two objects. This study attempted to determine the effectiveness of the use of metacognitive support as a teaching strategy when we taught students the scientific concepts of the law of action-reaction. Metacognitive support was provided in the following three stages: Strategy 1: Identification of the naive conception. Strategy 2: Identification of the acquisition process of the naive conception. Strategy 3: Connection and collation of the naive conception and the scientific concept. This guidance method was implemented in a research class. As a result, the students’ levels of understanding rose greatly, and a delayed test after two months also showed little decrease in their levels of understanding. Thus, the results suggest that the guidance method of this study was effective in this research class to teach students the scientific concepts of the law of action-reaction
The aim of this study is to clarify how pre-service elementary teachers in Japan understand the range of the observable celestial sphere. The method is the study of their recognition of a fixed star on the celestial sphere which the observer can see with the naked eye, which is accomplished by using the description of the celestial sphere, the earth, and the observer on different scales referenced from all five junior high school science textbooks officially approved by the Ministry of Education in Japan. The following are the major findings: 1) the pre-service elementary teachers’ perceptions could be classified into 19 categories; 2) No pre-service elementary teachers could give scientifically correct reasons for the range of the observable celestial sphere; and 3) The description of the earth and the observer on different scales had an influence on pre-service elementary teachers’ recognitions of the range of the observable celestial sphere.
We have developed some new teaching materials and reported that a microscale experiment is an effective method not only for the protection of the environment, but also for the improvement of students’ thinking ability. To spread the use of microscale experiments widely and establish them in classrooms from elementary school to secondary junior high school, suitable experimental instruments with safety, simplification of operation, and inexpensiveness are necessary. We adopted disposable color reaction plates as experimental instruments to use instead of the cell-plates currently in use, making the most of characteristic microscale experiments and reducing the burdens of teachers’ involvement in preparation and clearance. Using the developed teaching materials for the experiments of “the properties of an aqueous solution” and “the function of saliva”, several classes for the teacher’s training with the students of junior high school and teacher’s college were conducted. From a questionnaire and written responses, we found that the new teaching materials using disposable color reaction plates have made it possible to improve and cultivate scientific thinking ability for students on the basis of individual experiments.
This study conducted a chemical kinetic and thermodynamic analysis based on a mechanism of ester hydrolysis of an alkaline aqueous solution of a novel ester: 4′,4″-diacetylated phenolphthalein, which is converted phenolic hydroxyl groups of phenolphthalein. Inspecting the compound as experimental materials for estimating chemical reaction kinetics revealed that various thermodynamic energy factors (activation energy, activation Gibbs free energy, activation enthalpy, activation entropy) were calculable in a short time. A practical trial on graduate students suggested that the experimental material is useful for studying thermodynamic physical quantity for reaction rates.
The aim of this study is to analyze the influence of American Nature Study into ‘Rika’ (school science) in the lower grades of elementary schools in Japan, focusing on a case study of Seijo Elementary School in the Taisho Era (1912–1926). In this study, we first examined the objectives and teaching methods of Rika in the lower grades in Seijo Elementary School with a comparison of American ideas of Nature Study. We then considered the influence of American Nature Study into the theory and practice of Rika in the lower grades in Seijo Elementary School. As a result, we found that the objectives, teaching methods, and practices of Rika in the lower grades in Seijo Elementary School could be observed with the following points in common with American ideas of Nature Study: the objectives of Rika were to improve children’s lives, and cultivate the power of their observation, imagination and thought; the teaching methods of Rika were to foster children’s contact with nature itself, to observe and do experiments about natural objects and phenomena by themselves, to write, draw and consider the results of observation and experimentation, and to learn according to their demands and interests. We pointed out that the theory of Rika in the lower grades in Seijo Elementary School coincided with American ideas of Nature Study: American Nature Study was adopted as the theoretical foundation and reference to teach in Seijo Elementary School; teachers at Seijo Elementary School deeply sympathized with the theory and practice of American Nature Study.
The purpose of this research is to verify that the track of radiation can be easily observed by using an S cloud chamber in lower secondary school. Many practices to observe radiation have been carried out using various cloud chambers. However, these practices need dry ice or liquid nitrogen. Therefore, it was difficult to experiment on the cloud chamber at schools which could not get dry ice. We used an S cloud chamber, which is a high-performance cloud chamber that has a chemical freezing mixture such as snow melting agent (MgCl2·6H2O) instead of dry ice, etc., and which is easy for lower secondary school students to make. In addition, we used collected dust for the radiation source. It was shown that the dust collected in the room at the Hokkaido University of Education was mainly 222Rn of uranium series and its daughter nuclides, and it was shown to be sufficiently usable as a radiation source within 1 hour from being picked. In this study, the S cloud chamber was actually made in lower secondary school and the track of radiation of the dust was observed. As a result, we were able to observe the track of radiation by using only familiar material, and it was revealed that lower secondary school students could easily observe the track of beta rays, which had been quite difficult to observe. We found the student’s recognition of the radiation changed after the lesson. From these facts, it is clear that the lesson using the freezing mixture and the S cloud chamber is effective for lower secondary school students who have no dry ice.
Average scores and standard deviations in the four science subjects were summarized statistically from the main tests of NCUEE from 1990 through 2014. Two new functions, “degree of ease (ESt)” and “ability variance (Sy)” are proposed as statistical gauges for the question’s score-level and the applicant’s quality. Using these parameters, the ranges within both years and subjects vary among scores in the four science subjects, the regression analysis of score-distribution and the influence of the revised course of study are considered from raw score statistics. Each average score in the four science subjects converges on the simulation target score at sixty-something, however, their standard deviations have tended to increase. The revisions of the course of study have little influence on average scores of the subjects. The subjects range based on the number of questions, marks, and allotment of the marks is remarkable for physics, and the years range of ability variance based on applicants’ quality is remarkable for biology. The changes to the university entrance examination system in 2006 have caused a decrease in examinee performance in chemistry and increases in average scores, and ESt and Sy of physics and biology, respectively.