Science Classrooms (science + classroom)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Anti-Colonialist Antinomies in a Biology Lesson: A Sonata-Form Case Study of Cultural Conflict in a Science Classroom

Paokong John Chang
This case study illustrates and analyzes the tension an ESL science teacher encountered when his science curriculum came into conflict with the religious and cosmological beliefs of one of his Hmong immigrant students. A Hmong immigrant himself, the teacher believes the science he is teaching is important for all his students to learn. He also understands how his science curriculum can be one part of an array of cultural forces that are adversely affecting the Hmong community. The case study examines this tension, but does not resolve it. Instead, the study explores the knowledge the teacher draws upon to respond to the tension in a caring and constructive manner. This knowledge includes the teacher's understanding of science and pedagogy. It also includes his understanding of Hmong history, which enables him to hear what his science curriculum means to one of his students. The case study concludes that teachers need some knowledge of the history of students' specific cultural groups in order to teach science well to all students. This case study was one of seven produced by the Fresno Science Education Equity Teacher Research Project. It uses a special format, a "sonata-form case study," to highlight tensions between specific curricular imperatives and meeting broader student needs. The study is based on real experiences, and employs composite characters and fictionalized dialogue to make its conceptual point. A theoretical preface explaining the methods of research and the modes of representation used in the Fresno Project is included. [source]

Teaching glycoproteins with a classical paper: Knowledge and methods in the course of an exciting discovery

-subunit, The story of discovering HK-ATPASE
Abstract To integrate research into the teaching of glycoproteins, the story of discovering hydrogen-potassium ATPase (HK-ATPase) , subunit is presented in a way covering all the important teaching points. The interaction between the HK-ATPase , subunit and a glycoprotein of 60,80 kDa was demonstrated to support the existence of the , subunit. On revealing the strategies and experimental designs of this discovery, the knowledge of glycoproteins is delivered. The purpose of this effort was to facilitate the teaching of scientific thinking in the science classroom, to make the biochemistry classroom a more interesting place, and to attract uncertain minds into the career of biochemistry research. [source]

Drama activities as ideational resources for primary-grade children in urban science classrooms

Maria Varelas
Abstract In this study we explored how dramatic enactments of scientific phenomena and concepts mediate children's learning of scientific meanings along material, social, and representational dimensions. These drama activities were part of two integrated science-literacy units, Matter and Forest, which we developed and implemented in six urban primary-school (grades 1st,3rd) classrooms. We examine and discuss the possibilities and challenges that arise as children and teachers engaged in scientific knowing through such experiences. We use Halliday's (1978. Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press) three metafunctions of communicative activity,ideational, interpersonal, and textual,to map out the place of the multimodal drama genre in elementary urban school science classrooms of young children. As the children talked, moved, gestured, and positioned themselves in space, they constructed and shared meanings with their peers and their teachers as they enacted their roles. Through their bodies they negotiated ambiguity and re-articulated understandings, thus marking this embodied meaning making as a powerful way to engage with science. Furthermore, children's whole bodies became central, explicit tools used to accomplish the goal of representing this imaginary scientific world, as their teachers helped them differentiate it from the real world of the model they were enacting. Their bodies operated on multiple mediated levels: as material objects that moved through space, as social objects that negotiated classroom relationships and rules, and as metaphorical entities that stood for water molecules in different states of matter or for plants, animals, or non-living entities in a forest food web. Children simultaneously negotiated meanings across all of these levels, and in doing so, acted out improvisational drama as they thought and talked science. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47: 302,325, 2010 [source]

Learning from and responding to students' questions: The authoritative and dialogic tension

Orlando G. Aguiar
Abstract In this study we present an analysis of classroom interactions initiated by students' wonderment questions. Our interest in such events arises from their potential to stimulate active intellectual engagement in classrooms, which can impact upon the subsequent development of the classroom discourse. In investigating this issue we shall address the following research question: How do student questions impact upon the teaching explanatory structure and modify the form of the ongoing classroom discourse, in selected science lessons? From data collected in a Brazilian secondary school we have selected three classroom episodes, with large differences in both the context in which the student's question emerges and in the communicative approach developed in response to it. The analysis, based on the framework proposed by Mortimer and Scott [Mortimer and Scott (2003). Meaning making in secondary science classrooms. Maidenhead: Open University Press], shows that questions made by students are important in providing feedback from students to the teacher, enabling adjustments to the teaching explanatory structure. These adjustments sometimes occur smoothly, at other times with major changes to the features of the classroom discourse, and elsewhere with misunderstanding and disagreement. The data also suggest the need to consider students' intentions and their active participation in the negotiation of both the content and structure of classroom discourse. 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 47:174,193, 2010 [source]

Student interest generated during an inquiry skills lesson

David H. Palmer
Abstract "Situational interest" is a short-term form of motivation which occurs when a specific situation stimulates the focused attention of students (e.g., a spectacular science demonstration could arouse transient interest amongst nearly all the students in a class, even those who are not normally interested in science). However, there have been very few studies of situational interest and its potential to motivate students in science classrooms. The purpose of this project was to investigate situational interest and its sources. Small groups of grade 9 students participated in a science lesson which focused on inquiry skills, and data were obtained on their interest levels and sources of interest. The results indicated that interest arousal was substantial but did fluctuate throughout the lesson, according to the types of activities in which students were involved. The main source of interest was novelty, although choice, physical activity, and social involvement were also implicated. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 46: 147,165, 2009 [source]

