Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Designing Learning Environments Across Settings

                Braund and Reiss’ article titled, “Towards a More authentic Science Curriculum: The Contribution of Out-of-Schooling Learning,” sought to give evidence to why informal science education can help scaffold science education. Pairing school learning with experiences outside of school creates validity in student’s science education. The authors wished for students to create a positive relationship with their science education, possibly through outside experiences, so that their will for learning is greater than their will for schooling.
                Quinn and Bell’s article titled, “How Designing, Making and Playing Relate to the Learning Goals of K-12 Science Education,” described that students should engage in work, influence outcomes and contribute ideas to flourish their science education.  The authors seek to influence student participation in group problem-solving, investigation, explanation and argumentation. Also, the authors reference, “A Framework,” throughout to incorporate engineering practices into the classroom. Modeling and evidence-based argumentation is also expressed.

                Both articles used informal science learning as a form of scaffolding for professional science education. Quinn and Bell described that students could develop in initial interest in a topical niche of science while learning science informally. Braun and Reiss described that this increases intrinsic motivation however does not support the mastery of concepts. School science can sometimes be too constructive for students at times; these informal learning opportunities could be a catalyst for some students. However, formal education is where the most of learning occurs. The use of modeling, explaining and arguing was frequently described; these practices should effectively be practiced to develop and maintain an intrinsic motivation for science education, both formally and informally. Learning and more specifically, scientific learning, should never stop, regardless of the venue.


  1. I agree that scientific learning never stops, and that these authors are trying to tell us to encourage that within students. The informal education can boost intrinsic motivation within students, and they would be more interested in a formal education setting to learn more. There, of course, would still have to be a certain amount of autonomy, so the students can explore how they want, and then use modeling, explanation, and argumentation to share what they learned with others int the classroom. I feel that these readings support that science education should have many different venues in which to teach students science and engineering practices. Hopefully, these methods will motivate students who do not lean towards science as much.

  2. I wonder how these outside experiences could be incorporated into a modeling sequence. You could have students spend time working with a phenomena, modeling it and trying to explain it for a day or so, then you could have some kind of out of class experience, field-trip or even homework assignment where students see it in the real world in the midst of the modeling process, and then they come back and revise their model based on their new experience. That could make for a great modeling sequence, and could really challenge students' preconceived models.

  3. It could be cool to have the students influence lessons through field trip suggestions. Giving the students an opportunity to explore their own inquiries and figure out a place where we might be able to go as a class to observe a phenomena or learn more about a topic would be extremely interesting. It would elicit great student contribution and the engagement would certainly be there. It would simply be up to us teachers to make sure that the field trip could and should be approved and figure out how to structure the learning around this field trip. This is kinda what we talked about last week with a class centered around the tweets.


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