The relationship between cognitive style and the learning of astronomy concepts in elementary education



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Purpose: This research study attempted to determine if there is another way of presenting astronomical concepts that will enhance the learning of the student whose cognitive style is described as field-independent. An attempt was made to observe the relationship between field independence-dependence and constellation identification; and between field-independence-dependence and recall of basic astronomical concepts. Procedure: This astronomy unit was presented to 58 fifth grade students of a suburban elementary school, fifteen of which fieldindependence-dependence scores were available. Conclusions: This investigation has shown that a learner's cognitive style is related to his ability to identify stellar constellations; therefore, certain characteristics of students do influence their acquisition of astronomical concepts and rules. Results show that students with various cognitive styles need to have instruction from teachers that coincide with their cognitive style for a more productive learning experience. Recommendation: The awareness of the importance of cognitive style recognition will enhance students ability to learn in other areas. With further research, educators will be able to devise and adapt teaching strategies to different cognitive styles, thereby aiding students toward mastery of school learning.