Engaging Students in Scientific Practices: What Does Constructing and Revising Models Look Like in the Science Classroom?by: Joseph Krajcik and Joi Merritt

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In this article the authors look in-depth at scientific practice number 2—developing, evaluating, and revising scientific models to explain and predict phenomena—and what it means for classroom teaching.

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Reviews (6)
  • on Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:36 PM

This is an extremely well -written and concise article explaining the use of the models in a science classroom. One of the expectations in the K -12 framework for Science Education is that students will construct and revise models based on new evidence and use those models to predict and explain phenomena. In this article, students are asked to create and revise a model 3 times during a unit. It was eye opening for me to see how students ideas changed and they were able to get closer to the scientific model of the concept they were studying. This article will help you as a classroom teacher begin to implement developng and using models in a science classroom.

Kathy Renfrew  (Barnet, VT)
Kathy Renfrew (Barnet, VT)

  • on Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:47 PM

This article helps teachers make connections between the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the K-12 Science Education Framework document; specifically it addresses scientific practice #2-developing, evaluating, and revising scientific models to explain and predict phenomena. The modeling activities were conducted with a sixth grade class. Using a template, students are asked to draw a model of odor at the beginning, middle and end of a unit about how molecules behave as gases and liquids. The article shares one student’s thinking through the various stages of his/her model. The article helps teachers understand how students can create more and more complex models with careful scaffolding by teachers. This student’s model accounts for all the evidence he/she has regarding the properties of gases. It is apparent that the student was able to “come up” with the particle model without ever having been taught it. He/she developed it through carefully supported modeling activities where he/she built a model based on the evidence the teacher provided in class.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

  • on Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:25 PM

In this article, another installment that the NSTA Journals are including monthly (starting back in December 2011), "scientific practice #2—developing, evaluating, and revising scientific models to explain and predict phenomena—and what it means for classroom teaching", is discussed. It states that perhaps the biggest change that the modeling practice brings to classroom teaching is "the expectation for students to construct and revise models based on new evidence to predict and explain phenomena and to test solutions to various design problems in the context of learning and using core ideas." To illustrate what the Framework is stating, the article provides a discussion, then a pictorial example of each revision and how it progresses and changes with the introduction and integration of new evidence. This is a very helpful, visual way to understand the greater depth of understanding that the Framework is asking from the student. This succession of articles each month in the NSTA Journals is providing a nice bridge for the teachers in the classroom. I fully recommend reading each article as presented, each month, to help clarify the implications of using the K-12 Framework in future teaching practices.

Sue Garcia
Sue Garcia

  • on Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:21 PM

This article is the fourth in the series of articles written for all NSTA journals that help us understand the new Framework better. As were the other articles this is another must-read for anyone trying to get a step ahead of the Next Gen Science Standards.

Donald Boonstra  (Chandler, AZ)
Donald Boonstra (Chandler, AZ)

  • on Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:36 PM

According to the new Framework "multiple models might explain a phenomena and that students should improve models to fit new evidence." The article demonstrates this effectively. It also states that science is an “effective method of inquiry” in all subject areas.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

  • on Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:38 PM

Constructing and revising models as a method of teaching and engaging students in science is an effective strategy. It would greatly benefit educators and students if these practices were begun even before the next generation science standards are adopted. Students are more apt to listen to any explanations I have after they have created a model of their own design. Any misconceptions can then be cleared up and the students' designs can be revised. This was an interesting article regarding an interesting topic. I would definitely recommend this to my fellow grade 5 science colleagues.

John Philpot
John Philpot

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