Research in Science Education

Sharing the Research & Best Practices in Science Teaching & Learning

I purchased the book, "What Successful Science Teachers Do: 75 Research-based Strategies" by Neal Glasgow, Michele Cheyne, and Randy Yerrick. There is a foreword written by our own Page Keeley! (ISBN: 978-1-4129-7234-5)
This is a treasure trove of information about the research behind some of the teaching strategies and professional practices that we use all of the time - and know that they work from experience. Perhaps knowing that there is research to back them up is of value to our novice and preservice teachers.
Anyway, I thought maybe this thread could be a place where we discuss those teaching strategies and best practices that we use all of the time. Those who have information about studies and research that support our practices, please chime in with the additional information.
I will start with this offering from the book I mentioned:
Strategy: Encourage students to become more involved and interested in science.
What the research says: A study conducted by Roberts and Wassersug (2009) studied a hands-on summer research program for about 15 years. They showed that students who are interested in science and have opportunities to participate in original research are more likely to both enter and maintain a career in science when compared to students whose first research experience did not occur until college.
Implications:
This speaks to the importance of including STEM careers and original research projects in our science curricula.
So... please share your best practices - your teaching strategies - your professional practices that make you an effective facilitator of learning. We can look for and match the research to support the teaching. Maybe we will even find a gap in what we do and no research to support it yet (...just our gut feelings or personal experiences that it works!)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Use every opportunity as a teaching moment! When students are interested in and/or questioning their scientific world, you don't have to have all of the answers. But help them to find the answers! The process and journey of scientific discovery are as, if not more important than the conclusion founded. Learn together!

Tiffany Brewczynski
Tiffany Brewczynski
430 Activity Points

I am going to get the book, Carolyn. I will add to this thread at that point. I can quote some metanalysis for techniques that have proven to be effective in the classroom (at least once I can get back into my classroom - it is being cleaned.)

Susan German
Susan German
31170 Activity Points

Tiffany said, "Use every opportunity as a teaching moment! When students are interested in and/or questioning their scientific world, you don't have to have all of the answers. But help them to find the answers! The process and journey of scientific discovery are as, if not more important than the conclusion founded. Learn together!" Your comments address some of best practices in science teaching, Tiffany! Perhaps someone could provide the supporting research that says we should teach to students' interests or that students should be engaged in the process of learning and not just "taught to". Thanks for sharing your insights on this topic. Does anyone have research studies to share that provide evidence as to why Tiffany's offerings are considered best practice?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

By Sarah Sejzer
Strategy 11: Create an emotionally positive science classroom environment.
Sometimes students are so bogged down by threats to their self-esteem that they don’t try in school. Teachers can help by smiling, talking in a pleasant tone of voice, and using encouraging words. Teachers have a responsibility to maintain a positive environment in which everyone in the classroom is respected. Reading difficulties could have been caused by lack of emotional cues.
In their introduction, Pelliterra et al (2006) describe the research of Gredler (1997) who stated that “individuals tend to interpret stress reactions and tension as indicators of vulnerability to performance….Therefore, the only way to alter personal efficacy is to reduce stress and negative emotional tendencies during a difficult task” (p.290).
The above mentions about how stress and emotional difficulties have a direct link to academic performance. For example, the only way to help a student with reading difficulties succeed is to first work on the emotional cues.

Implications:
As a future teacher, I know I will come across situations like these, and this strategy is good knowledge I can take with me. Growing up as a kid, I had emotional difficulties. I had a hard time making friends; and although I was not made fun of, I was left out a lot. This will help me empathize with my future students, and I will be there to help them and support them any way I can.

Sarah Sejzer
Sarah Sejzer
365 Activity Points

One such strategy is converting traditional labs to inquiry-based activities. What the research says, according to the NRC, classrooms need to begin shifting roles. The teacher should no longer be the lecturing information supplier, but rather a facilitator of tasks. The teacher should be more like the foreman at a factory, walking around making sure things are running smoothly, and that jobs are being completed. If not, the teacher needs to engage and further define the task students need to be performing. By doing this, the teacher is allowing for the students to engage themselves intrinsically in their own learning. When students become responsible for their own educations, results tell us that they will learn more in the long run. The teacher needs to provide broad questions for students to build off of, in order to plant a small idea or question in their minds to drive their inquiry education from. From this idea, students may go out and find their answers. Once they find results leading them to an answer, they may then critique their work, and others work, to form further analysis results. As a precurser to doing these activities, when doing these activities in the classroom it is important to block out enough time. The labs tend to be lengthy, so proper time-management is a key element the teacher must possess. Additionally, if students are not used to this type of method, teachers should start slowly in introducing them to it. Starting small and finding only a couple key ideas to focus in on is an effective way to begin forming students to this type of learning. Labs do not need to be altered much. Simply picking out key concepts to engage students in is all that is needed in order to create successful results in inquiry based learning!

