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Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia July 11, 2007 Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia.

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Presentation on theme: "Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia July 11, 2007 Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia."— Presentation transcript:

1 Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia July 11, 2007 Taking Science to School National Forum on Education Policy Philadelphia July 11, 2007

2 Providing a Solid Foundation for STEM Education: K-12 Richard A. Duschl Graduate School Education & Center for Cognitive Sciences Rutgers University ***** Chair, NRC Report Taking Science to School

3 Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Snow, Burns & Griffin (1998) How People Learn. Bransford, Brown, & Cocking (1999) Knowing what students know. Pellegrino, Chudowsky & Glaser (2001) Adding it all up. Kilpatrick, Swafford, & Findell (2001) How students learn history, mathematics and science in the classroom. Donovan & Bransford (2005) America’s lab report: Investigations in HS Science. Singer, Hilton & Schweingruber (2006) Recent NRC Reports

4 Committee Members Richard Duschl (Chair) Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Charles “Andy” Anderson Michigan State University Kevin Crowley University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh Tom Corcoran University of Pennsylvania University of Pennsylvania Frank Keil Yale University Yale University David Klahr Carnegie Mellon University Carnegie Mellon University Daniel Levin Montgomery Blair High School Montgomery Blair High School Okhee Lee University of Miami University of Miami Kathleen Metz University of California, Berkeley University of California, Berkeley Helen Quinn Stanford Linear Accelerator Center Stanford Linear Accelerator Center Brian Reiser Northwestern University Northwestern University Deborah Roberts Montgomery County Public Schools Montgomery County Public Schools Leona Schauble Vanderbilt University Vanderbilt University Carol Smith University of Massachusetts, Boston University of Massachusetts, Boston

5 Report on-line BOSE Website

6 Committee Charge What does research on learning, culling from a variety of research fields, suggest about how science is learned? What, if any, are “critical stages” in children’s development of scientific concepts? Where might connections between lines of research need to be made?

7 What Is Science? Science involves: –Building theories and models –Collecting and analyzing data from observations or experiments –Constructing arguments –Using specialized ways of talking, writing and representing phenomena Science is a social phenomena with unique norms for participation in a community of peers

8 Scientific Proficiency: The Four Strands Students who understand science: 1. Know, use and interpret scientific explanations of the natural world. 2. Generate and evaluate scientific evidence and explanations. 3. Understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge. 4. Participate productively in scientific practices and discourse.

9 Important Ideas in the Strands The four strands are interwoven in learning. Advances in one strand support advances in the others. The strands emphasize the idea of “knowledge in use” – that is students’ knowledge is not static and proficiency involves deploying knowledge and skills across all four strands. The strands emphasize the idea of “knowledge in use” – that is students’ knowledge is not static and proficiency involves deploying knowledge and skills across all four strands. Students are more likely to advance in their understanding of science when classrooms provide learning opportunities that attend to all four strands.

10 Know, Use & Interpret Scientific Explanations Children entering school already have substantial knowledge of the natural world much of it implicit. Young children are NOT concrete and simplistic thinkers. Children entering school already have substantial knowledge of the natural world much of it implicit. Young children are NOT concrete and simplistic thinkers. Children can use a wide range of reasoning processes that form the underpinnings of scientific thinking Teaching science should not separate content from processes, skills & practices

11 Generate and Evaluate Scientific Evidence & Explanations Begin science units with socially relevant scientific ‘driving questions’ that then promote students’ own questions Engage in the scientific practices of observation, measurement, finding patterns, representing and communicating results Students seek empirical evidence and coherence with other established explanations/facts to support new claims

12 Understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge Transitioning ‘what counts’ as evidence from using senses “seeing is believing” to using scientific theories to drive observations “reasoning is believing” Conduct experiments for reasons and reason about experiments Models of nature stand between experiments and scientific theories

13 Participate Productively in Scientific Practices & Discourse Constructing arguments Talking, writing, representing scientific ideas, data, evidence, information, models, scientific theories Responding to criticism Considering alternatives Reflecting on/evaluating own and others knowledge claims

14 Tensions with current practice Science argument is rare in classrooms but central to science; teaching focuses on recall rather than model-based reasoning Classroom norms (teacher, textbooks provide answers) in tension with building scientific models from evidence Curricula and standards “mile wide, inch deep” (TIMMS) Variation in standards works against coherent learning progression; marketplace realities lead to modularity.

15 Children’s Knowledge of the Natural World Some areas of knowledge may provide more robust foundations to build on than others. –Physical mechanics - size, shape, weight, –Biology - animate/inanimate –Matter and substance - properties and attributes –Naïve psychology (theory of mind) - beliefs of others may be different from your own These appear very early and appear to have some universal characteristics across cultures throughout the world.

