Research in Science Education

process of science - best practice - vocabulary

Our school is working on choosing a common language to use in K-8 regarding the process of science.  For example, prediction vs hypothesis.  Do you know of any research that addresses this?  Any thoughts about scaffolding by grade level? Thanks for your input and resources. Stacy

Stacy Wolff
Stacy Wolff
675 Activity Points

Hi Stacy - you might check out the atlas of science literacy for information.

Sharla Dowding
Sharla Dowding
1105 Activity Points

Hi Stacy,
With the integration of the Next Generation Science Standards into many schools across America, the science processes have evolved into the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) of which there are 8. ( )
When the NGSS first surfaced, they seemed confusing and it was not easy for me to see the connections between the new standards and their science and engineering practices and the old ones that identified the science processes as a list: observing, measuring, etc. I wanted my old science processes list back. Now that I have had practice using the NGSS to frame lesson plans, I understand the importance of this evolution of how students learn about scientific phenomena through inquiry and investigation.
As one goes through the standards, the various processes/practices are the vehicles driving how instruction is delivered and evaluated.
The Framework for K-12 Science Education was the first step in developing these standards, including the science and engineering practices. At there is information about the research behind this. I, like Sharla, think you will find the Atlases, especially the grade band maps, to be invaluable in determining your vocabulary.
As a side note, when I am going through the process of teaching my preservice teachers how to use the Atlases and the NGSS in their lesson planning, I refer them to an NSTA SciPack on the corresponding science content. There they go to the "Pedagogical Implications" section to read the research supporting some of the conceptual understandings being discussed.


Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
80318 Activity Points

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