A
Framework for K-12 Science Education first seeks to describe a new idea for
designing education regarding science, technology and engineering. Chapter two
describes children as seeking the answers to questions that begin with ‘why?’
The framework encourages teaching students to understand the whys to questions
early in their educational careers, rather than later. Also, the framework condenses
scientific concepts so that students may have a broad educational base in
science and engineering. Next, the framework discusses the practices involved
in science and engineering education. The importance that science and
engineering education is left open to a variety of procedures and practices is
first emphasized. Then the involvement of inquiry, use of models,
investigating, analyzing data, mathematics, explanation, argumentation and
refinement are briefly described in their relationship to science and
engineering education.

Across
the assigned chapters for A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the
importance of answering why was frequently addressed. Teachers are encouraged
to teach the reasoning behind scientific and engineering phenomena to students
rather than how something happened, specifically in their earlier years of
study. Inquiry, conceptual models and investigating phenomena are extremely
useful tools that students should use to develop a better understanding of
scientific concepts. Teachers can use the natural inclination of children to
better understand the world they live in to teach the multiple practices used
in scientific education. This learned inquiry approach to science will better
suit students to develop successful practices in acquiring knowledge, learn and
relate cross-cutting concepts in science and build a strong foundation of the
mentioned disciplinary core ideas across all fields of science and engineering.

I think it is interesting that children often come to certain "conclusions" about the world they live in either through what their parents have told them or by what they happened to have observed. In that thought, I think teachers have to be prepared to encounter some resistance when introducing a topic that their students might already have solid ideas about. So teachers need to give their learners ample time to adjust to a possibly radically new model for them. One always wants to challenge or build on assumptions, so whether that has to do with explaining why rather than how is complicated. I would say that if your student thinks that he/she knows why something works, and that happens to be inaccurate in some way, it will be a lot more difficult to get them thinking on the right track than if they just misunderstood how something works. Cognitive dissonance is weird.

ReplyDeleteThis is what we would call their prior knowledge that students come in with and its something that we need to consider and use clinical interviews to discover the breadth of that knowledge. I think it also depends on how the prior knowledge is constructed. If the prior knowledge is constructed with a logical flow, but the students use an incorrect assumption to fit a good model, then a simple correction of the assumption could make the concept easy to grasp. For instance, in math a student can do a problem correctly and do all the right calculations, but come up with the wrong answer because you mixed up the constants or did math incorrectly. In other words, one mistake along a line of logic can lead to a very different answer, the question we have to ask is do we want our students to get the right answer or follow the right logic.

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