16 Children’s Reasoning Can think in sophisticated, abstract ways –Distinguish living from non-living –Identify causes of events –Know that people’s beliefs are not an exact representation of the external world Reasoning is constrained by: –Conceptual knowledge –Nature of the task –Awareness of their own thinking (metacognition)

17 Prior knowledge and “misconceptions” Children’s understandings of the world sometimes contradict scientific explanations. These often described as alternative or misconceptions to be overcome. Students’ prior knowledge also offers leverage points that can be built on to advance students’ science learning. Emphasis on eradicating misconceptions can cause us to overlook the knowledge they bring; e.g., productive intuitions for reasoning and knowing.

18 Summary Young children are more competent than we think. They can think abstractly early on and do NOT go through universal, well defined stages. Focusing on misconceptions can cause us to overlook leverage points for learning. Developing rich, conceptual knowledge takes time and requires instructional support. Conceptual knowledge, scientific reasoning, understanding how scientific knowledge is produced, and participating in science are intimately intertwined in the doing of science.

19 Conclusion: Sustained exploration of core set of scientific ideas is promising approach Many existing curricula, standards and assessments in the US contain too many disconnected topics given equal priority. Need more attention to how students’ understanding of core ideas can be supported and enhanced from grade to grade. Core ideas/knowledge should be central to a discipline of science, accessible to students in kindergarten, and have potential for sustained exploration across K-8.

20 NAEP 2009 Science Framework Identifying scientific principles (30%) Using scientific principles (35%) Using scientific inquiry (25%) Using technological design (10%) % = portion of exam

21 National Science Education Standards Content Domains Big Cs Life Science Physical Science Earth/Space Science Inquiry Little Cs Unifying Principles & Themes Science & Technology Science in Personal & Social Contexts Nature of Science

22 NAEP 2009 Science Framework A learning progression is a sequence of successively more complex ways of reasoning with/about a set of ideas. Big Ideas/Core Knowledge Scientific Practices

23 Pathways & Progressions as Historical Steps Rochel Gelman & Kim Brennenman - Pathsways for Learning -PreK –Observe –Predict what’s inside –Measure –Record, Draw, Label, Write Lehrer & Schauble 5th-8th grades –Variation –Distribution –Growth Mechanisms –Adaptive Selection –Evolution

24 NRC (2006) Systems for State Science Assessments In response to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Systems for State Science Assessment explores the ideas and tools that are needed to assess science learning at the state level. This book provides a detailed examination of K-12 science assessment: looking specifically at what should be measured and how to measure it.

25 Sustained exploration: Learning Progressions Findings from research about children’s learning and development can be used to map learning progressions in science. Steps in the progressions are constrained by children’s knowledge and skill with respect to the four strands. Learning progressions –Revisit with increasing depth –Bring together 4 strands (building, knowing and applying scientific ideas) vs. separate content and process (content-free skills) learning goals

26 Engaging learners in scientific practice: Project-based Inquiry IQWST: Investigating and Questioning Our World Through Science and Technology (6th grade bio) Driving question: How do we stop a biological invasion? Task: Assist Great Lakes Fishery Commission in designing plan to stop the sea lamprey invasion. –Form/function; food webs; predator/prey; interdependence of species in ecosystems

27 Conclusion Students require support to engage in the practices of science, including their social interactions, learning the discourse of science, and working with representations

28 Recommendations for Policy, Practice and Research

29 Standards, Curricula, and Assessment: What to Teach and When Revise standards, curricula and assessment to reflect new understanding of children’s thinking. Next generation of standards and curricula should be structured to identify a few core ideas in a discipline and how these ideas can be grown in a cumulative manner over grades K-8. Developers of curricula and standards need to present science as a process of building theories and models using evidence, checking them for internal consistency and coherence, and testing them empirically.

30 Instruction: How to Teach Science instruction should provide opportunities for students to engage in all four strands. Policy makers, education leaders, and administrators need to ensure adequate time and resources are provided; teachers have adequate knowledge of science content; and adequate professional development is provided. State and local leaders in education should provide teachers with models of classroom instruction that incorporate the four strands.

31 Professional Development: Supporting Effective Science Instruction State and local school systems should ensure that all K- 8 teachers experience science-specific professional development in preparation and while in service. University-based courses for teacher candidates and teachers’ ongoing opportunities to learn science in service should mirror the opportunities they will need to provide for their students. Federal agencies that fund providers of professional development should design funding programs that require applicants to incorporate models of instruction that combine the four strands, focus on core ideas in science, and enhance teachers’ knowledge.


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