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Nature of Naive Ontologies in Physics

Page history last edited by Ayush Gupta 9 years ago


Learners' Ontologies in Physics: A Dynamic Systems View

We are developing a dynamic account of the ontology of naïve physics reasoning, how students classify features of the world as entities vs. processes vs. events and how those classifications affect students' explanations and problem-solving. This work involves (1) building a phenomenology of the patterns and transitions in ontologies evident in student reasoning, and (2) using that phenomenology as a basis for modeling cognitive structure and dynamics. Instructionally, this research could inspire strategies to harness students' everyday ontological resources to make learning science a more meaningful and connected experience for them.


Currently working on:

     (1) Paper arguing for the productiveness of substance-based metaphors for non-substance ideas in physics (To be submitted to Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research)

     (2) Analysis of video-taped clinical interviews with graduate students (using the same questions as used in Slotta, Chi, & Joram, 1995)



  1. Gupta, A., Hammer, D., & Redish, E. F. (2010).  The Case for a Dynamic Model of Expert and Novice Ontologies in Physics. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19:3, pp. 285-321. [Link to Article on the Journal Page]
  2. Hammer, D., Gupta, A, & Redish, E. F. (2011). On static and dynamic ontologies. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20 (1), 163-168.

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