Relativity of simultaneity in secondary school: an analysis based on the theory of the conceptual fields



In this paper, we present results about the conceptualization of the relativity of simultaneity and the operational invariants used by high school students. The Theory of Conceptual Fields is adopted to design, analyse and evaluate a didactic sequence to teach the basic aspects of the Theory of Special Relativity in secondary school. Only the situations related to the relativity of simultaneity are analysed here. An inductive categorization is constructed from 256 protocols generated in the implementations carried out in four 11th grade courses (15-16 years) (N = 128) in a public school of Colombia. The categorization identifies the resolutions of the students and the operative invariants that they use in each situation. The results indicate that the proposed situations would produce the emergence and awareness of the operational invariants linked to the relativity of Galileo, which would open the way to the conceptualization of the relativity of simultaneity in secondary school.


Relativity of simultaneity, theory of conceptual fields, secondary school, Special Theory of Relativity

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