Vince Masse
Vince Masse
385 Activity Points

Strategy: Try using the 5E instructional model. What the research says:The 5E learning cycle, developed by the BSCS,which consists of engaging, exploring, explaining, elaborating, and evaluating, is founded on the idea that learners build knowledge based on what they already know, and connect the new to the old. According to the NCR work How People Work (1999), before tackling a new topic, a student must have preconceptions about the world around them in order to begin the learning process. Next, students must be able to attain an understanding of the new topic learned, and organize it and make it fit into what they already know, then finally work towards the process of self-monitoring their learning. Ultimately, the 5E model is a process in which students do science to learn, as opposed to sitting and absorbing information. Research indicates that if done properly, students will have increased content mastery, higher levels of scientific reasoning, and a greater interest in science. Implications: This is a great strategy to use with the "big ideas" that are often difficult for learners to grasp. It allows students to formulate a question, actually explore the concept, collect data, discuss, and ultimately reconcile their new knowledge with the old preconception. It should also be noted that it is not appropriate with every topic, for example, it may not be as effective with significant figures as it could be with matter. With this strategy, it is important for the teacher to understand students' previous knowledge and to make time for students to explore materials and ideas to make those connections.

Vicky Jenei
Vicky Jenei
395 Activity Points

I have created collections on several pedagogical strategies. I especially like teaching with case studies

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

I will get the hang of attaching things shortly :)


Cooperative Learning Resources Collection
(11 items)
Introduction to Cooperative Learning
     -User Uploaded Resource
Cooperative Problem Solving in Physics
     -User Uploaded Resource
Cooperative Learning Strategies
     -User Uploaded Resource

Teaching with Case Studies Collection
(7 items)
Case Study Teaching in Science Buffalo
     -User Uploaded Resource
UMich Center for Learning and Teaching - Case Study and PBL Reseach
     -User Uploaded Resource
UCSB Case Study How To
     -User Uploaded Resource

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

Strategy 12: Engage Students Who Have a History of Poor Achievement In 1985, Jeanne Oakes performed a study where there were two groups with a history of poor achievement. Oakes wrote a book in which she challenged the assumptions made: that students feel better about themselves and their abilities when separated from other students and that their learning potential is seen through external behaviors. Oakes is against ability grouping, she feels that this decreases the student's performances. We must not assume that just because a student has had a history of failing, providing an easier, simple curriculum would solve the problem. Instead, we must establish a curriculum that applies to real world connections. Teachers must also provide a structured curriculum, especially to those who have had a history of poor school achievement. Another important point made in this chapter is the need for teachers to use more common language, instead of specific content with technical and confusing vocabulary. This chapter provides a variety of examples into setting up students for success, even when they've had a history of poor school achievement. ELL learners are also mentioned in this chapter. Teachers can invite these students to participate by posing examples of questions they can ask. This way, ELL students feel less intimidated to speak in front of their peers. The chapter does mention a possible pitfall; do not expect that everything will change over night. Just because your intentions are well wished, does not mean that they will happen right away. All in all, this chapter is rather informative and very realistic. It does not give teacher any over the top, impossible suggestions, the ideas and goals are very possible to attain.

Vanessa Nambo
Vanessa Nambo
245 Activity Points

The book, "What Successful Science Teachers Do: 75 Research-based Strategies" by Neal Glasgow, Michele Cheyne, and Randy Yerrick has many great strategies to use in the classroom. I focused on “Strategy 7: Try Using the 5E Instructional Model.” The 5 E’s stand for Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This model is also referred to as “the Learning Cycle.” The strategy emphasizes that learning must be built on prior knowledge and that it must be active. Research shown in How People Learn (NRC, 1999) emphasizes three key findings. The first step of the model, “Engage”, is so important because students cannot grasp new information if their prior knowledge is not engaged. This model also helps students see the big picture of how everything fits together. As a result, students organize knowledge for easy retrieval. Finally, students are able to monitor their own understanding which is so important in the learning process. Implications: The 5E Model is great for content that is conceptually difficult and open-ended. It provides a framework or structure for students to explore their ideas. It may require additional steps in writing lesson plans. However, the potential of it leading to an increase in scientific reasoning and subject mastery by the students would make that an effort that is well worth it. As a future teacher, I think this is a great way to let students explore a concept. The 5E Model provides key steps for the students along the way. Because the student takes so much responsibility in this model, it is a very effective strategy to help obtain the goal of content mastery. For more information on this strategy and how teachers feel about this model, I read the discussion forum “To 5E Model or not to 5E model. That is the Question!” It seemed to me, that overall, teachers liked using this model for their inquiry based lessons. It was a good way to get additional information and feedback on the strategy.

