Analyzing Students’ Learning Progressions Throughout a Teaching Sequence on Acoustic Properties of Materials with a Model-Based Inquiry Approach

María Isabel Hernández, Digna Couso, Roser Pintó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. The study we have carried out aims to characterize 15- to 16-year-old students’ learning progressions throughout the implementation of a teaching–learning sequence on the acoustic properties of materials. Our purpose is to better understand students’ modeling processes about this topic and to identify how the instructional design and actual enactment influences students’ learning progressions. This article presents the design principles which elicit the structure and types of modeling and inquiry activities designed to promote students’ development of three conceptual models. Some of these activities are enhanced by the use of ICT such as sound level meters connected to data capture systems, which facilitate the measurement of the intensity level of sound emitted by a sound source and transmitted through different materials. Framing this study within the design-based research paradigm, it consists of the experimentation of the designed teaching sequence with two groups of students (n = 29) in their science classes. The analysis of students’ written productions together with classroom observations of the implementation of the teaching sequence allowed characterizing students’ development of the conceptual models. Moreover, we could evidence the influence of different modeling and inquiry activities on students’ development of the conceptual models, identifying those that have a major impact on students’ modeling processes. Having evidenced different levels of development of each conceptual model, our results have been interpreted in terms of the attributes of each conceptual model, the distance between students’ preliminary mental models and the intended conceptual models, and the instructional design and enactment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-377
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Acoustic properties of materials
  • Design-based research
  • Learning progressions
  • Model-based inquiry
  • Secondary school
  • Teaching–learning sequence


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