Cognition and Instruction/Learning Science and Conceptual Change

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                                                    Science_vision

Unlike other academic areas, when it comes to learning science, children develop experience based preconceptions about the world and how it works before they even enter a classroom. These naive concepts can be useful in helping them develop in a complex world, but can ultimately result in incomplete or incorrect knowledge about the natural world. In order to correct and reshape these pre-developed conceptions about science, we must first identify where the misconceptions lie, then work with students to break them down and rebuild them using hands on experiences to foster a deeper understanding of the materials. This can be an intricate and delicate process that takes time in order for students to evolve their thinking and successfully accommodate and assimilate new information into their existing schemata.

In this chapter we discuss how these naive preconceptions tend to develop in young people, how they differ from expert thinking, and how to identify and confront such notions so that students may be able to develop their scientific and critical thinking skills, ultimately changing their conceptions. We discuss effective teaching methods and essential elements of science instruction, as well as addressing some unique challenges to teaching science at different educational levels.


The Development of Naive Scientific Preconceptions[edit]

Children are naturally curious, constantly exploring their surroundings and questioning the world around them, which helps them to develop an understanding of the natural world and becomes their reference set when encountering new things in their environment. These naive scientific concepts, developed from personal observation and experience, tend to become strongly held and often incorrect beliefs by the time they begin school, which can make them resistant to complex and sometimes counter-intuitive scientific theories and principles.

Naive preconceptions[edit]

The persistence of naïve conceptions about the natural world which students bring with them to the classroom has been one of the most outstanding developments in understanding science learning. From a young age, people develop scientific thinking or curiosity. Even before entering school, children are frequently used to observing and questioning their everyday life experiences. Thus, this results in both children and even a lot of adults having naïve theories, which are well-formed but scientifically incorrect thoughts about how the world operates. [1] There are several examples of naïve beliefs about science. Firstly, prior to any formal instruction, the resistance of people’s naïve conceptions to change is particularly evident in their own theories of motion. If people are asked to describe the motion of force on a ball tossed into the air, they tend to illustrate that the motion of force starts by going upwards with the ball as it ascends, and down as the ball falls. However, it is a typically incorrect reply; the correct answer would be that the motion of force is consistently downward, though the ball gains height before falling. Another example of naïve misconception related to biology is that children possess false beliefs and incomplete knowledge about scientific information. [2] When children are asked whether certain things are plants, they incorrectly responded that carrots, oak trees and grass are not plants. Since many people have already formulated misconceptions about science before learning formally in a classroom setting, it may be difficult to change or re-conceptualize these beliefs.

Wu and Wu[3] explored the development of epistemological beliefs about the nature of science in children. They described three levels of epistemological beliefs about science: 1) Individuals at the novice level tend to know little about science. They hold naive preconceptions about experiments in science, they don't understand the difference between hypotheses and theories, and tend to think mostly about the procedure of an experiment and getting 'good' results, rather than thinking about what the experiment is supposed to be testing and whether it is an accurate measure, etc. They also tend to have strong beliefs about science, in that it is definitive and unchanging. 2) Individuals in the intermediate level have developed a basic understanding of the concept of hypotheses, and that theories are well tested, supported hypotheses. They define experiments as testing a hypothesis, and understand that science is uncertain. 3) Individuals at the expert level see that scientific inquiry is guided by theories, and that theories are a general explanation of a phenomenon. They understand the difference between testing a theory and testing a hypothesis within a theory.[4] Students who have dynamic epistemological beliefs tend to be more active learners than students with static beliefs. These students will tend to form better understandings of scientific concepts, and will rise in level more quickly.[5]

Wu and Wu[6] also described two different types of epistemology: Formal epistemology refers to individuals' beliefs about professional science, and practical epistemology refers to individuals' ideas about scientific knowledge and how they construct this knowledge from personal experiences. Based on these concepts of epistemological beliefs, Wu and Wu asked how these beliefs developed in children, and how they affected the development of inquiry skills. They listed three key inquiry skills involved in formulating students' scientific explanations: 1) Being able to identify causal relationships between variables, 2) being able to describe their reasoning process, and 3) being able to interpret data to use as evidence.[7] The researchers conducted an exploratory study to determine whether students improved their inquiry skills after a series of inquiry-based activities, what their practical epistemologies were before and after completing the activities, and what interactions there were between inquiry skills and practical epistemologies.

