Matching Items (18)

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Evaluation of online teacher and student materials for the Framework for K-12 Science Education: science and engineering crosscutting concepts

Description

The National Research Council developed and published the Framework for K-12 Science Education, a new set of concepts that many states were planning on adopting. Part of this new endeavor included a set of science and engineering crosscutting concepts to

The National Research Council developed and published the Framework for K-12 Science Education, a new set of concepts that many states were planning on adopting. Part of this new endeavor included a set of science and engineering crosscutting concepts to be incorporated into science materials and activities, a first in science standards history. With the recent development of the Framework came the arduous task of evaluating current lessons for alignment with the new crosscutting concepts. This study took on that task in a small, yet important area of available lessons on the internet. Lessons, to be used by K-12 educators and students, were produced by different organizations and research efforts. This study focused specifically on Earth science lessons as they related to earthquakes. To answer the question as to the extent current and available lessons met the new crosscutting concepts; an evaluation rubric was developed and used to examine teacher and student lessons. Lessons were evaluated on evidence of the science, engineering and application of the engineering for each of the seven crosscutting concepts in the Framework. Each lesson was also evaluated for grade level appropriateness to determine if the lesson was suitable for the intended grade level(s) designated by the lesson. The study demonstrated that the majority of lesson items contained science applications of the crosscutting concepts. However, few contained evidence of engineering applications of the crosscutting concepts. Not only was there lack of evidence for engineering examples of the crosscutting concepts, but a lack of application engineering concepts as well. To evaluate application of the engineering concepts, the activities were examined for characteristics of the engineering design process. Results indicated that student activities were limited in both the nature of the activity and the quantity of lessons that contained activities. The majority of lessons were found to be grade appropriate. This study demonstrated the need to redesign current lessons to incorporate more engineering-specific examples from the crosscutting concepts. Furthermore, it provided evidence the current model of material development was out dated and should be revised to include engineering concepts to meet the needs of the new science standards.

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Created

Date Created
2013

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Using science writing heuristics to increase conceptual understanding of properties of matter and property changes with 8th grade students

Description

This teacher research study examined the effects of utilizing an intervention of Science Writing Heuristics (SWH) as a tool to increase learning during laboratory activities. Five of my eighth grade general science classes participated in this study. Two

This teacher research study examined the effects of utilizing an intervention of Science Writing Heuristics (SWH) as a tool to increase learning during laboratory activities. Five of my eighth grade general science classes participated in this study. Two classes utilized SWH during their laboratory activities (the treatment group) and three classes performed and wrote up their labs in the more traditional, teacher-directed approach (the control group). The assessment scores of the students in the treatment group were compared to the assessment scores of the students in the control group. The post-assessments were analyzed utilizing a t-test. I was teacher in this study and the teacher of all five classes. Data from 41 students were analyzed in this study. A pre-assessment, six laboratory activities, instruction, and a post-assessment occurred within three weeks. The assessments were generated by myself and I performed a t-test using a two-sample analysis, assuming unequal variances (n=16 for treatment group, n=25 for control group) to compare the post-assessments from each group. Results indicated that there was no significant difference between the post-assessment scores of the treatment group with the post-assessment scores of control group (p=0.25). However, the t-test results revealed that when the pre- and post-assessments were compared, there was a significant difference (p=<0.05 for treatment group, p=<0.05 for control group). Each group showed considerable cognitive improvement between pre-assessment (mean scores: 52%-treatment group and 53%-control group) and the post-assessment (mean scores: 72%-treatment group and 80%-control group). This suggests that the presentation of the curriculum lacked a clear distinction between the treatment group and the control group yet benefited most students. Due to circumstances described in the limitations, further research is warranted.