Nicky Durband
Nicky Durband
1670 Activity Points

Strategy 6: Challenge your students with different levels of questioning.
What the research says: Teachers are going to get answers based on the way their questions are asked to students. If they ask one word answer questions, they should expect to get one word answers. If they ask higher level questions that require thought and higher cognitive thinking, they can expect to get a more a more well thought out answer. Teachers must know how and when to use various questioning strategies. The questions may either be cognitive, speculative or questions to manage students and/or classes. The types of questions a teacher asks are based on their expected outcome or answer. The teacher must be prepared for the possibility that their questioning strategy may not work or may go in a direction that is unexpected. The research gives several strategies to minimize classroom management issues. Ultimately, teachers must be prepared for what they are getting into and what type of questions they are going to use to get there.

Implications:
This strategy is crucial for new teachers as well as veteran teachers. Many times a class can become out of control or simply be lead in the wrong direction based on a teachers strategy and pedagogy. This is not the intent of the teacher so the best way to prepare for such an instance is to have a plan. The plan that this strategy lays out is efficient and simply makes sense. Teachers of any level should incorporate these questioning strategies to their pedagogy to achieve a more efficient and well rounded classroom of higher thinking students.

Michael Rumpf
Michael Rumpf
335 Activity Points

Wow there are so many great research-based strategies being shared! (And thank you to those of you who are finding evidence of studies that support the strategies you are sharing.) Here is a synopsis thus far: a. Encourage students to become more involved & interested in science (me) b. Create an emotionally positive science classroom environment (Sarah S) c. Transform traditional labs into inquiry-based labs (Vince M.) d. Use the 5E instructional model (Vicky J. & Nicky D.) e. Use Case Studies (Pam A.) f. Engage Students who have a history of poor achievement (Vanessa N.) g. Use different levels of questioning to challenge students (Michael Ru.) As we are sharing, it would be interesting to know if there are some strategies being mentioned that others may have questions about. Participants, please do ask questions too.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Hi Carolyn and posters to this thread,

Your list reminds me of Judy Willis who practiced neurology for 20 years and then became a teacher at Santa Barbara Middle School.

She is the author of Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist/Classroom Teacher

"Neuroimaging and neurochemical research support an education model in which stress and anxiety are not pervasive (Chugani, 1998; Pawlak, Magarinos, Melchor, McEwan, & Strickland, 2003). This research suggests that superior learning takes place when classroom experiences are enjoyable and relevant to students' lives, interests, and experiences."

For a quick read on her work see:
http://www.psychologytoday.com/.../the-neuroscience-joyful-e...lis-md.pdf

Do you think our classroom environments today emphasis the joy of learning? As an educator I wonder about how much science content information our student retain in light of this brain based research.

Arlene JL

Arlene Jurewicz-Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
42030 Activity Points

Strategy 29: Give students opportunities to use media production for classwork. Technology in the classroom is growing in numbers. The inexpensive and easy use of digital media editing are encouraging teachers like you and I to use video and podcasts during instruction. Digital media editing should be included with the pedagogical practices of assessment and instruction. The authors Neal Glasgow, Michele Cheyne, and Randy Yerrick point out that “In a study of student achievement and evaluation of teaching strategies, students were given laptop access and a set of digital tools (e.g., blogging, podcasting, mobile devices), that were compatible with what they had available outside of school (Yerrick & Johnson, 2009)” ( pg. 99). The students were able to make podcasts, iPhoto books, and iMovies, which is an amazing opportunity to engage and teach students. Over five weeks there was less instructional time going over material and as a result the New York State Regents exam with increased scores. By including technology in the classroom, the students’ achievement grew from 41% to 54%. The students also reported that the technology is improving their learning and preparation for the future. 75% out of 400 students agreed that having technology in the class helps them in the classroom and also for their futures. Implications This case study is proof that media technology truly works in the classroom. Technology, in general, is a powerful tool to use and as a future facilitator, I plan on using media tools in the classroom. I’m aware of websites and programs, such as PowerPoint, www.prezi.com , http://edu.glogster.com/go/dpip18 , www.animoto.com , www.voicethread.com , and www.wikispaces.com. Does anyone else know of any other resources that are quick and easy?

