Comparing Traditional and Embodied Design Planetarium Programs As Supports for Learning Astronomy Concepts

Open Access
Bradley, Heather Grace
Area of Honors:
Planetary Science and Astronomy
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Julia Diane Plummer, Thesis Supervisor
  • Christopher Palma, Honors Advisor
  • astronomy education
  • astronomy
  • science education
  • planetarium education
  • planetarium
Embodied design is a growing design type in education, as research has shown that through its use, participants typically show more learning or understanding of a concept. Though embodied design has been used in the planetarium previously, it has not been compared to traditional designed planetarium programs. In this study, we wrote two planetarium programs, one using embodied design principles and the other following a traditional approach to a planetarium program, where the three concepts covered were the Sun’s daily motion, the nightly motion of the constellations, and the seasonal movement of the constellations. These programs were performed in multiple shows, and the participants in the shows (n=29 for the embodied program, n=19 for the traditional program) were interviewed before and after so that their learning of three astronomy concepts could be measured. The interviews were coded for the participants’ answers in both the pre- and post-show interviews, and the responses were analyzed. The results from the analysis show that there were not any significant differences in learning between the traditional and embodied programs, both pre and post. However, after both programs participants did show improvement in almost all of the concepts.