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The investigations reported in this article are part of a larger study concerned with understanding learning as it emerges from the enacted curriculum which in itself is mediated by: students' views of the nature of science, beliefs about learning, views of laboratory learning environments; teacher's beliefs about knowing and learning science and knowledge of student ideas about content. In this article, the results of two studies of students' discourse about rotation phenomena are presented with a particular focus on the consistency of this talk across different phenomena. Study 1 presents an inventory of students' observational and theoretical descriptions after they had been taught rotational motion during the previous school year; it simultaneously constitutes an inventory of students' knowing before another physics unit that presupposed knowledge of the first instructional cycle. Study 2 reports on the same students' discourse after a four-week unit on the dynamics of rotational motion. The results of Study 1 indicate that in spite of prior instruction, students' observational and theoretical descriptions of rotational phenomena were different from scientific canon and inconsistent within and across contexts. Study 2 further underscores the variations in student discourse about rotational motion within and across context and the differences with canonical discourse. More importantly, it illustrates that only a minority of students provided adequate observational and theoretical descriptions about the dynamics of rotational motion.
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