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Paper Presentation at the 2010 NARST International Conference in Philadelphia, PA

Paper Presentation at the 2010 NARST International Conference in Philadelphia, PA

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  • Problem: It is challenging for students to understand the connections between the processes of science and the scientific content found in their textbooks. Students have difficulty understanding that what scientists do (experimentation) leads to the development of scientific knowledge. Purpose of the Study: To better understand how such connections are developed in the classroom through the use of writing in science, specifically the writing of a formal laboratory investigation report. Such understanding leads to the development of scientific literacy skills, including: scientific reasoning and critical thinking skills. These are lifelong skills that benefit individuals well beyond the science classroom into adulthood. A Possible Approach: Choose a scaffold that can be used to facilitate connections between scientific content and process. A scaffold that will guide students through an inquiry-based lab experience (one that approximates the processes of doing science) A scaffold that will also guide students through the writing of a formal laboratory investigation report (where connections between process and content can be communicated) Why inquiry? Research has shown inquiry’s ability to develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills In inquiry, students can develop their own questions, design experiments, analyze and interpret data, and form conclusions—all the processes that scientists actually do Thus, students are approximating the work of actual scientists, and this will teach students process skills as they form conclusions; new knowledge is then generated and connections can be made Inquiry is meant to guide students toward self-direction with independent thinking The advantages of inquiry are great
  • Scaffolds Temporary frameworks that support students engaged in problem-solving activities Inquiry is not easy to teach or perform, so a scaffold is needed to facilitate both teaching and learning during an inquiry-based lab activity Generic Scaffolds Have a fixed structure, but can be used for a variety of inquiry-based labs, regardless of content covered Powerful, as they show students that certain ways of thinking can be applied to many different situations in science This study will use a generic scaffold: Gowin’s vee-map.
  • Layout: Consists of two interacting sides: a knowing (conceptual) side and a doing (methodological) side—the use of the terms “knowing” and “doing” is an adaptation that the researcher made in order to create a scaffold that was appropriate for the age and abilities of the students in this study. Scientific (Focus) Question: located at the center of the vee, connecting the two sides together and helping students focus on the purpose of the experiment/inquiry activity Procedure (Events): located at the bottom of the vee, serve as the foundation that supports the actions of the students throughout the activity. Vee is cyclical: questions  knowledge  doing  new questions, and so on… Vee maps are FLEXIBLE: can be adapted to suit a variety of abilities and age groups; can be used for a variety of labs, regardless of science content Vee-map is a generic scaffold Vee-map connects process and content, for its overall layout develops process skills, and the experiments itself raises new questions and generates new knowledge **Vee-maps provide students with a succinct summary of the entire inquiry experience, that can then be used as a reference during the writing process.
  • In this study, inquiry will be the “hands-on” portion of the lesson, and writing will be the “minds-on” component This study will focus on developing students’ ability to communicate understanding of connections between process and content in writing, specifically a laboratory investigation report This study embraces the knowledge transforming model of science writing , where students use writing as a medium through which to develop a deeper understanding of the discipline, and students are allowed the opportunity to write as scientists do. Research shows… Students need structured support to undertake science writing tasks Scaffolds can effectively encourage the development of science writing skills, as well as science literacy, in the classroom Example: the Science Writing Heuristic, developed by Hand and Keyes from Gowin’s vee-map: used to help middle-schoolers write concluding paragraphs and reflect on an inquiry experience We know less about… Whether a single scaffold can be used for a duel purpose: to scaffold the inquiry portion of a lesson (the “hands-on component”, as well as the writing portion of the lesson (the “minds-on” component) Whether a scaffold can be used to help students to develop connections between the process and content of science, as evidenced through their writing Whether multiple uses of a scaffold will encourage further development of connections over time
  • SDDS Framework: Integrates both the process of doing science (i.e. experimental design and evidence evaluation skills) and the products of science, (i.e. knowledge acquisition) into one model Combines domain-general strategies (scientific process and reasoning skills) with domain-specific knowledge (scientific concepts) Practical for teachers: It serves to link and integrate the process and products of science, this making connections more obvious to students It allows teachers to make connections by combining domain-general strategies with domain-specific knowledge The vee-map embodies the SDDS framework in its very structure: SDDS separates scientific reasoning into three cognitive processes, which are directly located on the vee-map: The hypothesis space search  translates into the knowing side of the vee-map The experiment space  translates into the procedure or events at the base of the vee The evidence evaluation  located on the doing side of the vee-map The scaffold used in this study and this framework complement each other very well, thus the framework served to effectively organize the thoughts of the researchers throughout the study.
