Challenging Students Ideas About Earth's Interior Structure Using a Model-based, Conceptual Change Approach in a Large Class Setting
David N. Steer, Catharine C. Knight, Katharine D. Owens, David A. McConnell September 2005 Journal of Geoscience Education v53 p415
This article from the Journal of Geoscience Education discusses the difficulties and importance of grasping the concept of plate tectonics for entry level students. Research has shown that many students enter introductory geology courses with misconceptions about earth structure that are difficult to modify. The conceptual change approach combined with physical modeling appears to facilitate learning of the content, relationships and processes involved in plate tectonics. The authors feel that continued research will help determine the extent to which physical model building can overcome student preconceptions.