A1 Journal article (refereed)
Finnish Secondary Students’ Mental Models of Magnetism (2020)

Kähkönen, Anna-Leena; Sederberg, David; Viiri, Jouni; Lindell, Anssi; Bryan, Lynn (2020). Finnish Secondary Students’ Mental Models of Magnetism. NorDiNa, 16 (1), 101-120. DOI: 10.5617/nordina.5566

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kähkönen, Anna-Leena; Sederberg, David; Viiri, Jouni; Lindell, Anssi; Bryan, Lynn

Journal or series: NorDiNa

ISSN: 1504-4556

eISSN: 1894-1257

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 16

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 101-120

Publisher: Nasjonalt senter for naturfag i opplæringen

Publication country: Norway

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5617/nordina.5566

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/68243


We examined Finnish lower secondary students’ mental models of magnetism through their drawings, written explanations and interviews. Secondary students in Finland (N=12) engaged in six lessons designed specifically to target three key concepts in understanding magnetism: structure and organization (magnetic domains), magnetic fields and magnetic interactions. We describe how, with a finite number of key concepts introduced, students reflected upon and revised their mental models of magnetism and magnetic interactions towards more sophisticated and normative scientific views. We found two new categories of students’ models: the pole model and pole/field model. The critical moments in evolving the models happened during the investigations regarding understanding magnetic fields and magnetic internal structure. This article gives an example for teachers and researchers of how to follow students’ development of mental models in science.

Keywords: upper comprehensive school pupils; scientific thought; conceptions; mental pictures; physical phenomena; magnetism

Free keywords: lower secondary students; mental models of magnetism

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2020-18-08 at 13:10