  • The study attempted to help students make connections between scientific process and concepts skills while engaged in a very important and ubiquitous scientific skill: writing a formal laboratory investigation report. This study takes a very central activity in which most high school science students are engaged and uses the vee-map to add a new dimension to a very common activity, thus making it more valuable and more effective at promoting scientific reasoning skills.
  • Location: Research conducted at an all-girls private Catholic 7-12 school in Ohio. Participants: 50 female participants, separated into three regular freshman-level biology classes (a required course) Duration of study: One semester All three groups participated in three inquiry-based lab experiences and wrote three laboratory investigation reports over the course of one semester. The groups differed in the frequency of their use of the vee-map: Group 1: “All Vee-Maps: -- the vee-map was used during all three inquiry experiences. Group 2: “Limited Vee-Maps” – the vee-map was only required during the first inquiry experience Group 3: “No Vee-Maps” – the vee-map was not introduced or used during the study Description of the three inquiry experiences: Testing the rate of osmosis in living cells using potatoes and salt. Determining the rate of photosynthesis using Elodea. Simulating natural selection using various seeds and “beak” tools These above concepts were chosen because they fit within the second semester curriculum, they lent themselves easily to inquiry experiences, they are all central concepts in biology, and they all required relatively cheap materials that are easy to obtain. Instruments: Rubrics: used to score both the vee-maps and the laboratory investigation reports; they were designed based on a Scientific Reasoning Skills Rubric found on-line and developed by Blue Ridge Community College in Tennessee. Rubrics allowed researchers to be fair and keep the proper goals in mind while scoring the students’ work Rubrics were general—one could be used to score all vee-maps, and a similar rubric could be used to score all laboratory reports Surveys: open-ended questions, given at the end of the study, anonymous Main purposes: to ascertain the responses of students to the vee-mapping technique, and to measure whether students felt that this new scaffold was helpful to them as a student of science (metacognitive questions)
  • These figures show part of the rubrics that were used to score the vee-maps and laboratory reports—note that the two rubrics used are very similar, and they both looked for very similar qualities in the map and the report. Rubrics were used to rate students’ ability to: Understand and apply scientific process skills by: asking scientific questions, developing testable hypotheses, designing an experiment with clearly defined variables and a control, recording data clearly and concisely, and forming conclusions based on data collected (shown in GREEN on the above rubrics) Understand and apply scientific concepts by: making connections between scientific concepts, using scientific knowledge to justify hypotheses, and basing conclusions on accurate scientific concepts (shown in YELLOW on the above rubrics) Process and concept scores, though included on one rubric, can be distinguished within the rubrics (as they have been above with color-coding) and scored separately for comparative purposes.
  • ANOVA showed that the process and concept scores for laboratory investigation report #1 were statistically similar for all three groups. ANOVA showed that the three groups’ means scores diverged significantly over the course of the study, with the “All Vee-Maps” scores improving the most (see figure above). Specifically, ANOVA confirmed that for report #2, there was a significant difference found between process scores but not for concept scores. However, for report three, there was a significant difference for both process and concept scores. Clearly, the report scores diverged more as the study progressed, though all groups showed improvement of scores over the course of the study. Survey: For the survey, responses were first categorized as either positive or negative, then the nature of the comments were categorized and tallied. “ All Vee-Maps” were more negative toward vee-maps, and disliked them more than the “Limited Vee Maps” group. However, “All Vee-Maps” also mentioned more frequently than the other group that they saw the vee-map as a good organizational tool, that it helped them make connections, and that they would use the vee-map in the future. (Remember, the questions were open-ended, so all words used above were students’ own words).