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Date Created
2015

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Representing chemistry: how instructional use of symbolic, microscopic and macroscopic mode influences student conceptual understanding in chemistry

Description

Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes

Chemistry as a subject is difficult to learn and understand, due in part to the specific language used by practitioners in their professional and scientific communications. The language and ways of representing chemical interactions have been grouped into three modes of representation used by chemistry instructors, and ultimately by students in understanding the discipline. The first of these three modes of representation is the symbolic mode, which uses a standard set of rules for chemical nomenclature set out by the IUPAC. The second mode of representation is that of microscopic, which depicts chemical compounds as discrete units made up of atoms and molecules, with a particular ratio of atoms to a molecule or formula unit. The third mode of representation is macroscopic, what can be seen, experienced, or measured directly, like ice melting or a color change during a chemical reaction. Recent evidence suggests that chemistry instructors can assist their students in making the connections between the modes of representation by incorporating all three modes into their teaching and discussions, and overtly connecting the modes during instruction. In this research, chemistry teachers at the community college level were observed over the course of an entire semester, to evaluate their instructional use of mode of representation. The students of these teachers were tested prior to and after a semester's worth of instruction, and changes in the basic chemistry conceptual knowledge of these students were compared. Additionally, a subset of the overall population that was pre- and post-tested was interviewed at length using demonstrations of chemical phenomenon that students were asked to translate using all three modes of representation. Analysis of the instruction of three community college teachers shows there were significant differences among these teachers in their instructional use of mode of representation. Additionally, the students of these three teachers had differential and statistically significant achievement over the course of the semester. This research supports results of other similar studies, as well as providing some unexpected results from the students involved.

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Date Created
2013

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Biology faculty at large research institutions: the nature of their pedagogical content knowledge

Description

To address the need of scientists and engineers in the United States workforce and ensure that students in higher education become scientifically literate, research and policy has called for improvements in undergraduate education in the sciences. One particular pathway for

To address the need of scientists and engineers in the United States workforce and ensure that students in higher education become scientifically literate, research and policy has called for improvements in undergraduate education in the sciences. One particular pathway for improving undergraduate education in the science fields is to reform undergraduate teaching. Only a limited number of studies have explored the pedagogical content knowledge of postsecondary level teachers. This study was conducted to characterize the PCK of biology faculty and explore the factors influencing their PCK. Data included semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, documents, and instructional artifacts. A qualitative inquiry was designed to conduct an in-depth investigation focusing on the PCK of six biology instructors, particularly the types of knowledge they used for teaching biology, their perceptions of teaching, and the social interactions and experiences that influenced their PCK. The findings of this study reveal that the PCK of the biology faculty included eight domains of knowledge: (1) content, (2) context, (3) learners and learning, (4) curriculum, (5) instructional strategies, (6) representations of biology, (7) assessment, and (8) building rapport with students. Three categories of faculty PCK emerged: (1) PCK as an expert explainer, (2) PCK as an instructional architect, and (3) a transitional PCK, which fell between the two prior categories. Based on the interpretations of the data, four social interactions and experiences were found to influence biology faculty PCK: (1) teaching experience, (2) models and mentors, (3) collaborations about teaching, and (4) science education research. The varying teaching perspectives of the faculty also influenced their PCK. This study shows that the PCK of biology faculty for teaching large introductory courses at large research institutions is heavily influenced by factors beyond simply years of teaching experience and expert content knowledge. Social interactions and experiences created by the institution play a significant role in developing the PCK of biology faculty.

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Created

Date Created
2013

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Explicit teaching of the nature of science: a study of the impact of two variations of explicit instruction on student learning

Description

The nature of science (NOS) is included in the National Science Education Standards and is described as a critical component in the development of scientifically literate students. Despite the significance of NOS in science education reform, research shows that many

The nature of science (NOS) is included in the National Science Education Standards and is described as a critical component in the development of scientifically literate students. Despite the significance of NOS in science education reform, research shows that many students continue to possess naïve views of NOS. Explicit and reflective discussion as an instructional approach is relatively new in the field of research in NOS. When compared to other approaches, explicit instruction has been identified as more effective in promoting informed views of NOS, but gaps in student understanding still exist. The purpose of this study was to deepen the understanding of student learning of NOS through the investigation of two variations of explicit instruction. The subjects of the study were two seventh grade classes taught by the same classroom teacher. One class received explicit instruction of NOS within a plate tectonics unit and the second class received explicit instruction of NOS within a plate tectonics unit plus supporting activities focused on specific aspects of NOS. The instruction time for both classes was equalized and took place over a three week time period. The intention of this study was to see if the additional NOS activities helped students build a deeper understanding of NOS, or if a deep understanding could be formed solely through explicit and reflective discussion within content instruction. The results of the study showed that both classes progressed in their understanding of NOS. When the results of the two groups were compared, the group with the additional activities showed statistically significant gains on two of the four aspects of NOS assessed. These results suggest that the activities may have been valuable in promoting informed views, but more research is needed in this area.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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A study on how the public uses the landscape to understand principles of geologic time while experiencing the Trail of Time interpretative exhibit In Grand Canyon National Park