Laura Houlihan
Laura Houlihan
350 Activity Points

Strategy: Foster self-efficacy and motivation in your students What the research says: Students are naturally motivated in subjects that they are good at because they have the confidence to conquer challenges within those subjects. The question that still remains is how do we motivate students who have low expectations, and low confidence? In an excerpt from What Successful Science Teachers Do: 75 Research-based Strategies", the authors list four steps for improving self-efficacy and motivation in the classroom that is suggested most by a number of different authors. These are listed below: 1. Giving students a choice with in activities. Make sure that the students are challenged, but give them the freedom to choose something that they are most comfortable with. 2. Encourage and model Strategic activities. Encourage students to pre-think about possible challenges or problems that may present themselves in an activity. Knowing these potential hazards beforehand will be less frustrating and discouraging for the student. 3. Offering opportunities and tools for self-assessment. Students need to know your expectations. Tools such as rubrics will provide guidelines and understanding about what is expected. 4. Include both formative and summative assessment. Implication- It is certainly true that we tend to like to do things that we are successful at. I think these steps provide an outline for students so that they can be successful. We got to stop seeing students as being lazy. Instead we have to look upon them as not having the confidence or knowledge of how to be successful. That is what these four steps provide, a structure for how to be successful and opportunities for students to gain confidence.

Michael Reigner
Michael Reigner
345 Activity Points

Strategy 13: Include Students with Special Needs in Student Centered Instruction. Some research has claimed that students be homogenously grouped, based on their previous academic achievement. Some claim that students feel better about themselves as learners when they are separated from other students. Also, some claim that students’ abilities and potential to learn are visible through external behaviors. Researcher, Jeanne Oakes, argues against such claims. She states that it is wrong to ability group students. She feels that classrooms need to be transformed and students need encouragement despite their history of academic failure. Students should be learning in the least restrictive environment. Teachers should be aware that good intentions are wonderful, but should be optimistic in terms of success and the time it takes is acquire such. Students should use their schema to develop further understanding of the concept being taught, and make scientific connections. These connections encourage students to test what they know and collect more information to build onto their knowledge. Teachers should use caution when introducing some concepts. Many students have misconceptions about particular concepts. The goal is to educate our students and encourage them to learn. When students believe their teachers are their advocates for learning, and provide connections to the content, the results can be profound.

Kerrie Ellis
Kerrie Ellis
1145 Activity Points

Strategy #3 in the book that Carolyn mentioned=: Utilizing Graphic Organizers in your Classroom. What the research says: Graphic organizers are excellent tools for the classroom. Reflecting on this strategy, I became aware that utilizing graphic organizers are an excellent way to help both students and teacher in learning and instruction. “When graphic organizers are used effectively, both teacher and students expand their roles in the lesson.” as proven in a study by Kirylo & Millet, 2000. Implications: As a visual learner myself, I believe they are one of the best ways for students to effectively structure or restructure new information learned in class and for developing prior knowledge. One way I would use graphic organizers in my classroom is at the beginning of a unit to condense or restructure the main ideas, these tools come in an array of styles and can be used individually or in groups developing critical thinking skills, analyzing information, and brainstorming. Graphic organizers also assist development of reading comprehension and strengthened writing skills. They help lead to efficient and effective conclusions.

Mary Hannig
Mary Hannig
2935 Activity Points

[b]Strategy #4: Increase depth of coverage to improve student learning.[/b] Science education in the past decades has shifted from education for future scientists to science education for all. This shift has resulted in a broad based learning strategy where students are taught a wide number of concepts rather than a narrow group that is more in depth. A study conducted by Schwartz, Sadler, Sonnert, and Tai (2008) questioned this approach. They studied a sample of college and university students to find out what their high school science education consisted of. The questionnaire, which consisted of 65 questions, gave the researchers information such as what type of science classes were taken, the level of the class, topics covered, along with the types of activities the classes engaged in. Using this information and the dependent variable of their final grade (in a college science course), the researchers were able to show that students who were taught at least one topic in depth showed a positive outcome in their introductory college science courses. The students who experienced the breadth over depth concept had no advantage in physics and chemistry and were actually at a disadvantage in biology. When applying this information to the classroom it is suggested to choose a part of the curriculum that is problematic to the students when studying in depth. As for activities to use they suggest inquiry-based activities that take more time, extended investigations, computer simulations, and research projects. Not only will this provide greater insight into a subject but it will mimic the experience they will find in college. The greatest pitfall is the prescribed curriculum most schools incorporate. Some teachers may not have the latitude to go in depth in areas they feel are appropriate. The primary goal at this point would be to share such research with colleagues and school officials. This may open the door to more academic freedom when it comes to an in depth teaching methodology.