  • T-tests showed significant differences between process and concept scores within each group for the first two inquiry activities, but not for the third. There is a lag in concept scores for the first two activities, but that lag becomes less pronounced over time (see above figure). Students seemed to find it very challenging to choose the appropriate concepts from the class and connect these concepts to what they were actually doing in the inquiry activity. This was much more challenging than understanding the process skills of the inquiry activity.
  • Vee-map and writing scores correlated a majority of the time, and became stronger for “All Vee-Maps” over time. Vee-map scores for almost always higher than report scores, suggesti9ng that vee-maps were leading or pulling up report scores. EXCEPTION: Lab report #3 for “All Vee-Maps”—report score mean was higher than the vee-map mean; researchers noticed more incomplete vee-maps which led to lower scores, yet the report quality was superior to previous labs. This suggests that students were relying less heavily on vee-maps to write quality lab reports The purpose a scaffold is to provide guidance until it is no longer needed Three repetitions for this particular group seemed to bring this group to a level of confidence that they no longer needed to complete the vee-maps to write the lab reports.
  • For students: Inquiry-based activities benefited all students in the study, regardless of whether a scaffold was in use or not Vee-maps helped help students to benefit to a greater degree and make better developed connections between process and concepts in science The vee-maps helped students understand how they learn in science (metacognition), as well as how to communicate their learning through writing For teachers and administrators: Students need time and repetition to develop science reasoning skills Vee-maps can serve to support both teachers through the process of teaching inquiry as well as students through the process of performing inquiry by providing a framework for thought throughout the process. Vee-maps, due to their inherent flexibility and versatility, can be used in a variety of ways: They can be adapted for a variety of grade levels and they can be modified as a student’s thought processes grow and mature over time They can be used to support inquiry in many difference science disciplines and activities This flexibility could make vee-maps useful tools throughout a K-12 science curriculum For researchers: Vee-maps flexibility also means that it could be modified over time to serve as a tool for long-term learning progression---more research would need to be done to support this idea.
  • This alternative scaffold, proposed by the authors, illustrates even more clearly for students that every aspect of the process skills that are needed in an inquiry-based experiment are connected to the scientific concepts. The concepts are at the center, and are constantly influencing and being influenced by scientific processes. In this scaffold, students would build a concept map based on prior knowledge once they begin, and then adjust/add to their map as they plan and execute their experiment. The concepts form a foundation that not only supports scientific processes, but is also modified by them.

NARST Presentation NARST Presentation Presentation Transcript

  • THINKING LIKE A SCIENTIST: USING VEE-MAPS TO CONNECT SCIENTIFIC PROCESS WITH SCIENTIFIC CONCEPTS Christine M. Knaggs Rebecca M. Schneider The University of Toledo
  • CONNECTING PROCESS AND CONTENT
    • Problem : Students have difficulty connecting the content of science to the processes of doing science, and communicating their understanding through writing.
    • Purpose of study : To better understand how such connections are developed in the classroom through the use of writing in science.
      • Connecting process and content is crucial (NRC, 2006), but difficult. (Kahle, Meece, & Scantlebury, 2000; McNeill, Lizotte, Krajcik, & Marx, 2006).
    • A possible approach in to develop a scaffold can be used to link scientific content to process (Eick, Meadows, & Balkcom, 2005; Land & Ge, 2004; McNeill et al., 2006, Novak, 1990; Schneider, Krajcik, Marx, & Soloway, 2002)
  • USING SCAFFOLDS IN SCIENCE
    • Inquiry-based lab approaches are key to developing scientific reasoning skills (NRC, 2006).