Description

The spectacular geological panoramas of Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) motivate the curiosity of visitors about geology. However, there is little research on how well these visitors understand the basic geologic principles on display in the Canyon walls. The new

The spectacular geological panoramas of Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) motivate the curiosity of visitors about geology. However, there is little research on how well these visitors understand the basic geologic principles on display in the Canyon walls. The new Trail of Time (ToT) interpretative exhibit along the South Rim uses Grand Canyon vistas to teach these principles. Now being visited by thousands daily, the ToT is a uniquely valuable setting for research on informal learning of geologic time and other basic geologic concepts. At the ToT, visitors are not only asked to comprehend a linear timeline, but to associate it with the strata exposed in the walls of the Canyon. The research addressed two primary questions: (1) how do visitors of the National Park use elements of the geologic landscape of the Grand Canyon to explain fundamental principles of relative geologic time? and (2) how do visitors reconcile the relationship between the horizontal ToT timeline and the vertical encoding of time in the strata exposed in the Canyon walls? Semi-structured interviews tracked participants' understanding of the ToT exhibit and of basic principles of geologic time. Administering the verbal analysis method of Chi (1997) to the interview transcripts, the researcher identified emergent themes related to how the respondents utilized the landscape to answer interview questions. Results indicate that a majority of respondents are able to understand principles of relative geologic time by utilizing both the observed and inferred landscape of Grand Canyon. Results also show that by applying the same integrated approach to the landscape, a majority of respondents are able to reconcile stratigraphic time with the horizontal ToT timeline. To gain deeper insight into the cognitive skills activated to correctly understand geologic principles the researcher used Dodick and Orion's application of Montangero's (1996) diachronic thinking model to code responses into three schemes: (1) transformation, (2) temporal organization, and (3) interstage linkage. Results show that correct responses required activation of the temporal organization scheme or the more advanced interstage linkage scheme. Appropriate application of these results can help inform the development of future outdoor interpretive geoscience exhibits.

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Date Created
2011

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Understanding the role of academic language on conceptual understanding in an introductory materials science and engineering course

Description

Students may use the technical engineering terms without knowing what these words mean. This creates a language barrier in engineering that influences student learning. Previous research has been conducted to characterize the difference between colloquial and scientific language. Since this

Students may use the technical engineering terms without knowing what these words mean. This creates a language barrier in engineering that influences student learning. Previous research has been conducted to characterize the difference between colloquial and scientific language. Since this research had not yet been applied explicitly to engineering, conclusions from the area of science education were used instead. Various researchers outlined strategies for helping students acquire scientific language. However, few examined and quantified the relationship it had on student learning. A systemic functional linguistics framework was adopted for this dissertation which is a framework that has not previously been used in engineering education research. This study investigated how engineering language proficiency influenced conceptual understanding of introductory materials science and engineering concepts. To answer the research questions about engineering language proficiency, a convenience sample of forty-one undergraduate students in an introductory materials science and engineering course was used. All data collected was integrated with the course. Measures included the Materials Concept Inventory, a written engineering design task, and group observations. Both systemic functional linguistics and mental models frameworks were utilized to interpret data and guide analysis. A series of regression analyses were conducted to determine if engineering language proficiency predicts group engineering term use, if conceptual understanding predicts group engineering term use, and if conceptual understanding predicts engineering language proficiency. Engineering academic language proficiency was found to be strongly linked to conceptual understanding in the context of introductory materials engineering courses. As the semester progressed, this relationship became even stronger. The more engineering concepts students are expected to learn, the more important it is that they are proficient in engineering language. However, exposure to engineering terms did not influence engineering language proficiency. These results stress the importance of engineering language proficiency for learning, but warn that simply exposing students to engineering terms does not promote engineering language proficiency.