Participants in the study were two classes of fifth grade students. 34 students were chosen per class, and of those 34, 18 were girls and 12 were boys.[8] Students were given ten learning activities covering various physics topics to be completed over a period of five weeks, or 15 class periods. Students learned about effects of force, developed experiments to test the relationship between force and spring length, collected and analyzed data, and presented their findings. Since the students had not experienced this kind of learning before, the teacher used various scaffolding techniques, such as asking guiding questions, performing demonstrations, and giving feedback during activities, in order to support the students' learning. Researchers recorded observational data, administered pre and post-tests on explanation skills, and conducted interviews with students at the end of the five week period. Results from the data analysis showed that using inquiry-based activities could improve students' explanation skills and develop their inquiry skills, allow them to put together experiments, use data to support their claims, recognize experimental errors, and better understand scientific questions, but their epistemological views about science remained at a novice level. Wu and Wu[9] concluded by suggesting that following inquiry-based activities with reflective discussions could help to change epistemological beliefs, but further research on this topic would still be necessary to support this hypothesis.

The difference between novice and expert thinking[edit]

There are several perspectives which look at people with novice and expert levels of scientific knowledge. Compared to novices, experts have superior ability to solve scientific problems efficiently and quickly. Experts in the field of science acquire wide-ranging knowledge and strategies which influence what they notice and how they organize, understand and signify information from their environment. Since they are trained and exposed to numerous opportunities for problem solving, they are able to build a variety of pertinent problem-solving schemata. This allows them to solve science problems much faster than novices. [10] Experts have the ability to perceive meaningful patterns of information and to easily retrieve important aspects of their scientific knowledge more flexibly as compared to the novices. This great recall ability can be explained in terms of chunking information. For example, novices may not use chunking as much when dealing with physics principles whereas experts use chunking to demonstrate a particular set of equations which correspond to a specific problem they may be faced with. The chunking ability is enhanced when familiar patterns are organized and gathered together in certain meaningful categories. However, novices do not have such ability to process or organize their thoughts with more complex problems.

When looking at the understanding of scientific theories, there is a significant difference between novices and experts that allows them to be separated into three sub-groups; for instance, children, adults, and scientists. Identifying essential skills in scientific reasoning includes a prominent comprehension of the main point of the theory, a clear differentiation of supporting and rebutting evidences, the ability to reason why the data, graph or diagrams support the theory, theory building, and precise reflection on the theory building process. [11] A few problems arose when searching for the differences between the groups: 1) There was a lack of domain-specific knowledge among the adult experts and 2) Children felt frustrated if they were not able to fully interpret the theories including the structures as well as the messages, and decipher how they could apply the theories.

Identifying and Changing Naive Beliefs[edit]

Teaching scientific concepts to children is more complex than simply teaching terms and facts. It is common for children to acquire a superficial understanding of scientific concepts that enables them to recall relevant terms and even the gist of concepts presented to them. Unless they fully process the contradictions the new concepts may hold for their prior beliefs, their misconceptions will not change and their understanding of science will remain shallow. To insure that children fully learn scientific concepts, we must address any misconceptions that may block their comprehension.

Identify students' naive preconceptions[edit]

People’s false beliefs about science will naturally be revealed as time passes and as they learn. However, one must be very cautious not to directly point out and disclose people’s misconceptions. In order to be successful and not to hurt others' feeling, but to guide them in the right direction, teachers should prepare experience-based instruction which includes activities that will inspire the learners to change their preconceptions. It is important to expose students to more encouraging and dynamic activities. The major role of teachers is to assist students in expressing their thoughts and ideas about how they think and why they think that way. As a class, students will be able to exchange their own thoughts and compare others’ with theirs; this process allows students to justify their own thoughts and to see other peoples' perspectives. Then teachers can clarify and explain their conceptions by providing adequate explanation.

