In this research, we surveyed how scientific units are used in textbooks and everyday contexts and also if there is any discordance between the learning of the units and the using of them in everyday life. We found out that even if the units are something regularly contacted with in everyday life, they are often learned later in the textbooks. The textbooks presented only examples of a small part of the units used in everyday contexts. On the other side, we could find a variety of units in everyday contexts. For example, distance, time, electricity, temperatures, and speed units are used in the streets, while volume and weight units in grocery shops and electricity-related, computer-related, and pressure units at home. Inscription regulations of the SI Units are well followed in the textbook, but even the basic inscription regulations are often not kept in everyday contexts. Also, Non-SI units are presented in the textbook in an introducing way and still Non-SI units were used in everyday contexts. Students were confused about scientific units with unscientific units, and units with non-units. This seems to be not only because the students do not have proper understanding over the characteristics of units, but also unscientific units are mingled and used with scientific units in everyday contexts. In conclusion, it seems that the discordance between scientific units in textbooks and units used in everyday life would cause considerable difficulty for students to use units as basic tools for scientific communication.

">
 [PCST]
PCST Network

Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Scientific units found in school textbooks and everyday life

Changmin Han   Seoul National University, Korea

Jinwoong Song   Seoul National University, Korea

In this research, we surveyed how scientific units are used in textbooks and everyday contexts and also if there is any discordance between the learning of the units and the using of them in everyday life. We found out that even if the units are something regularly contacted with in everyday life, they are often learned later in the textbooks. The textbooks presented only examples of a small part of the units used in everyday contexts. On the other side, we could find a variety of units in everyday contexts. For example, distance, time, electricity, temperatures, and speed units are used in the streets, while volume and weight units in grocery shops and electricity-related, computer-related, and pressure units at home. Inscription regulations of the SI Units are well followed in the textbook, but even the basic inscription regulations are often not kept in everyday contexts. Also, Non-SI units are presented in the textbook in an introducing way and still Non-SI units were used in everyday contexts. Students were confused about scientific units with unscientific units, and units with non-units. This seems to be not only because the students do not have proper understanding over the characteristics of units, but also unscientific units are mingled and used with scientific units in everyday contexts. In conclusion, it seems that the discordance between scientific units in textbooks and units used in everyday life would cause considerable difficulty for students to use units as basic tools for scientific communication.

[PDF 393.49 kB]Download the full paper (PDF 393.49 kB)

BACK TO TOP