What is scale? According to Lock and Molyneaux, ‘‘Scale is a slippery concept, one that is sometimes easy to define but often difficult to grasp. . . there is much equivocation about scale, as it is at the same time a concept, a lived experience and an analytical framework’’1, p.1. More specifically, this has been defined by Jones and Taylor as, “any quantification of a property that is measured”2, p. 460. They further defined what encompasses an understanding of scale as it “involves a number of concepts and processes such as quantity, distance, measurement, estimation, proportion, and perspective. Although most applications of scale involve linear distances, other variables such as temperature, time, volume, or mass are also important” 2, p. 460.
Scale as a theme in science instruction is not a new idea. Stemming from as early as the mid-eighties, scale has been identified as an important component of a student’s overall science literacy. However, the study of scale and the scale literacy of students in varying level of education has received less attention than other components. Foremost into the foray of students’ scale literacy has been the research by Gail Jones and coworkers, studying students in middle and high school, in-service teachers, and experts in their respective fields. This website presents the outcome and products of numerous studies into the scale literacy of students in undergraduate chemistry courses. Most notably this includes two adaptive activities designed for undergraduate chemistry students (in introductory chemistry courses). Access to these activities can be provided through instructor request.
All work presented here was made possible through generous funding from the National Science Foundation.
- (1) Lock, G. and Molyneaux, B. (Eds.), Confronting scale in archeology, Springer, New York, 2006.
- (2) Jones, M.G and Taylor, A.R., J. Res. Sci. Teach, 2009, 46, 460-475
The Crosscutting Concept of Scale: Measuring scale literacy of students in undergraduate introductory chemistry
- Tretter, T.R., Jones, M.G., Andre, T., Negishi, A., and Minogue, J. (2006) “Conceptual Boundaries and Distances: Students’ and Experts’ Concepts of the Scale of Scientific Phenomena”, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 282-319.
- Jones, M.G and Taylor, A.R., J. Res. Sci. Teach, 2009, 46, 460-475
- Jones, M.G., Tretter, T., Taylor, A., and Oppewal, T. (2008) “Experienced and Novice Teachers’ Concepts of Spatial Scale”, International Journal of Science Education, 30, 409-428.
- Jones, M.G. and Taylor, A.R. (2009) “Developing a Sense of Scale: Looking Backward”, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46, 460-475
- Swarat, S., Light, G., Park, E.J., and Drane, D. (2011) “A Typology of Undergraduate Students’ Conceptions of Size and Scale: Identifying and Characterizing Conceptual Variation”, Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48, 512-533.
- Gerlach, K.; Trate, J.M.; Blecking, A.; Geissinger, P.; Murphy, K.L. “Valid and Reliable Assessments to Measure Scale Literacy of Students in Introductory College Chemistry Courses” submitted to the Journal of Chemical Education, 2013
- Gerlach, K.; Trate, J.M.; Blecking, A.; Geissinger, P.; Murphy, K.L. “Absolute and Relative Scaling of Students in Introductory College Chemistry Courses” submitted to the Journal of Chemical Education, 2013.