Create conceptual conflict[edit]

Once an individual's preconceptions have been brought to their attention, they must be challenged in order to create cognitive disequilibrium within the individual, motivating them to assess and reconsider their beliefs on the subject. The way instructors can do this is by offering multiple views (perhaps those of several different students in the class), then asking probing questions about which explanation seems to be the most reasonable and getting the students to think about each scenario, rather than telling them which one is correct.[12] This form of questioning will help to stimulate discussion amongst students. Allowing time for students to discuss with each other is also important, as it exposes them to other students opinions and viewpoints.[13] The teacher can then suggest the need for a hands-on activity, such as an experiment, in order to test the validity of the various proposed hypotheses. Running experiments can help students to learn critical thinking skills such as the importance of gathering data to back their statements and making decisions on what information is relevant. In order for an experiment or demonstration to be successful in creating conceptual conflict, however, it must eliminate all possible explanations for the outcome, except the correct scientific explanation.[14] If this is done correctly, then students can begin reassessing their own preconceptions and altering their beliefs in order to accommodate the new information.

This process is demonstrated in a study done by Shtulman and Calabi on the effects of instruction on essentialist theories of evolution.[15] There are common misconceptions about evolution, even among people with post-secondary education. Ideas such as, individuals are born better adapted to their environment than their parents, that traits are developed over one's lifetime and then passed on to one's offspring, or that animals are more likely to survive and adapt than to die and become extinct, are quite prevalent, even among science students.[16] These types of misconceptions have been documented in the most novice individuals (i.e. children) and the most expert individuals (i.e. educational professionals) alike. The fact that these misconceptions are so generalized indicates a bias referred to as essentialism. Essentialism is the belief that every observable trait is due to some unobservable variable at its core, also referred to as an 'essence'.[17] This 'essence' is passed down from parent to offspring. What makes something what it is, is not a series of traits it has in common with other members of its species, but the 'essence' it inherited from its parents. This essentialist way of thinking is not only common across varying levels of knowledge, but across cultures as well.[18]

Two major paradigms that are used to test childrens' understanding of evolutionary concepts are the unknown-property paradigm and the switched-at-birth paradigm.[19] The unknown-property paradigm introduces a novel property of a familiar organism (ex: a cat [familiar organism] can see in the dark [novel property]). Then novel organisms, which may or may not possess the novel property, are introduced (ex: a cat that looks like a skunk and a skunk that looks like a cat). When tested on preschool-aged children, most tended to associate the novel property with the skunk-like cat, but not with the cat-like skunk.[20]Meyers_b13_s0595c

The switched-at-birth paradigm gives a scenario, for example, that a calf is taken from its birth parents and raised, instead, by a family of pigs. It then asks whether the calf will grow up to possess similar properties to its birth parents (i.e. straight tail, eats grass), or to its foster parents (i.e. curly tail, eats slop). Children tend to reply with the former, that it will develop like a cow, because it is a cow, not a pig.[21] This essentialist reasoning can be useful for basic details, like what an organism should look like, how it reproduces, where it prefers to live, etc., but it falls short when applied to more complex processes like evolution and natural selection. Essentialists tend to focus on differences between species, but what is most important in evolution is the differences among individuals within a species.

Shtulman and Calabi[22] took an interest in this phenomenon and conducted an test-retest study using college undergraduates in order to determine whether instruction in evolution could change students' essentialist preconceptions about evolution. Each participant was required to fill out a questionnaire before and after taking a course on evolution. The questionnaire tested six sections of the subject: variation, inheritance, adaptation, domestication, speciation, and extinction.[23] By comparing pre and post-test scores and calculating the difference between the two, researchers divided the students into either 'learner' or 'non-learner' categories. Those that improved significantly (learners) were shown to have significantly more preinstructional misconceptions than the non-learners. This would imply that having more misconceptions when going into a course may facilitate learning, possibly because students run into these misconceptions quite frequently throughout the course, and are thus confronted with conflicting information more often. Having to resolve these conflicts so frequently can lead to greater conceptual change, than if one rarely encountered these informational conflicts.[24]

Promote reassessment of preconceptions[edit]

Once students begin to question the validity of their current beliefs, it is important for the teacher to assist them in changing those beliefs by providing further information and answering questions in order to help them change their perception of the topic or event.[25] Success at this stage would result in the students changing their conceptions about a scientific event and would help promote better acquisition of scientific knowledge.