Contextualizing instruction: Leveraging students' prior knowledge and experiences to foster understanding of middle school science

Ann E. Rivet
Abstract Contextualizing science instruction involves utilizing students' prior knowledge and everyday experiences as a catalyst for understanding challenging science concepts. This study of two middle school science classrooms examined how students utilized the contextualizing aspects of project-based instruction and its relationship to their science learning. Observations of focus students' participation during instruction were described in terms of a contextualizing score for their use of the project features to support their learning. Pre/posttests were administered and students' final artifacts were collected and evaluated. The results of these assessments were compared with students' contextualizing scores, demonstrating a strong positive correlation between them. These findings provide evidence to support claims of contextualizing instruction as a means to facilitate student learning, and point toward future consideration of this instructional method in broader research studies and the design of science learning environments. 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 79,100, 2008 [source]

Measuring instructional congruence in elementary science classrooms: Pedagogical and methodological components of a theoretical framework

Aurolyn Luykx
This article is situated within a theoretical framework, instructional congruence, articulating issues of student diversity with the demands of academic disciplines. In the context of a large-scale study targeting elementary school science, the article describes a research instrument that aims to combine the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to classroom data. The project-developed classroom observation guideline is a series of detailed scales that produce numerical ratings based on qualitative observations of different aspects of classroom practice. The article's objectives are both pedagogical and methodological, reflecting the dual functionality of the instrument: (a) to concretize theoretical constructs articulating academic disciplines with student diversity in ways that are useful for rethinking classroom practice; and (b) to take advantage of the strengths of qualitative educational research, but within a quantitative analytical framework that may be applied across large numbers of classrooms. 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 424,447, 2007 [source]

Exploring teachers' informal formative assessment practices and students' understanding in the context of scientific inquiry

Maria Araceli Ruiz-Primo
This study explores teachers' informal formative assessment practices in three middle school science classrooms. We present a model for examining these practices based on three components of formative assessment (eliciting, recognizing, and using information) and the three domains linked to scientific inquiry (epistemic frameworks, conceptual structures, and social processes). We describe the informal assessment practices as ESRU cycles,the teacher Elicits a question; the Student responds; the teacher Recognizes the student's response; and then Uses the information collected to support student learning. By tracking the strategies teachers used in terms of ESRU cycles, we were able to capture differences in assessment practices across the three teachers during the implementation of four investigations of a physical science unit on buoyancy. Furthermore, based on information collected in a three-question embedded assessment administered to assess students' learning, we linked students' level of performance to the teachers' informal assessment practices. We found that the teacher who more frequently used complete ESRU cycles had students with higher performance on the embedded assessment as compared with the other two teachers. We conclude that the ESRU model is a useful way of capturing differences in teachers' informal assessment practices. Furthermore, the study suggests that effective informal formative assessment practices may be associated with student learning in scientific inquiry classrooms. 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach [source]

Socioscience and ethics in science classrooms: Teacher perspectives and strategies

Troy D. Sadler
This study explored teacher perspectives on the use of socioscientific issues (SSI) and on dealing with ethics in the context of science instruction. Twenty-two middle and high school science teachers from three US states participated in semi-structured interviews, and researchers employed inductive analyses to explore emergent patterns relative to the following two questions. (1) How do science teachers conceptualize the place of ethics in science and science education? (2) How do science teachers handle topics with ethical implications and expression of their own values in their classrooms? Profiles were developed to capture the views and reported practices, relative to the place of ethics in science and science classrooms, of participants. Profile A comprising teachers who embraced the notion of infusing science curricula with SSI and cited examples of using controversial topics in their classes. Profile B participants supported SSI curricula in theory but reported significant constraints which prohibited them from actualizing these goals. Profile C described teachers who were non-committal with respect to focusing instruction on SSI and ethics. Profile D was based on the position that science and science education should be value-free. Profile E transcended the question of ethics in science education; these teachers felt very strongly that all education should contribute to their students' ethical development. Participants also expressed a wide range of perspectives regarding the expression of their own values in the classroom. Implications of this research for science education are discussed. 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 43: 353,376, 2006 [source]

Globalisation and science education: Rethinking science education reforms

Lyn Carter
Like Lemke (J Res Sci Teach 38:296,316, 2001), I believe that science education has not looked enough at the impact of the changing theoretical and global landscape by which it is produced and shaped. Lemke makes a sound argument for science education to look beyond its own discourses toward those like cultural studies and politics, and to which I would add globalisation theory and relevant educational studies. Hence, in this study I draw together a range of investigations to argue that globalisation is indeed implicated in the discourses of science education, even if it remains underacknowledged and undertheorized. Establishing this relationship is important because it provides different frames of reference from which to investigate many of science education's current concerns, including those new forces that now have a direct impact on science classrooms. For example, one important question to investigate is the degree to which current science education improvement discourses are the consequences of quality research into science teaching and learning, or represent national and local responses to global economic restructuring and the imperatives of the supranational institutions that are largely beyond the control of science education. Developing globalisation as a theoretical construct to help formulate new questions and methods to examine these questions can provide science education with opportunities to expand the conceptual and analytical frameworks of much of its present and future scholarship. 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc. [source]

