VIRTUAL AND PHYSICAL RESOURCES: A CASE OF SYNERGY IN STUDYING TIDES AND ROTATION
Authors: António Barbot Silva, Cláudia Abrantes, Elisabete Oliveira, Carla Chumbo, António Alberto Silva, Maria João Silva
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Because of their very nature, virtual models are usually more abstract than physical ones. Physical models may facilitate the use of virtual models, by making links to physical world. Tides come into play in a wide variety of curricular scopes, but they are not easy to understand, both in basic education and in initial teacher training. In addition to this, simple physical classroom experiments about tides are not easy to conceive, and they may even be misleading. In a previous work, one of the authors developed a virtual model: a computer simulation of tides. It reveled to be useful, although not covering some students’ learning needs: it was too abstract and mathematical for most of the students. There was a need of complementing the virtual model with material ones (“added reality”). Two physical devices were then developed: a “physical model for tides” and a “physical model of grass growing in artificial gravity”. The two physical models proved to be feasible and useful. The set of three models revealed to create synergies in learning.