Teaching Science Effectively[edit]

In order to teach any subject effectively, one must engage with the students and support them throughout the learning process. This is especially true in science. By making them question themselves and their preconceptions, they become more deeply engaged with the materials, and develop a better understanding of the concepts and, as a result, gain a deeper sense of achievement than if they were to simply read the texts and recite the facts.

Inquiry-based teaching vs. Lecture style classrooms[edit]

Quite often classes are taught in a lecture style which tends to promote more of a fact-based or memorization style of learning. This can be a problem for science, in particular, because of students', often strongly developed, naive scientific preconceptions. In order to help reveal these misconceptions to both the teacher and the student, a more dynamic inquiry-based teaching approach is recommended.

Bruning, Schraw and Norby [26] describe inquiry-based teaching as teachers supporting active learners. In an inquiry-based classroom environment the student takes the lead by performing hands-on activities that the teacher has set up, asking questions and forming hypotheses about the tasks, collaborating with other students and comparing ideas, and testing and reforming their hypotheses if results are contradictory to their predictions. Teachers are there to assist in their students' learning, rather than being the driving force. This allows students to voice their beliefs and to test them. If these beliefs are proven to be dysfunctional, then they may be driven to find an explanation that better supports their observations [27].

If students are simply given facts and information and tested on those facts, then none of their misconceptions are being identified or addressed, and they will continue to hold these misconceptions even if the facts they are memorizing for the exam contradict them. This may be because the facts alone aren't enough to show them why their beliefs are incorrect. If they don't fully understand why something is the way it is, though they may see an inconsistency between the information they were given and the beliefs they currently hold, this may not be enough for them to adopt a new belief. In order to change a child's beliefs, we must present them with information that is intelligible (can be understood by the student), plausible and believable (as sited in [28]). This means that the information must give a better explanation of a phenomenon than their current conception.

Providing strategies for deeper understanding of materials[edit]

Optimal strategies for dispelling misconceptions need to address two important functions in a student's learning process; assimilation and accommodation of information [29]. Assimilation is when a student uses existing schemas (mental representations of information or experiences) to help make sense of new information, and accommodation is when students replace or alter existing schemas in order to be consistent with new information.

Longfield [30] discusses discrepant teaching events as strategies to help identify students' misconceptions and cause cognitive disequilibrium (conflict of existing schemas and new information being presented), which would lead to the assimilation and accommodation of new information. A discrepant teaching event is an event that produces an unexpected outcome, and that forces students to become aware of dysfunctional beliefs that may need to be changed. These discrepant events can be used in almost any classroom, but for science, in particular, it can be a very effective strategy.

Reassessment and development of teaching strategies[edit]

Inquiry-based teaching and the use of discrepant teaching events can be very difficult to master, and it can take time to make a curriculum which takes full advantage of these techniques, but it is possible to improve student learning by incorporating these elements as much as possible, and by scaffolding students in their development throughout the class [31]. It is, therefore, essential to continue to assess and reassess one's teaching strategies in order to insure that students are getting the most help possible, and that all individuals are taken into account. By being more aware of the students' needs, one can also develop an environment where students can feel safe and secure enough to ask questions and to express their own ideas and opinions.

Effective instruction improves science achievement[edit]

There are many factors that contribute to a student's level of science achievement, but some of the most important extrinsic factors are instructional time and quality [32]. Studies have shown that level of achievement is strongly correlated to the amount of instruction in a subject that a student has received and the amount to which they understood the information being presented. This is further reason to invest more time in building a comprehensive curriculum that helps to foster a child's curiosity and helps to scaffold them so that they may better understand the materials given.

Assessing and Monitoring Students' Level of Science Understanding[edit]

As important as it is to teach science to young people, it is just as important to assess how well they are understanding the materials. A better understanding of science can help them not only in school, but in everyday life. A large part of learning should be review of past materials in order to practice and maintain information in long-term memory. By incorporating practice and repetition of new materials, and checking students’ knowledge on a regular basis, you help them to retain more information for a longer period of time, as well as hopefully encouraging them to study and practice on their own.

Essential Elements of Science Instruction[edit]

Because of the nature of science and complexity of many of the concepts, it is not something that can easily be taught simply from a text. There are several essential elements that need to be present in the curriculum in order to optimize students' learning, understanding and appreciation for science.

