Recent studies have identified the concept surface-area-to-volume ratio (SA/V) as one of the "big ideas" central to the understanding of nanoscale science and technology.
Indeed, SA/V is a prerequisite to understanding size-dependent properties, behaviors, and changes that are the core of nanoscience. Previous studies have found that students tend to have difficulty truly understanding SA/V beyond its mathematical equation.
This study investigates how students understand the concept in the nanoscience engineering context, as well as the connection between the concept and property change.
Light, G., Swarat, S., Park, E.J. & Drane, D. (2008). Student understanding of surface area to volume ratio and its relationship to property change in the nanoscience engineering context. Proceedings of the Research in Engineering Education Symposium, July 7-10, Davos, Switzerland.
Swarat, S., Light, G., Park, E-J., & Drane, D. (2009). Unpacking student conceptions of surface area to volume ratio in the nanoscience context: An empirical application of the construct-centered design framework. Proceedings of the 2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, July 20-23, Queensland, Australia.