Weight versus gravitational force: Historical and educational perspectives

  title={Weight versus gravitational force: Historical and educational perspectives},
  author={Igal Galili},
  journal={International Journal of Science Education},
  pages={1073 - 1093}
  • I. Galili
  • Published 1 October 2001
  • Psychology
  • International Journal of Science Education
This paper discusses the existing dichotomy regarding the definition of weight and its implications in science education. The history and epistemology of the weight concept and its present status in instruction and students' knowledge about weight are reviewed. The rationale of the concept of gravitational weight, currently accepted in many textbooks, is critiqued. Two mutually related implications stem from this study in science teaching: a conceptual distinction between weight and… Expand
Teaching Weight-Gravity and Gravitation in Middle School
This study deals with the school instruction of the concept of weight. The historical review reveals the major steps in changing weight definition reflecting the epistemological changes in physics.Expand
Teaching a New Conceptual Framework of Weight and Gravitation in Middle School.
Empirical studies have reported difficulties, confusion, and lack of understanding among students at all levels of instruction regarding the issue of weight–gravitation–weighing relationships. ThisExpand
Several researches in physics education have demonstrated the problematic status of teaching the subject of gravitation and weight and students’ knowledge of these concepts. This paper presentsExpand
Definitions of physical concepts : A study of physics teachers' knowledge and views
A study was made of the ability of a population of high-school physics teachers to define physics concepts and of their views regarding the importance of such definitions. It was found possible toExpand
Thinking Journey - a New Mode of Teaching Science
Thinking Journey is introduced as a mode of science instruction based on a specially designed discussion between students and teachers in the context of an imaginary journey. The paper elaborates theExpand
Advantages of adopting the operational definition of weight
With rare exceptions, in high school and college/university physics courses literature and in journals of physics, the weight is defined as a gravitational force or an exclusive consequence of it.Expand
The Durability of Conceptual Change in Learning the Concept of Weight in the Case of a Pulley in Balance
This study concerns the question of how teachers can help pupils to perceive the concept of weight (gravitation). Fifth and ninth graders were asked in a paper-and-pencil test to compare the weightExpand
Thought Experiments in Teaching Free-Fall Weightlessness: A Critical Review and an Exploration of Mercury’s Behavior in “Falling Elevator”
Background:Different “thought experiments” dominate teaching approaches to weightlessness, reducing students’ opportunities for active learning, which should include observations, descriptions,Expand
Conceptual Change and Learning About Forces
This chapter outlines some aspects of the historical evolution of research into science learning and examines some of the complexities of the conceptual change process in learning about forces.Expand
Science Teaching: What Does It Mean?
This study considers the relationship between science, science teaching and the philosophy of science perceiving these three cultural phenomena as a semantic triad. This approach presents scienceExpand


Interpretation of students' understanding of the concept of weightlessness
This study reports on an investigation of students' understanding of the concept of weightlessness among intermediate, high school and college students. It appears possible to interpret thisExpand
Students' operations with the weight concept
This study analyzes the operational knowledge of the weight concept of high school students after two educational levels: Introductory and advanced physics courses. The results show that most of theExpand
Weight and gravity: teachers’ ambiguity and students’ confusion about the concepts
An existing dichotomy in teaching the concept of weight in junior high and high school might cause a misunderstanding of this basic physics concept and related physics phenomena. The reported resultsExpand
Weight, gravity and air pressure: Mental representations by Italian middle school pupils
The research reports an investigation concerned with schemes of commonsense knowledge connecting the three elements weight, air and gravity to the phenomenon of free fall. Inferences about the mentalExpand
Implications of cognitive studies for teaching physics
The purpose of this paper is to review from an instructional-design (ID) point of view nine teaching programs developed by cognitive psychologists over the last ten years. Among these models,Expand
More than misconceptions: Multiple perspectives on student knowledge and reasoning, and an appropriate role for education research
This article analyzes an excerpt of a discussion from a high school physics class from several different perspectives on students’ knowledge and reasoning, illustrating a range in what an instructorExpand
Motion implies force: where to expect vestiges of the misconception?
The reported progress of post‐instruction students in understanding the force‐motion relationship in classical mechanics might be partially caused by the kind of questions used in tests. Citing aExpand
Accommodation of a scientific conception: Toward a theory of conceptual change
It has become a commonplace belief that learning is the result of the interaction between what the student is taught and his current ideas or concepts.’ This is by no means a new view of learning.Expand
Children's operational knowledge about weight
This study explores children's knowledge regarding weight in the age span of five to sixteen years. It appears that children's views develop gradually from the tactile experiences. Thus, such schemesExpand
Constructivism: Sound theory for explicating the practice of science and science teaching
Critics praise applications of constructivism in science pedagogy, but they argue that constructivism is severely impaired and hopelessly flawed as a theory. Flawed theory should not be employed toExpand