Design process VS Design patterns[33]

Design process is meant for developing students’ ideas by adding new ideas, elaborating on current ideas, and organizing ideas into more coherent explanations. Its purpose in knowledge integration is to: elicite ideas, introduce new ideas, evaluate, and synthesizing those ideas. Design patterns play an important role in students’ learning of science. They include assuming predictions, conducting experiments, gathering evidence, and reflection.

Teach science as a problem-solving process[34]

The most beneficial and effective skill in problem-solving is inquiry-based approaches to science teaching, since problem-solving strategies require cognitive perspectives rather than knowledge acquisition processes in science.

Use hands-on demonstration[35]

Experiments and/or demonstrations are a good way of challenging students’ preconceptions. Thus, it is important for teachers to thoughtfully choose the topic, stay focused and guide the learners through, in order to adopt correct scientific views. In order to assist students to be involved in science class, hands-on activities, which help them engage in self-questioning, should be used. These activities will advance students’ maturity and improve their view of science.

Teach the nature of scientific theories[36]

As students go up in grades, they require more advanced understanding of scientific inquiry and ability to think critically. Students, therefore, have to learn how to interpret scientific theories, how they differ from hypotheses and how they are both coordinated. To secondary school students, scientific theories might be boring or difficult to deeply understand. Yet if teachers provide enough time to process the learned materials, students will be able to handle other advanced materials much more easily and proficiently.

Give enough time to restructure knowledge[37]

Not only in science, but in other subjects as well, teachers need to provide students with sufficient time to do their work in class as well as allow them to process the knowledge mentally. To change or modify one’s beliefs or knowledge that one has carried for such a long time requires sufficient processing time.Conceptual change in science, especially, is not a short-term, but a long-term process. Students need to be exposed to many kind of science-based views of the world in order to have their own thoughts challenged to the point that they need to reconcile the conflict between their own beliefs and the concepts that have been presented to them. Teachers should not expect rapid change in their students' thinking since it might discourage students from deeper processing of meanings. One of the best methods for changing and developing students’ knowledge is to repeatedly provide students with complex problem sets. This lets them discover new strategies on how to problem-solve, and to learn which strategies they have to apply to certain questions. Also, rather than covering many different topics, it is better to cover small sections of topics in greater detail. Doing so may help students to develop a better understanding of scientific concepts and principles.

Unique Challenges In Teaching Science at Different Stages[edit]

Though there are a lot of common issues in teaching science, regardless of age and experience level, there are some unique challenges to teaching individuals at different stages in life and education. These challenges need to be taken into account when running a class in order to support students in every learning stage.

Elementary level[edit]

There are some difficulties in teaching young children in elementary school not only science, but most subjects. One of the causes for these challenges might have to do with the learner’s motivation in relation to one’s specific goals. Because elementary school students are younger, they will not be focusing on desired outcomes such as knowledge attained, grades, etc. in subjects, as older students might. Hence, teachers have to make sure to encourage them, using inquiry-based instruction, and to assist student learning by simplifying and imparting their professional knowledge. One study shows that there is evidence that elementary science achievement considerably increases when the teachers instruct using inquiry-based teaching methods. Therefore, teachers have to consider how to instruct their young children in more efficient ways.

As for the significance on inquiry teaching in science education, there are some difficulties that the teachers encounter in their classes. For instance, there is a study which examines pre-service elementary teachers, and how they manage the difficulties within their lessons. About 16 seniors (fourth-year students) in an elementary teacher education program are studied based on the teacher’s inquiry lesson preparation, practice, and reflections of pre-service elementary teachers. Quantitative data such as discussion, observation of classroom teaching, and reflective writing is collected as for the data. The result has found that there are difficulties on the lesson that are missing some elements: encouraging students to have own ideas and curiosity, assisting them in valid experiments for appropriate hypothesis, scaffolding their data interpretation and discussion. These difficulties affect teachers’ task such as tension between guided and open inquiry, incorrect comprehension of hypothesis and lack of self-confidence in science knowledge. Thus, this emphasizes the importance of teacher’s job to understand students and their actions. [38]

