A teaching-learning module on stellar structure and evolution
Physics Division, School of Science and Technology, University of Camerino, Via Madonna delle Carceri 9, I-62032 Camerino (MC), Italy
2 Liceo Scientifico e delle Scienze Umane “Cantone”, Via Savona, I-80014 Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy
3 Liceo Statale “Cartesio”, Via Selva Piccola 147, I-80014 Giugliano, Italy
4 INAF - Capodimonte Astronomical Observatory of Naples, Salita Moiariello, 16, I-80131 Napoli, Italy
5 Department of Physics “E. Pancini”, “Federico II” University of Napoli, Complesso Monte S.Angelo, Via Cintia, I-80126 Napoli, Italy
1 Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published online: 1 February 2019
We present a teaching module focused on stellar structure, functioning and evolution. Drawing from literature in astronomy education, we identified three key ideas which are fundamental in understanding stars’ functioning: spectral analysis, mechanical and thermal equilibrium, energy and nuclear reactions. The module is divided into four phases, in which the above key ideas and the physical mechanisms involved in stars’ functioning are gradually introduced. The activities combine previously learned laws in mechanics, thermodynamics, and electromagnetism, in order to get a complete picture of processes occurring in stars. The module was piloted with two intact classes of secondary school students (N = 59 students, 17–18 years old) and its efficacy in addressing students’ misconceptions and wrong ideas was tested using a ten-question multiple choice questionnaire. Results support the effectiveness of the proposed activities. Implications for the teaching of advanced physics topics using stars as a fruitful context are briefly discussed.
© The Authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2019
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