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The use of computer simulations in particle physics teaching in secondary school

Grant number: 12/19386-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 28, 2014
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Educational Teaching and Learning
Principal Investigator:Sonia Maria Vanzella Castellar
Grantee:Márlon Caetano Ramos Pessanha
Home Institution: Faculdade de Educação (FE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:08/10470-6 - Curricular innovation in physics: didactical transposition of the modern theories and the survival of knowledge, AP.TEM


The Modern and Contemporary Physics is composed of concepts and theories based on phenomena of high degree of abstraction, which can often only be detected with the use of sophisticated equipment and described by mathematical formalisms away from school field. Although modern physics does not belong to the world of the student directly, various everyday situations involve elements that can best be interpreted considering the entities involved and phenomenology in Modern and Contemporary Physics. The use of tools offered by Information and Communication during the process of teaching and learning the concepts of Modern and Contemporary Physics, such as computer simulations can serve as facilitators, as they allow better visualization and perception of phenomena. On the other hand because they are representations of an object of study, its use can constitute itself as a fertile ground for the emergence of obstacles to overcome if not make it impossible to learning. This research will seek to analyze the learning process which uses computer simulations in teaching concepts of particle physics in high school. For this, we compose our theoretical framework from the perspective of models and analogies, and considering the notion of epistemological obstacles of Bachelard. In our analysis of situations of use of simulations, from data recorded on audio and video, trying to identify the difficulties of reasoning, ie the epistemological obstacles that emerge with the use of simulations, and how these difficulties are overcome, including intervention teacher.