People might be curious as to whether gender plays a significant role in performance on certain subjects. One study investigated whether girls would perform better than boys at an elementary school level depending on the methods of science instruction. However, the study concludes that there is no correlation between accomplishment and gender in relation to method of science instruction. [39]

Secondary level[edit]

These days, as school education has conformed to a new structure of teaching/learning requirements, it requires teachers and students to define new learning goals, and to take an innovative direction in instruction so that students can deal with any challenges after they graduate. Some studies demonstrated that students’ poor marks for certain subjects were not actually caused by the subject's difficulty, by their study techniques, or by how they processed learned information, but by struggles students may have had in adopting teachers' teaching methods. Traditional methods of science teaching included didactic principles which related to the theoretical-action system and gave guidance to students' education for the long term. Teaching science to a new generation, however, would need to integrate technologies into a lesson plan. Of all the new orientations in educational practices, the “active-participative methods and techniques” are highlighted as new and effective methods of teaching. It provides development of students’ critical thinking by stimulating one’s capacity to discover, analyze, and build conceptual maps in their mind. Examples of this would be brain-writing, jigsaw, etc. Promoting an interactive learning environment, co-operational strategies when assessing learning material, and applying students’ own information processing, will be an important area to think about. Considering both traditional and new teaching strategies, it is important to apply advantageous points from each side. Therefore, educators now have the significant task of formulating new pedagogical systems which harmoniously combine both traditional and new teaching strategies.

Between science teacher’s instruction-based didactic methods, and active-participative and interactive didactic methods, students have shown significant difference in the efficiency of learning, especially in Physics. 148 students from two grade 6 classes and two grade 9 classes were randomly selected from the secondary school in Bucharest. Three experimental classes, which included the active-participative methods, and three controlled classes, which held didactic activities, were given written assessments such as written assignments, pretests and post-tests. From the collected data, it is noticed that pretest results showed no significant difference. However, post-test results did show a significant differences between the groups. Thus, the result reflected that the active-participative and interactive didactic teaching methods were effective when teaching science to students. [40]

Not only do the methods and strategies that the teachers use matter, but other factors matter, too. Also, the other important role for teachers is to know the students’ physical, psychological and individual characteristics. This will help teachers when applying certain strategies to students, since a strategy reaches its maximum efficiency, and benefits learners most, when it’s been applied to the best learning situation possible, where students are fully involved. When teachers use these methods, it is more likely for students to manage and achieve individual learning tasks and increase their motivation. Overall, secondary level years are when students’ scientific thinking skills are formed and their critical analysis skills are developed. Thus, educators have to understand students’ situations and their individual differences in order to come up with more meaningful ways of administering science education and applying adequate teaching strategies.

Post-Secondary or University level[edit]

Of all the different education levels, post-secondary students are most likely to be involved in classes which use technologies such as the Internet. The vast majority of post-secondary students frequently use the Internet to communicate and access websites. Despite the fact that students are familiar with the Internet, there are some issues raised planning and teaching a curriculum. The challenges include how well teachers are able to use the internet and how to effectively incorporate internet use into the class. [41] In order to consider how to improve one’s teaching using technology, the instructors first need to carefully choose an appropriate range of websites. Then they need to introduce and explain what the procedures are, engage students in various activities which are inquiry-led, assign them into groups if necessary and ask them to investigate scientific questions. Most likely, demonstrating these processes will be a faster and more efficient way of giving guidance to students so that they can visualize in their minds and draw out what they should do. However, a more important challenge is to transfer these thoughts listed above into practical performance. Real life performance does not always proceed in the same direction as the thoughts envisioned in our minds, but in fact often conflicts and goes unexpected directions; thus, instructors must always keep in mind that their roles need to be well defined and their curricula need to be planned as well as possible.