John Randolph
John Randolph
300 Activity Points

Strategy 8: Support your students to engage effectively in disciplinary argumentation. What the research says: Hamza and Wikman (2009) generated a study to determine essential material students need to know in science in order to become successful at scientific argumentation. The study showed that students first and foremost need to understand the content they are studying in order to elaborate in any quality argumentation. Areas included in most every lesson and/or labs include scientific investigation, procedures, knowledge of equipment, and the ability to explain any results found. The study ultimately showed that students had gaps in understanding terminology, knowing what observations were important, as well as understanding what recorded measurements actually stood for. Implications: Scientific argumentation can be successful in the classroom; however it is important that teachers clarify questions and misconceptions before, during, and after a lesson in order for students to base their argumentations off of correct evidence and facts. It is important for students to experience science inquiry and learn through asking questions and creating their own knowledge, but it is essential that teachers monitor their process in order to make sure students are basing their knowledge off correct observations, measurements, and true experiences. Students are encouraged to challenge ideas and experiment with questions they may have in a way to construct their own knowledge. By having students use the strategy of scientific argumentation students will get invested, and motivated in the material by becoming experts on their beliefs that they can back up with research, experiments, and facts. I have seen this work successfully in my science methods class where we took the book, “The Pearl,” and debated whether or not the main character made a wise decision in keeping a precious pearl that ultimately ended up destroying his family.

Danyelle Hanes
Danyelle Hanes
855 Activity Points

Strategy 23: Utilizing Formal Cooperative Learning Methods in the Classroom. I like the fact that the strategy explains that cooperative learning is not the same as group work or collaborative learning. Cooperative learning is more structured and takes into consideration the composition of the group. The strategies of cooperative learning also have five common features that result in high-level learning outcomes. The common features are positive interdependence, individual accountability, interpersonal interactions, social skills, and group processing. The features of cooperative learning are what set it apart from simple group work. There has to be a way for the teacher to observe and assess the members of the group both individually and as a part of the whole. Likewise, the students need to understand their responsibility to the group, the responsibility of others in the group, how each member affects the functionality and outcomes of the group, and how to work together with their group to accomplish a common goal.
In addition to reading strategy 23, I also reviewed the web seminar, Using Rare Diseases to Teach Scientific Inquiry. Teachers can access the free curriculum supplement information/materials from the provided website to support the module. The module utilizes the 5Es of science and breaks them down into lessons. It also utilizes symptoms of rare diseases to teach students about human health and “to use the context of rare diseases to help middle-school students experience scientific inquiry” (Bloom, 2011). I thought this was an excellent way to show the teaching of the inquiry method by the instructor and the learning of the inquiry method by the students. According to Bloom (2011), “Educational research supports the idea that scientific inquiry should be viewed both as a learning goal and a teaching method”.

Etta Kimbrough
Etta Kimbrough
210 Activity Points

Carolyn,

Thanks for starting this post. This is the second thread where I've seen this book mentioned. A strategy was also discussed in the Primary-Collaborative Learning thread. I will be ordering it today so I can join in on the discussion!

