Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Week 3

In his article, “Engaging Students in Scientific Practices of Explanation and Argumentation,” Reiser addresses the Framework for K-12 Science Education, which focuses on using what students already know about the content area to shape their future learning and make it meaningful.  To achieve this meaning, the framework looks at the “sensemaking” parts of science and how students can use explanation, through argumentation, to “link scientific theory with scientific observations or phenomena” in everyday life and to understand the linkage between cause and effect. Reiser stresses not only the importance of practicing explanation and argumentation and their interdependence but also the importance of collaboration among peers to help compare and critique individual explanations and help evaluate and refine them through evidence-based argument to reach a consensus explanation.   Through this framework, students not only build up their own knowledge within the discipline but also understand why they partake in these practices of investigations, experiment, evaluation, and revision to refine their own knowledge base and that of their peers.  To see theses practices in play and the various ways that students “make sense” of this science, the researchers presented four case studies of student modeling. 
The Sampson and Gleim article focused on the Argument Driven Inquiry approach, a similar approach, which emphasizes collaborative explanation and argumentation along with the incorporation of other subjects, such as reading and writing.  Included within this article are the 8-steps of ADI, including the beginning identification of a scientific phenomena, collaborative work of forming refining explanations through argumentation, and final student reflection.  According to the researchers, by collaborating and making each other’s explanations and arguments visible, students look at their own reasoning and way of knowing to revise their argument and help lead to a consensus. 

Major themes:
·      The importance of argumentation and explanation within the learning of science, their interdependence, and their use to make science more engaging.
·      The importance of collaboration in fostering this development of scientific knowledge and the need for peers in helping critique and reconstruct consensus explanations.
·      Making science meaningful and applicable for students is critical for student success, participation, and interest in the sciences
·      Classroom environment is key for success-create an environment where students will not be afraid to come up with faulty explanations, not just the “right” one and “the intimidation factor” as Sampson states does not become an issue. (468)

I really liked theses readings because they gave specific examples of lesson plans that were very easy to follow along to.  For me, these lesson plans are very comparable to the History of Science assignments and thus were extremely helpful in gauging and developing my own definition of modeling and what that entails.  Also, these articles gave be a clearer picture as to how modeling incorporates content knowledge and development of skills into an effective classroom instruction in a timely manner, a problem that we touched upon, or had concerns about, last week.  However, I am still concerned about the balance between inference, which vary from student to student based on their own experiences and factual knowledge to both foster higher level thinking and asking those “why” questions as Reiser stated and also keeping up with the standards.  An article I just read by Russ and Sherin for my practicum class helped slightly enlighten this because they discussed how teachers can use interviews to learn about the range of their students’ ideas coming into the classroom, in a timely manner.  Within in these short interviews between the instructor and one student, the teacher would pose a beginning thoughtful question, probe student responses with guided questions and seed new ways of thinking through asking students about similar situations.  This way, teachers can understand where each of their students is coming from, have a general idea of where the discussion will go and be prepared to answer certain questions and foster a productive and efficient classroom discussion.

1 comment:

  1. I found the way the article broke down how long certain stages would take to complete to be very helpful too. It gave me a better understanding of how the concepts we have been learning can be used in a classroom in a timely manner. You said you are still concerned with the balance between inference and factual knowledge as they both foster higher-level thinking and asking “why” questions, while also keeping up with the standards. I would comment that inferences used to try to help answer the “why” questions would stem not solely from individuals’ experiences, but also from the evidence they collect by analyzing and interpreting data. Then using the factual knowledge they hopefully have gained from class or somewhere prior, the students can infer what might be a plausible idea to answer the “why” question. Then peer interaction can help revise and or critique that idea, to come up with an idea that answers the question more effectively. I agree keeping up with the standards might be pretty challenging, but maybe using good scaffolding or influential guiding questions can help make sure the discussion continues on the right path? The idea of teachers conducting interviews to learn about the range of their students’ ideas coming into the classroom seems very interesting. What would the other students be doing during these individual interviews? Would these interviews be for every new topic of the class? Like once every new unit? I would be interested in seeing how effective an approach like this would be; do you happen to know the title of the article?


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