Understanding heat, energy and temperature can be difficult. Misconceptions about heat transfer have been found to persist, even after instruction. New instructional methods are needed to address them. This pilot study examined whether researcher-developed, inquiry-based activities could increase conceptual understanding of heat transfer. Twenty-two undergraduate chemical engineering students were assessed before and after instruction with inquiry-based activities. Participants had significantly higher scores on the post-test. An examination of assessment questions revealed substantial improvement on questions closely related to activities. However, participants had difficulty applying concepts in new and related contexts. Educational implications and suggestions for future research will be discussed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michael_prince/3/