Maureen Stover
Maureen Stover
40810 Activity Points

Maureen, thank you for linking this thread to the other one for additional info on a similar topic. Yes, please do join in with or without this particular book. I plan to purchase the one that Arlene mentioned, too! Here is a new synopsis of the research-based strategies shared to date on this thread: a. Encourage students to become more involved & interested in science (me) b. Create an emotionally positive science classroom environment (Sarah S) c. Transform traditional labs into inquiry-based labs (Vince M.) d. Use the 5E instructional model (Vicky J. & Nicky D.) e. Use Case Studies (Pam A.) f. Engage Students who have a history of poor achievement (Vanessa N.) g. Use different levels of questioning to challenge students (Michael Ru.) As we are sharing, it would be interesting to know if there are some strategies being mentioned that others may have questions about. Participants, please do ask questions too. h. Resource book from Arlene: Research-Based Strategies to Ignite Student Learning: Insights from a Neurologist/Classroom Teacher by Judy Willis i. Giving students opportunities to use media production for classwork (Laura H.) j. Provide ways to foster self-efficacy and motivation in your students ( Michael Reigner) k. Provide ways to include students with special needs in student-centered Instruction (Kerrie E). l. Utilize graphic organizers in your classroom ( Mary Kay H.) m. Consider increasing depth of coverage (over breath) to improve student learning (John R.) n. Support students to engage effectively in scientific argumentation (also supports CCSSI [Common Core State Standards Initiative]) {Danyelle H.} o. Utilize formal cooperative learning methods in the classroom (Etta K.) We have 14 already! Nice work everyone. Keep them coming...

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Effective Science Instruction: What does the research tell us?
This second edition (2010) is a pdf file you can download. It has additional information about what the research tells us. Informed practices are best practices!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

I was just reading an article called Singapore Math Demystified. One of the corner stones of its success is to have students study less topics with more depth. This agrees with a previous poster who spoke of a study where college students' grades were compared to their high school science education being either broad or deep. If science programs are bloated, how are teachers to choose the topics with which to go deep, especially if they have the gun to their heads of state testing requirements?

Floyd Loving
Floyd Loving
2385 Activity Points

I have been looking for websites covering current research in science education. Over time I may place there is a collection, meanwhile I will post the ones I think most valuable;e and would welcome suggestions from others http://research2practice.info/ This website contains a set of briefs summarizing recent peer-reviewed educational research. The briefs are written with the interests, needs, and institutional settings of informal science educators in mind. Our hope is that they'll be used to inform discussion, reflection, and practice, and that some readers might choose to link to and download the original articles. One of the two articles currently featured on the homepage discusses how museum visitors reason about evolution. The second considers how students make choices for further study in STEM fields

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

Pam, thank you for the link to that education research site. I just registered to access some of the articles. It promises to be a useful resource! Right now I am researching for information about best practices in the use of graphic organizers and concept maps. I want to add the research information to a collection I am creating on this topic. Any one have research resources on this important learning and teaching strategy?

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

I'm really enjoying this thread. I can't wait for threaded discussion boards so that I can respond to each one that I have info on. Thanks for posting! I especially loved the post about argumentation. I'm a huge fan of using this properly in the classroom. In some of my own research, I recorded middle school students in a protocol called "engineered conflict" where two students with different answers discussed their thoughts with one another. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, I found that the students held on strongly to their ideas and did a lot of "mental gymnastics" to show that their ideas worked (even though they were not correct and were shown evidence to the contrary). Amazing how very strong our misconceptions/pre-conceptions are! Reminds me of the Private Universe Series. I'll link to that here. My favorite! http://www.learner.org/resources/series26.html

Wendy Ruchti
Wendy Ruchti
23175 Activity Points

I'm really enjoying this thread. I can't wait for threaded discussion boards so that I can respond to each one that I have info on. Thanks for posting! I especially loved the post about argumentation. I'm a huge fan of using this properly in the classroom. In some of my own research, I recorded middle school students in a protocol called "engineered conflict" where two students with different answers discussed their thoughts with one another. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, I found that the students held on strongly to their ideas and did a lot of "mental gymnastics" to show that their ideas worked (even though they were not correct and were shown evidence to the contrary). Amazing how very strong our misconceptions/pre-conceptions are! Reminds me of the Private Universe Series. I'll link to that here. My favorite! http://www.learner.org/resources/series26.html

Wendy Ruchti
Wendy Ruchti
23175 Activity Points

Hard to believe that some of those videos are over 20 years old, but they are timeless. Annenberg put out some very cool stuff. Wendy's post about the tenacity with which most of us hold to prejudices reminded me of something my son sent me: Disbelieving Free Will Makes Brain Less Free WIRED SCIENCE | MAY 27, 2011 http://pulsene.ws/1KHCC This article highlights the power of planting ideas and the power we wield as teachers.

Floyd Loving
Floyd Loving
2385 Activity Points

I teach math, so I am looking at the things I am learning here more as punctuated opportunities for my students to see the connections between math and science. I do not have the time to take lengthy excursions, but I have seen some things that made me want to. Has anyone used any of the virtual labs available at HHMI? http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/vlabs/ Amazing stuff!

