Learning as conceptual change and appropriation

Appropriation, conceptual change, orchestration patterns

Cultural diversity and inclusive learning environments are frontier themes in physics education research and social challenges in the Horizon2020 program.

The research group, in response to these requests, has developed a model of learning environment, defined as a "properly complex territory", that can facilitate and support individual appropriation processes in learning physics within collective class dynamics. The research work led to an operational definition of the construct of "appropriation" and to the recognition of orchestration strategies effective to promote a personal, authentic and productive engagement of the students with the disciplinary contents.

ERC sectors

  • PE2_16 General physics 
  • SH4_11 Education: systems and institutions, teaching and learning
  • SH4_14 Teaching and learning

National and international collaborations

The work is conducted in collaboration with colleagues from prestigious international institutions:

  • Mariana Levin, Western Michigan University, USA
  • Tamer Amin, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • Antti Laherto, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Schulamit Kapon, Technion – Israel Insitute of Technology, Israel
  • Andrea A. diSessa, Graduate School of Education, University of California at Berkeley, USA

DIFA Members

Olivia Levrini

Associate Professor

Giulia Tasquier

Junior assistant professor (fixed-term)

Other members

  • Laura Branchetti


  • Paola Fantini

    Liceo A. Einstein, Rimini

Produzione scientifica

Kapon, S., Laherto, A., & Levrini, O. (2018). Disciplinary authenticity and personal relevance in school science. Science Education, 102(5), 1077–1106. doi: 10.1002/sce.21458

Levrini, O., Levin, M., Fantini, P., & Tasquier, G. (2018). Orchestration of classroom discussions that foster appropriation. Science Education, 103(1), 206–235. doi: 10.1002/sce.21475

Malgieri, M., Branchetti, L., De Ambrosis, A., Levrini, O., Tasquier, G. (2018). Students’ idiosyncratic voices and the learning of quantum physics in secondary school: a case study of appropriation. Paper presented at the 12th Conference of the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA), Dublin 21st-25th August, 2017 and forthcoming on the e-book proceedings.

Amin, T. G. & Levrini O. (Eds) (2017). Converging Perspectives on Conceptual Change. Mapping an Emerging Paradigm in the Learning Sciences, London and New York: Routledge, pp.351.

Levrini, O., Bertozzi, E., Gagliardi, M., Tomasini, N. G., Pecori, B., Tasquier, G., & Galili, I. (2014). Meeting the Discipline-Culture Framework of Physics Knowledge: A Teaching Experience in Italian Secondary School. Science & Education, 23(9), 1701–1731. doi: 10.1007/s11191-014-9692-z

Levrini, O., Fantini, P., Pecori, B., Tasquier, G. (2014). Forms of productive complexity as criteria for educational reconstruction: the design of a teaching proposal on thermodynamics. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 116, 1483–1490.

Levrini, O., Fantini, P., Tasquier, G., Pecori, B., & Levin, M. (2014). Defining and Operationalizing Appropriation for Science Learning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 24(1), 93–136. doi: 10.1080/10508406.2014.928215

Levrini O., Fantini P., Tasquier G., Pecori B. (2011). From heuristics to humble theories in physics education: the case of modelling personal appropriation of thermodynamics in naturalistic settings. Twelfth International Symposium, Frontiers of Fundamentals Physics (FFP12), Udine, 21-23 November 2011 (http://www.fisica.uniud.it/~ffp12/proceedings.html).

Levrini O., Fantini P., Pecori B., Gagliardi M., Tasquier G., Scarongella MT. (2010). A Longitudinal Approach to Appropriation of Science Ideas: A Study of Students’ Trajectories in Thermodynamics, in Gomez, K., Lyons, L., & Radinsky, J. (Eds.) Learning in the Disciplines: Proceedings of the 9th

International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2010) - Volume 1, Full Papers. International Society of the Learning Sciences: Chicago IL, 572-579.

Levrini, O., & diSessa, A. A. (2008). How students learn from multiple contexts and definitions: Proper time as a coordination class. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 4(1). doi: 10.1103/physrevstper.4.010107