General relativity (GR) represents the most recent theory of gravity, on which all modern astrophysics is based, including some of the most astonishing results of physics research. Nevertheless, its study is limited to university courses, while being ignored at high-school level. To introduce GR in high school, one of the approaches that can be used is the so-called rubber sheet analogy (RSA), i.e. comparing space-time to a rubber sheet that deforms under a weight. In this paper, we analyse the efficacy of an activity for high-school students held at the Department of Mathematics and Physics of Roma Tre University that adopts the RSA to address several topics related to gravity. We present the results of the questionnaires we administered to over 150 Italian high-school students to investigate their understanding of the topics treated.
Postiglione, A., De Angelis, I. (2021). Students’ understanding of gravity using the rubber sheet analogy: an Italian experience. PHYSICS EDUCATION, 56(2), 025020 [10.1088/1361-6552/abd1c4].