Floyd Loving
Floyd Loving
2385 Activity Points

I am presently taking a course with PBS Teacherline. It is an intro to Biotechnology. One of the big barriers to biotech education, especially in secondary, is the cost of materials. That is one reason I posted the link above to HHMI and their virtual lab. I want to know if anyone is using it or a similar online resource as a staple in their course and if it is able to build good knowledge and habits for real lab work.

Floyd Loving
Floyd Loving
2385 Activity Points

Hi Floyd,
Your post reminded me of a recently archived webinar on Technologies for Inquiry-based Learning.
If you look through the ppt slides, you will see some other technological applications mentioned that might be of use to you. There were several GIS (geographic information system) resources listed.
I, too, would be interested in any research that might be out there connecting researched best practices as it relates to the embedding of internet-based learning technologies.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

I am still hoping that there are those of you out there who can shed some light on how researched best practices may by enhanced with the use of internet-based learning technologies.
In the meantime, I have another question that some of you might be interested in pursuing:
What does the research say to support that inquiry-based instruction is MORE effective than traditional teaching methods? IS there any research to support that claim? I found one source that actually says both means of instruction can be effective (when done correctly) in providing students with ways to increase their knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and their real-world connections. To read about the comparison of two particular lessons, go to this STEM website and download the second edition of Effective Science Instruction (see pp. 26 - 30 for the 2 lessons). (I can't help but express my preference for lesson 1 - it just seems like it would be more FUN to be hands-on; therefore, more engaging and effective. . .IMHO)
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Thank you all for your insightful comments on this topic. This is exactly the type of information I had hoped to learn from that NSTA site as I gear up to return to the classroom after hiatus of *mumble-mumble* years to raise a family.


Andrew Carr
10 Activity Points

Hi Andrew and Welcome to the discussion threads! The NSTA Learning Center has excellent resources available for you to download into your "My Library", and I hope you will find the webinars, journal articles, lesson plans, podcasts, resource collections, etc. to be invaluable resourcs. I know they have deeply enriched and informed my teaching practices. If you wish more information about how to use the resources, there is a webinar coming up on how to use the NLC to help you in your teaching and professional growth and development. You can register for free at: Enhance and Extend Your PD with the NSTA Learning Center (Plus, you receive a free SciPack - about a $40 value - for participating and completing a short evaluation!)

Welcome back to the teaching profession, too!
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Carolyn, "...Right now I am researching for information about best practices in the use of graphic organizers and concept maps. I want to add the research information to a collection I am creating on this topic...." I am also interested in graphic organizers and concept maps. I teach 6th grade and I found them to be very useful in helping my students bridge concepts that have been taught concretely into more semi-abstract concepts. Do you have some favorite references or sites that you can recommend. [I use them but I am not as knowledge about them as I'd like to be.]

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia
42665 Activity Points

Carolyn, thank you for posting this thread. I use NETS-Student and NETS-Teacher learning standards to guide my integration of technology. The main reason why I use technology is to help students create products which demonstrate understanding of learning goals, refine collaboration skills, and reduce the need for paper resources (sustainability).

In relation to your question related "Is inquiry-based instruction being MORE effective than traditional teaching methods?" When science inquiry is used as a tool to deepen understanding, reinforce concepts through practical application, build science process skills, and increase metacognitive ability-I would say yes. I personally feel that science inquiry can be an effective instructional tool when your instructional practices are centered providing multiple learning opportunities where students can be creative/innovative manner. In my experiences, my students better understand complex ideas when I use a science inquiry approach because they are tasked in designing their own investigation based on questions they pose. To understand science, you have to be willing to do science, pedagogy based around science inquiry allows students to take responsibility in their own learning.

Mario Patino
Mario Patino
1205 Activity Points

These are very useful replies with a lot of much needed sites and resources focusing on science education. The site, http://research2practice.info/ posted earlier was very practical. I am looking for information and best practices for use when there is a need for a 'response to intervention' strategy.

