This work have many names in school context, e.g.: experiments, investigations, observations, analyzing, tests, research, demonstrate, simulate, explore, re- examine etc. What is practical and investigating work?
Millar* categories and classifies practical and investigative work, as he describes this kind of work as activities, where the student has to use: a method for observation or a measurement instrument or an other kind of instrument or a lab-arrangement or a lab-procedure or Demonstrate an object Make or build something or Tell about an object Produce a materiel or stuff Make something happen Observe an object Collect data from an measurement instrument *Millar (1999)
Many find practical work motivating and giving good learning. It seems to play a major role in science teaching. Up till 50 % of the time is spend with practical work in Denmark. Totzki (2000) How much practical work in science?
Some reasons to spend a lot of the time in science classes on practical work in lab, seems to be tradition explain Jenkins. It is not because of pedagogical conviction. Jenkins (1999) Why practical work?
All these practical work seems to be inflated by the ”learning by doing-movement”, curriculum strategies in the 60’ and 70’. The students must work as reel ”scientists” and be acquainted to ”the scientific method”. Theory and practice must alternate.
The aims for the activity is not clear for anyone. Even if the teacher seems to have high expectations and claims, the purpose of the activity is not explicit told or written accordingly to the aims that might be. The student is doing and doing without knowing why and what to learn or experience. The children are seldom given the freedom independently to plan an experiment or research. They are given a prescription or recipe to follow step by step The students possibility for independent planning or practical use of instruments is depending of their theoretical knowledge Common problems with dealing to practical work:
De data, som eleverne ifølge den ofte foreskrevne planlægning har indsamlet og det deraf følgende resultat, bliver kun sjældent underkastet en ræsonnerende vurdering og diskussion. Evaluering af det praktiske arbejde sker ikke på baggrund af specifikke mål relaterede kriterier. Det erkendelsesteoretiske grundlag for det eksperimentelle arbejde er uklart, idet der kun sjældent bliver redegjort for teorigrundlaget for det enkelte eksperiment og spurgt efter de forventninger, eleverne måtte have til eksperimentets udførelse og resultat. De ræsonnementer, som fører til et eksperiment eller en undersøgelse, bliver sjældent gennemført
Natur/teknik or science in Denmark We teach science to children from the age of 6 until the age of 12 or 13. We teach science for 6 years. The next three years science is divided into physics an chemistry, biology and geography. The main themes are: The surroundings close to you The surroundings further away The human being in interaction with nature Ways of working and thinking in science
Description of natur/teknik, science in Denmark: The knowledge and skills the students ought to gain through the science education are more precisely described through several aims, called: Fælles Mål or aims for all. The main purpose is: To make the student wonder and use his imagination and curiosity to experience, investigate, read, think and make experiments To understand and experience how science knowledge appears as an interplay between peoples observations, investigations, reading, thinking and experiments To develop the students language, use of scientific conceptions and develop their skills to argue, evaluate and reflect.
In part to in the main aim for the subject it says: The students observations and experiments shall contribute in the process to build up the students practical capacity, creativity and ability to co-operate with other people. The education has to maintain and develop the students pleasure in dealing with nature, technology, vital necessities and conditions of life and their inclination to ask questions and explore
Goldbech and Totzki (2005) argue that using practical work in science education is a way to: Present phenomena's Help students to know and use scientific conceptions Learn to use scientific process’ and methods Develop practical skills make bridge between theory and practical work Develop the students capacity to reason and argue.
The purpose and aim for practical work in science has changed, but a resume is here to see: Deduce and see scientific laws and relations Confirm laws and theories Use classical and historical experiments Use theory in practice Learn to use measurement instruments and technical apparatus develop motivation, self-confidence and good working habits. Svein Sjøberg (2004)
A practical assignment can be open or closed in the way of: Problem Procedure or method Result
ProblemprocedureResult dictated / closed open open open dictated / closed open openopen open open openopen openopenopen
Degrees of openness or freedom in way to act: Degrees of opennessProblemprocedureResult 0 dictated / closed 1 Åben 2 openopen 3openopenopen Løfdahl (1987)
Activity? What to do? What is used? Degrees of freedom? To experience See, hear, feel, play, be inflicted by, be common in or do together…. Senses, feelings … many To observe Remark, record, count, describe… Senses, telescope, thermometer or … Varies accordingly to the assignment To investigate Measure, weigh, disassemble, change conditions …. Equipment as balance, graduated glass, tape measure, thermometer, aquarium, tools … Varies accordingly to the assignment To experiment Predict, gain data, vary conditions in the experiment, pronounce hypothesis, verify….. Glass equipment, apparatus of different kind, tools and so on Varies accordingly to the assignment To explore Work with own ideas, plan independently, use and mix several procedures from above Glass equipment, apparatus of different kind suitable to the assignment Many To invent or construct
(Prinds, 1998) Learning place: Educationel scene trainingstudy Activity Sharing knowledge Learning the subject Doing projects Teachers job Intermediary The teacher organize Coach The teacher asks questions ConsultantAdviser Make room for curiosity and open minded thinking Students job Receive knowledge Be an apprentice Student Organization The whole class Individually/groupsIndividually/groups IKT Representation tools Making notes Do simulations DatabaseInternetCommunication
Evaluate the following By using the criteria told By using the criteria told
Make a trap to capture small animals Make a trap to capture small animals
Make a fuse for the “bomb” Make a fuse for the “bomb”
Eksempler på lukkede opgaver Energikonsulenten Examine different kinds of material and their ability to keep the temperature Examine different kinds of material and their ability to keep the temperature Here it is hot water in a glass Here it is hot water in a glass You could use icecubes You could use icecubes
Investigate icebergs. Investigate icebergs. Use an aquarium or tank Use an aquarium or tank Put an “iceberg” into it Put an “iceberg” into it Draw a picture of the iceberg in the tank, measure the level in which the water reaches Draw a picture of the iceberg in the tank, measure the level in which the water reaches Measure the temperature every second minute, don’t take the thermometer up from the water while doing it Measure the temperature every second minute, don’t take the thermometer up from the water while doing it
Eksempler på lukkede opgaver Investigate this paper airplane Investigate this paper airplane Put paper clips in the front of the airplane. Make systematic examinations of the way it now fly. Use first one clips, then two and then … Put paper clips in the front of the airplane. Make systematic examinations of the way it now fly. Use first one clips, then two and then … Collect data as you make your research Collect data as you make your research Make a conclusion Make a conclusion Examine and change the wings. Examine and change the wings. Make flaps in the back of the wing Make flaps in the back of the wing Make experiments with changing the position of the flaps Make experiments with changing the position of the flaps Collect data as you make your research Collect data as you make your research
2 types of open assignments: Work as a scientist Work as an inventor