ASQ - Education Division

Identifying A Solar Cell Misconception Held by Middle School Students

Abstract: This is a conference paper, "Identifying a Solar Cell Misconception Held by Middle school Students", by Marsha Ing, Peter Huang, Nohemi Lacombe, Yahaira Marinez and Elaine Haberer of the University of California at Riverside. This conference paper is for the Education Division's 2011 ASQ STEM Conference, Advancing the STEM Agenda in Education, the Workplace and Society, held at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. The purpose of this study is to describe the effects of collaboration between a university and middle school that was designed to increase middle school students’ knowledge of solar energy. Three undergraduates enrolled in a service-learning course that covered basic solar energy concepts and formative assessment instructional strategies. The focal point of the course was the implementation of several activities in a middle school classroom that addressed middle school students’ misconceptions about solar energy, such as the amount of solar energy production at low temperatures or on a cloudy day. Data from this study include student performance on a written assessment, individual interviews, and student work. Findings suggest that although middle school students who participated in the activities increased their general knowledge of solar cells, many of the students’ conceptions about how exactly solar cells work were fairly persistent. This paper provides useful information on K-12 outreach efforts that can help students acquire the dispositions and knowledge they need in order to participate in STEM fields.

Keywords: STEM - K-12 Outreach - K-12 - Conference Proceedings

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