Yolanda Smith-Evans
Yolanda Smith-Evans
6425 Activity Points

Sue asked about graphic organizers. Sue, I have a couple of sites in mind that you might find useful. This site has several pdfs of organizers that can be duplicated for classroom use: Think Technology: Graphic Organizers This one blows my mind with great stuff: Enchanted Learning: Graphic Organizers Here's a little information about the evolution of graphic organizers: It perhaps started with the learning theory that views organized knowledge as an elaborate network of abstract mental structures that represent one's understanding of the real world as introduced by F. Bartlett, a British psychologists in the early 1900s. The term Schema was first coined by Piaget in 1926. Graphic Organizers have their roots in Schema Theory which was further detailed by R.C. Anderson. Ausebel came along and talked about advance organizers of which graphic organizers are one type. I know I am simplifying this way too much, but I think throwing out a few of these names will give others who might be interested in researching the history of graphic organizers in more detail some guidance as to where to start. We teachers need to help our students build schemata and make connections between ideas. So we need to tap into our students' prior knowledge in order for them to connect new information and comprehend it - a KWL comes immediately to mind! I found an excellent article in the NLC that has some great ideas for using graphic organizers AND it sites some of the relevant research that supports this best teaching practice: [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/ss11_035_03_36]Three Keys to Success in Science for Students With Learning Disabilities [/url]I highly recommend the article. Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

I just previewed the thread for graphic organizers. Great site! Thank you. One stop shop.

Yolanda Smith-Evans
Yolanda Smith-Evans
6425 Activity Points

I am wondering if anyone is interested in providing some input on Strategy 39 from the book I referred to in my first post on this thread. It is about the importance of "Utilizing formative assessment to better engage students in content and instruction." I think the works of Black and Wiliam started the educational conversations about formative assessment when they published their article, "Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards Through Classroom Assessment" in 1998. Now one of the standard resources to understanding assessments and their ability to inform teaching practices in the classroom is the book by Rick Stiggins and his colleagues, "Classroom Assessment for Student Learning: Doing it Right, Using it Well". Most teachers administer pretests or pre-assessments as part of their regular classroom regime before beginning a new unit of instruction. Many are incorporating more and more FACTs (Formative Assessment Classroom Techniques) into their everyday practices as they continually check for understanding. But how many of us are helping students to make their thinking visible? Do we help them answer the questions about their own learning? Do we have them ask of themselves, "Where am I going?" "Where am I now?" "How can I get to the next level of understanding?" Sometimes I think we try to do all the thinking for them. Do we do too much for our students - so much so that we hinder their ability to develop their own internal standards? In our striving to inform our daily practices, do we enable our students to do less? Besides using formative assessments to inform our practices, how can they be used to inform the students of their own progress? How can we provide the scaffolding so that they can self-assess? If you are doing this, what AfLs (Assessments for Learning) have you found will provide both you and your students important feedback? Thanks, Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

There has been quite a bit of talk in this thread about graphic organizers. Recently I have been engaged in several discussions about the Frayer model. http://wvde.state.wv.us/strategybank/FrayerModel.html While I have used this for vocabulary, I am wanting to apply is to higher concepts. Has anyone tried this? How does it work?

Pamela Auburn
Pamela Auburn
68505 Activity Points

Hi Pam,
Yes, I like the Frayer Model as well. the Picture Perfect Ladies use it in one of their science lessons from their expanded 2nd edition of "Picture Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, grades 3-6". You can download the book chapter entitled, "Earthlets: Dr. Xargle's Book of Earthlets and Seven Blind Mice". A student handout of the Frayer Model can be found on page 48 of that book chapter. This particular lesson is help students gain a better understanding of the higher level thinking skill of making inferences. It is geared toward upper elementary students, but I think the lesson could be adapted to ALL grade levels. The two books used are timeless and have lessons for all ages.
Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

Hopefully the announcement made by Education Week in their August 20, 2013 blog "Report: Science Standards Fall Short in Aligning to Math Common Core" refers to a specific strand rather than the entire body of work that has been completed by NGSS.

There has been so much passion, commitment, time and money poured into developing guidelines. Fine-tuning rather than a complete overhaul would make us sigh with relief.

Have any of you read other online articles that share the same or different opinions? Please share.

Enjoy your week, Alyce

Alyce Dalzell
Alyce Dalzell
64075 Activity Points

Hi Alyce, We have to remember that this same think tank gave the overall grade of "C" to the NGSS initiative, so it stands to reason they will have issues with various components of it (in this case they were not happy about the Common Core math alignments). As a science teacher, I have to differentiate my science instruction based on how much math competency my students bring to the lab table. I may present density differently to students who have had algebra and can use a graphing calculator than I might to my students still learning fractions. However, I can still teach the science concept to all my students. One has to remember that these ARE first and foremost science standards and not reading, arithmetic or writing standards. Just my opinion...:-) Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
79623 Activity Points

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