M. Ribeiro, C. Vasconcelos

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade do Porto (PORTUGAL)
Inserted in the context of the 7th grade curricular goals for the subject of natural sciences, a study was developed that sought to investigate if through the use of models the geological reasoning in students of the basic education was enhanced. The pertinence of this study was essentially related to the fact that geology is a history and hermeneutic science insofar as very complex systems are its object of study that operate on a large temporal and spatial scale with very particular characteristics. Geological phenomena are interdependent, unique, irreversible and show a permanent and "imperceptible" dynamism difficult to understand by 7th grade students. Thus, the use of models facilitates the understanding and resolution of geological problems in the classroom. The intervention program (IP) was based on an Inquiry-based Teaching approach using a model that represented the formation of mountain ranges: the case of the Himalayas. The research was carried out on a sample of 59 students from a school in the north of the country, comprising two experimental groups (group 1 (n=17); Group 2 (n=21)] and a control group [group 3 (n=21)]. In the experimental groups, model-based teaching was used, while in the control group we chose to maintain the traditional, expositive teaching centered on the teacher and the textbooks. The modeling work of the experimental groups was developed using a model for teaching on mountain formation. The use of models for the teaching of the natural sciences interferes with the development of students 'reasoning (by analogy, scientific, historical and interpretative), allowing the students' mental models to approach the curricular models in schools. Through non-parametric statistical studies, we can conclude that control and experimental groups, which before the intervention did not present significant differences in knowledge about the subject, after the intervention became statistically different. Thus, between groups 1 and 3 (U=51,000, p=0.000) or between groups 2 and 3 (U=54,000, p=0.000) the results showed significant improvements in the development of the rationale. It was also observed that the differences between pre and post-test were statistically significant in all groups, which would be observable. However, there was a greater difference from the mean of pre-test to the post-test in the experimental groups compared with the control group means.
Complemented with the Gowin’s V, the study allowed to conclude that the modeling helps the students to improve the geological reasoning in the learning of contents within the domain of Earth in Transformation.