Some key issues of where teachers need to develop their practical pedagogical skills are as follows: 1) a narrow range of criteria for selecting appropriate websites, 2) give thought on how students should be grouped in the Internet lessons, 3) students’ plagiarisms, 4) more variety of ways to use Internet in science teaching, 5) limited consideration about the role of the teacher, 6) science objectives of the chapter being vanished when using Internet, 7) geographical setting of classroom. [42] As teachers, it is essential to have backup plans to secure all science lessons. Teachers have to keep in mind that they must keep students on task, give clear instructions, make the lesson student centered, check availability of resources, use plenaries to reinforce learning and implement various kinds of activities rather than just using the Internet. These innovative deployments of Internet technology in instruction demonstrate the effects of the Internet and information technology in various contexts in higher education. However, it provides some challenges for teachers when planning science lessons as well as teaching in classrooms. Such challenges and difficulties may be decreased in relation to how much effort the teachers puts in and how they try to guide their students.

Suggested readings[edit]

Childs, A., Sorensen, P., & Twidle, J. (2011). Using the Internet in science teaching? Issues and challenges for initial teacher education. Technology, Pedagogy And Education, 20(2), 143-160. doi:10.1080/1475939X.2011.588413

Dinescu, L., Dinica, M. & Miron, C. (2010). Active strategies - option and necessity for teaching science in secondary and high school education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 3724–3730.

Longfield, J. (2009). Discrepant Teaching Events: Using an Inquiry Stance to Address Students' Misconceptions. International Journal Of Teaching And Learning In Higher Education, 21(2), 266-271.

Yoon, H.G., Joung, Y. J. & Kim, M. (2011) The Challenges of Science Inquiry Teaching for Pre-Service Teachers in Elementary Classrooms: Difficulties on and under the Scene. Research in Science Education, 42(3), 1-20. DOI 10.1007/s11165-011-9212-y0.

Glossary[edit]

Accommodation: Replacing or altering existing schemas with new information.

Assimilation: The use of existing schemas to help interpret new information.

Chunking: Utilizing a letter, number, or word which may contribute to short-term memory capacity.

Cognitive disequilibrium: Conflict between existing schemas and new information being presented.

Discrepant teaching event: An event in which an unexpected outcome occurs. Used to bring to light dysfunctional student beliefs and to insight change.

Essentialism: The belief that every observable trait is due to some unobservable variable at its core, also referred to as an 'essence'.

Formal epistemology: Individuals' beliefs about professional science.

Inquiry-based teaching: Student is seen as the active learner with teacher taking a supportive role.

Naïve beliefs: Inaccurate beliefs about a phenomenon, acquired through uncontrolled observation.

Naïve theories: Incorrect conceptual frameworks for understanding a domain and important processes within that domain.

Practical epistemology: Individuals' ideas about scientific knowledge and how they construct this knowledge from personal experiences.

Schemas: Mental representations of information or experiences.

References[edit]

  • Bruning, R.H., Schraw, G.J., & Norby, M.M. (2011).Cognitive psychology and instruction (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson
  • Childs, A., Sorensen, P., & Twidle, J. (2011). Using the Internet in science teaching? Issues and challenges for initial teacher education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(2), 143-160. doi: 10.1080/1475939X.2011.588413
  • Dinescu, L., Dinica, M. & Miron, C. (2010). Active strategies - option and necessity for teaching science in secondary and high school education. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 2(2), 3724–3730. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2010.03.579
  • Kensinger, S. H. (2013). Impact of instructional approaches to teaching elementary science on student achievement. Dissertation Abstracts International Section A, 73.
  • Longfield, J. (2009). Discrepant Teaching Events: Using an Inquiry Stance to Address Students' Misconceptions. International Journal Of Teaching And Learning In Higher Education, 21(2), 266-271.
  • Shtulman, A., & Calabi, P. (2013). Tuition vs. Intuition: Effects of Instruction on Naive Theories of Evolution. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 59(2), 141-167.
  • Wu, H., & Wu, C. (2011). Exploring the Development of Fifth Graders' Practical Epistemologies and Explanation Skills in Inquiry-Based Learning Classrooms. Research In Science Education, 41(3), 319-340.
  • Yoon, H.G., Joung, Y. J. & Kim, M. (2011). The Challenges of Science Inquiry Teaching for Pre-Service Teachers in Elementary Classrooms: Difficulties on and under the Scene. Research in Science Education, 42(3), 1-20. doiː 10.1007/s11165-011-9212-y
  • Science_vision image retrieved from Wikimedia commons, scientific pictures and images
  • Meyers_b13_s0595c image retrieved from Wikimedia commons, zoological illustrations
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