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Date Created
2012

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The attainment of a science degree by African American college students at Arizona State University: an investigation to identify the barriers and affordances

Description

Historically, African American students have been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). If African American students continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, they will not have access to valuable and high-paying sectors of the

Historically, African American students have been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). If African American students continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, they will not have access to valuable and high-paying sectors of the economy. Despite the number of African Americans in these fields being disproportionately low, there are still individuals that persist and complete science degrees. The aim of this study was to investigate African American students who excel in science at Arizona State University and examine the barriers and affordances that they encounter on their journey toward graduation. Qualitative research methods were used to address the research question of the study. My methodology included creating a case study to investigate the experiences of eight African American undergraduate college students at Arizona State University. These four male and four female students were excelling sophomores, juniors, or seniors who were majoring in a science field. Two of the males came from lower socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds, while two of the males were from higher SES backgrounds. The same applied to the four female participants. My research utilized surveys, semistructured interviews, and student observations to collect data that was analyzed and coded to determine common themes and elements that exist between the students. As a result of the data collection opportunities, peer support and financial support were identified as barriers, while, parental support, financial support, peer support, and teacher support were identified as affordances. In analyzing the data, the results indicated that for the student subjects in this study, sex and SES did not have any relationship with the barriers and affordances experienced.

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Date Created
2012

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Differences that make a difference: a study In collaborative learning

Description

Collaborative learning is a common teaching strategy in classrooms across age groups and content areas. It is important to measure and understand the cognitive process involved during collaboration to improve teaching methods involving interactive activities. This research attempted to answer

Collaborative learning is a common teaching strategy in classrooms across age groups and content areas. It is important to measure and understand the cognitive process involved during collaboration to improve teaching methods involving interactive activities. This research attempted to answer the question: why do students learn more in collaborative settings? Using three measurement tools, 142 participants from seven different biology courses at a community college and at a university were tested before and after collaborating about the biological process of natural selection. Three factors were analyzed to measure their effect on learning at the individual level and the group level. The three factors were: difference in prior knowledge, sex and religious beliefs. Gender and religious beliefs both had a significant effect on post-test scores.

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Agent

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Date Created
2012

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Interactive-constructive-active-passive: the relative effectiveness of differentiated activities on students' learning

Description

From the instructional perspective, the scope of "active learning" in the literature is very broad and includes all sorts of classroom activities that engage students with the learning experience. However, classifying all classroom activities as a mode of "active learning"

From the instructional perspective, the scope of "active learning" in the literature is very broad and includes all sorts of classroom activities that engage students with the learning experience. However, classifying all classroom activities as a mode of "active learning" simply ignores the unique cognitive processes associated with the type of activity. The lack of an extensive framework and taxonomy regarding the relative effectiveness of these "active" activities makes it difficult to compare and contrast the value of conditions in different studies in terms of student learning. Recently, Chi (2009) proposed a framework of differentiated overt learning activities (DOLA) as active, constructive, and interactive based on their underlying cognitive principles and their effectiveness on students' learning outcomes. The motivating question behind this framework is whether some types of engagement affect learning outcomes more than the others. This work evaluated the effectiveness and applicability of the DOLA framework to learning activities for STEM classes. After classification of overt learning activities as being active, constructive or interactive, I then tested the ICAP hypothesis, which states that student learning is more effective in interactive activities than constructive activities, which are more effective than active activities, which are more effective than passive activities. I conducted two studies (Study 1 and Study 2) to determine how and to what degree differentiated activities affected students' learning outcomes. For both studies, I measured students' knowledge of materials science and engineering concepts. Results for Study 1 showed that students scored higher on all post-class quiz questions after participating in interactive and constructive activities than after the active activities. However, student scores on more difficult, inference questions suggested that interactive activities provided significantly deeper learning than either constructive or active activities. Results for Study 2 showed that students' learning, in terms of gain scores, increased systematically from passive to active to constructive to interactive, as predicted by ICAP. All the increases, from condition to condition, were significant. Verbal analysis of the students' dialogue in interactive condition indicated a strong correlation between the co-construction of knowledge and learning gains. When the statements and responses of each student build upon those of the other, both students benefit from the collaboration. Also, the linear combination of discourse moves was significantly related to the adjusted gain scores with a very high correlation coefficient. Specifically, the elaborate type discourse moves were positively correlated with learning outcomes; whereas the accept type moves were negatively correlated with learning outcomes. Analyses of authentic activities in a STEM classroom showed that they fit within the taxonomy of the DOLA framework. The results of the two studies provided evidence to support the predictions of the ICAP hypothesis.

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Agent

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Date Created
2012