Students' Prior Knowledge (student + prior_knowledge)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Preservice elementary teachers' views of their students' prior knowledge of science

Valerie K. Otero
Abstract Pre-service teachers face many challenges as they learn to teach in ways that are different from their own educational experiences. Pre-service teachers often enter teacher education courses with pre-conceptions about teaching and learning that may or may not be consistent with contemporary learning theory. To build on preservice teachers' prior knowledge, we need to identify the types of views they have when entering teacher education courses and the views they develop throughout these courses. The study reported here focuses specifically on preservice teachers' views of their own students' prior knowledge and the implications these views have on their understanding of the formative assessment process. Sixty-one preservice teachers were studied from three sections of a science methods course. Results indicate that preservice teachers exhibited a limited number of views about students' prior knowledge. These views tended to privilege either academic or experience-based concepts for different aspects of formative assessment, in contrast to contemporary perspectives on teaching for understanding. Rather than considering these views as misconceptions, it is argued that it is more useful to consider them as resources for further development of a more flexible concept of formative assessment. Four common views are discussed in detail and applied to science teacher education. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 45: 497,523, 2008 [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]

Exploring the use of multiple analogical models when teaching and learning chemical equilibrium

Allan G. Harrison
This study describes the multiple analogical models used to introduce and teach Grade 12 chemical equilibrium. We examine the teacher's reasons for using models, explain each model's development during the lessons, and analyze the understandings students derived from the models. A case study approach was used and the data were drawn from the observation of three consecutive Grade 12 lessons on chemical equilibrium, pre- and post-lesson interviews, and delayed student interviews. The key analogical models used in teaching were: the "school dance"; the "sugar in a teacup"; the "pot of curry"; and the "busy highway." The lesson and interview data were subject to multiple, independent analyses and yielded the following outcomes: The teacher planned to use the students' prior knowledge wherever possible and he responded to student questions with stories and extended and enriched analogies. He planned to discuss where each analogy broke down but did not. The students enjoyed the teaching but built variable mental models of equilibrium and some of their analogical mappings were unreliable. A female student disliked masculine analogies, other students tended to see elements of the multiple models in isolation, and some did not recognize all the analogical mappings embedded in the teaching plan. Most students learned that equilibrium reactions are dynamic, occur in closed systems, and the forward and reverse reactions are balanced. We recommend the use of multiple analogies like these and insist that teachers always show where the analogy breaks down and carefully negotiate the conceptual outcomes. 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 42: 1135,1159, 2005 [source]

Paternity testing in a PBL environment

Alberto Vicario Casla
Abstract Problem Based Learning (PBL) makes use of real-life scenarios to stimulate students' prior knowledge and to provide a meaningful context that is also related to the student's future professional work. In this article, Paternity testing is presented using a PBL approach that involves a combination of classroom, laboratory, and out-of-class activities: in relation to a fictitious newborn found on the Campus, students design a PCR based protocol to determine their own genotype for two markers. Pooled class genotypes serve to calculate allelic frequencies and to assess Hardy,Weinberg equilibrium. Individual results are also evaluated for possible paternity. The goals of the activity and how each step in the process relates to learning outcomes are presented. Classroom discussions, group discussions, tutorial sessions, wiki sites, laboratory activities, and individual reports sum up the situations, in which the students' process of learning and learning outcomes can be evaluated. [source]