Lerarenopleidingen Science en Wiskunde/Rekenen

Abstractieniveaus in de ontwikkeling van het begrip ‘electrische stroom’

Tijdschrift voor Didactiek van de Beta-wetenschappen, uitgegeven door het Freudenthal Instituut, Universiteit Utrecht in de periode 1983-2014

Vos, H.

Tijdschrift voor Didactiek van de Beta-wetenschappen
1987 – 5(2), 121-141

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Scientific concepts like electrical current, have been developed by abstraction from reality. The hierarchical model by Van Parreren describes six levels in the development of the mental act of abstraction. We apply this model to the abstracting tasks of comparing, measuring and calculating as they arise in connection with the concept current. It turns out that the same levels can be distinguished. These levels of abstraction describe a psychological development of the concept, not necessarily a chronological one. Only one word current stands for a concept that can be in six different states of development. Symbols and formulae play different roles at the various levels. The highest level is needed in order to determine the essential characteristics of a concept and to get insight into the conditions that limit our actions at lower levels. Tests to determine educational results cannot be independent of preliminary experience and educational tasks, it turns out that electrical current is one of the attributes of certain objects. At low levels of abstraction these objects are material electrical circuits, but at higher levels the objects are abstract electrical networks. Moreover, the concept of electrical current and the concept of voltage are different but inseparable at all levels of abstraction.

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