Saturday 26 November 2022. 9:00am - 10:00am

Heather McMaster

Measuring matters: how measurement concepts taught in mathematics can impact scientific understandings about matter

Contact Author: Heather McMaster (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia


My interest in the topic of ‘measurement’ began with researching 11-12 year-olds’ thinking about the measurement of objects, using semi-structured task-based interviews (Ho & McMaster, 2019; Senzamici & McMaster, 2019). I was surprised how frequently children confused ‘mass’ and ‘volume’, as these measurement attributes had been introduced to them in mathematics in their first year of school (McMaster, 2019).

The concept of density is essential to understanding the particle theory of matter. In the recently released version of the Australian Curriculum: Science, this theory will be taught, beginning in Year 5 (aged 10-11 years).

The aim of this workshop is to increase participants’ awareness of how children’s thinking about measurement in science contexts might be influenced by their learning about measurement in mathematics. The workshop is suitable for primary school teachers, early secondary school science teachers, and mathematics and science teacher-educators.

Participants will discuss student generated artefacts and from them, surmise the experiences and/or learning that might have led to the children’s alternative conceptions.