Discursive identity: Assimilation into the culture of science and its implications for minority students

Bryan A. Brown
This study examined how, in some instances, participation in the cultural practices of high school science classrooms created intrapersonal conflict for ethnic minority students. Discourse analysis of videotaped science classroom activities, lectures, and laboratories was the primary methodology employed for analyzing students' discursive identity development. This analysis demonstrated differential appropriation of science discourse as four significant domains of discursive identities emerged: Opposition status, Maintenance status, Incorporation status, and Proficiency status. Students characterized as Opposition Status avoided use of science discourse. Students who exhibited Maintenance Status illustrated a commitment to maintaining their normative discourse behavior, despite a demonstrated ability to appropriate science discourse. Students characterized as Incorporation Status made active attempts to incorporate science discourse into their normative speech patterns, while Proficiency Status students demonstrated a fluency in applying scientific discursive. Implications for science education emerging from the study include the illumination of the need to make the use of specific scientific discourse an explicit component of classroom curriculum. 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 41: 810,834, 2004 [source]

Performance of students in project-based science classrooms on a national measure of science achievement

Rebecca M. Schneider
Reform efforts in science education emphasize the importance of supporting students' construction of knowledge through inquiry. Project-based science (PBS) is an ambitious approach to science instruction that addresses concerns of reformers. A sample of 142 10th- and 11th-grade students enrolled in a PBS program completed the 12th-grade 1996 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test. Compared with subgroups identified by NAEP that most closely matched our student sample, White and middle class, PBS students outscored the national sample on 44% of NAEP test items. This study shows that students participating in a PBS curriculum were prepared for this type of testing. Educators should be encouraged to use inquiry-based approaches such as PBS to implement reform in their schools. 2002 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 39: 410,422, 2002 [source]

Investing in the renewal of urban science teaching

Michael S. Knapp
This article provides a conceptual framework for understanding what is involved in improving urban science teaching and what might be implied by conducting research on its improvement. It is argued in this article that three sets of forces and conditions have a direct impact on urban science classrooms: first, the array of interdependent policies at school, district, and state levels about science teaching in particular and about education improvement more broadly construed; next, the investment and use of instructionally relevant resources at each of the three levels and their differing impacts on the renewal of urban science teaching; and finally, the broader context in which urban science teaching occurs mediating how these resources are,or can be,used. Mediating factors include the professional peer community, subject-specific instructional leadership, the professional development infrastructure, the supply of available science teachers, and the broader community context. The article concludes with suggestions for how this framework informs directions for future research on the promise and limits of efforts to renew science teaching in urban settings. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 1089,1100, 2001 [source]

The black,white "achievement gap" as a perennial challenge of urban science education: A sociocultural and historical overview with implications for research and practice,

Obed Norman
A perennial challenge for urban education in the United States is finding effective ways to address the academic achievement gap between African American and White students. There is widespread and justified concern about the persistence of this achievement gap. In fact, historical evidence suggests that this achievement gap has existed at various times for groups other than African Americans. What conditions prevailed when this achievement gap existed for these other groups? Conversely, under what conditions did the gap diminish and eventually disappear for these groups? This article explores how sociocultural factors involved in the manifestation and eventual disappearance of the gap for these groups may shed some light on how to address the achievement gap for African American students in urban science classrooms. Our conclusion is that the sociocultural position of groups is crucial to understanding and interpreting the scholastic performance of students from various backgrounds. We argue for a research framework and the exploration of research questions incorporating insights from Ogbu's cultural, ecological theory, as well as goal theory, and identity theory. We present these as theories that essentially focus on student responses to societal disparities. Our ultimate goal is to define the problem more clearly and contribute to the development of research-based classroom practices that will be effective in reducing and eventually eliminating the achievement gap. We identify the many gaps in society and the schools that need to be addressed in order to find effective solutions to the problem of the achievement gap. Finally, we propose that by understanding the genesis of the gap and developing strategies to harness the students' responses to societal disparities, learning can be maximized and the achievement gap can be significantly reduced, if not eliminated entirely, in urban science classrooms. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 1101,1114, 2001 [source]

Learning science through technological design

Wolff-Michael Roth
In the course of a decade of research on learning in technology-centered classrooms, my research group has gained considerable understanding of why and how students learn science by designing technology. In this article I briefly review two dimensions in which science and technology share fundamental similarities: (a) the production and transformation of representations and (b, the action-oriented language describing the two domains. Because it is fundamentally problematic to derive what ought to happen in science classrooms from other dimensions, I provide three episodes to illustrate what and how students know and learn science during technological design activities. Episodes and analyses embody the two dimensions previously outlined. Because these episodes are representative of the database established during an extensive research program, I suggest there is sufficient ground for using and investigating science-through-technology curricula. 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 38: 768,790, 2001 [source]