      • A tool or scaffold is needed to facilitate both teaching and learning during an inquiry-based lab activity (Jeanpierre, Oberhauser, & Freeman, 2005).
      • In this study, a generic scaffold will be used to facilitate several inquiry-based lab experiences in the classroom
      • Gowin’s vee-map is a scaffold that embodies the SDDS framework (Novak & Gowin, 1984)
  • GOWIN’S VEE-MAP
  • WRITING IN SCIENCE
    • This study focuses on developing students’ ability to explain their understanding of connections in science in writing.
    • Research shows that students need structured support to undertake science writing tasks
    • Research shows that scaffolds can effectively encourage the development of science writing skills in the classroom (Yore, 2003)
      • We know less about how tools can help students develop connections in science as evidenced through their writing over time and with multiple uses of a scaffold
  • LINKING CONTENT AND PROCESS
    • To organize our thinking, the authors used the Scientific Discovery as Duel Search (SDDS) framework (Klahr & Dunbar, 1988; Zimmerman, 2000).
      • One model that integrates the process of doing science (experimental design and evidence evaluation) and the concepts of science
      • One model that combines domain-general strategies (scientific process and reasoning skills) with domain-specific knowledge (scientific concepts)
  • RESEARCH QUESTIONS
    • In what ways do scaffolds help students connect scientific process skills with scientific concepts while writing about science?
    • What is the effect of repeated use of a scaffold on the development of these connections in their writing?
  • METHODS
    • 50 female participants in three freshman-level biology classes at an all-girls Catholic school
      • Class #1: “All Vee-Maps” (used maps three times)
      • Class #2: “Limited Vee-Maps” (used maps once)
      • Class #3: “No Vee-Maps” (did not use maps)
    • Three inquiry-based laboratory investigations completed in all groups over one semester:
      • Osmosis Lab using potatoes and salt
      • Photosynthesis Lab using elodea
      • Natural Selection Simulation Lab
    • Instruments used
      • Rubrics: adapted from a Scientific Reasoning Skills Rubric at Blue Ridge Community College in Tennessee
      • Survey: open-ended questions to ascertain student responses to using vee-maps
  • METHODS: THE RUBRICS Process skills are shown in green , and concept understanding skills are shown in yellow .
  • METHODS: THE RUBRICS
    • Rubrics were used to rate students’ ability to:
      • Understand and apply scientific process skills by: asking scientific questions, developing testable hypotheses, designing an experiment with clearly defined variables and a control, recording data clearly and concisely, and forming conclusions based on data collected
      • Understand and apply scientific concepts by: making connections between scientific concepts, using scientific knowledge to justify hypotheses, and basing conclusions on accurate scientific concepts
    • Process and concept scores, though included on one rubric, can be distinguished within the rubrics (as they have been with color-coding) and scored separately for comparative purposes. Likewise, the rubrics are similar to one another, thus vee-map and lab report scores were also compared.
  • FINDINGS:
    • Process and concept scores for laboratory investigation #1 similar across groups.
    • Differences between the three groups’ report scores became greater over time, with the “All Vee-Map” group making the most improvement over the course of the study
    • Survey– students in “All Vee-Maps” reported disliking vee-maps more often than the other group, but they also reported that vee-maps were a good organizational tool, helped them make connections, and they would use them in the future more frequently than the other group
    A comparison of report #3 scores for all three groups
  • FINDINGS:
    • There was a significant lag in concept scores as compared with process scores for all three groups
    • This lag decreased over time for all three groups.
    A comparison of process and concept scores for report 1 for all three groups
  • FINDINGS:
    • Vee-map and writing scores correlated a majority of the time, and became stronger for the “All Vee-Maps” group over time
    • Vee-map scores tended to be higher than writing scores, suggesting that vee-maps are pulling up the writing scores
      • Exception: Vee-map #3 scores were lower than writing report #3 scores for “All Vee-Maps”
    A comparison of vee-map and report scores for “All Vee-Maps ”
  • IMPLICATIONS
    • For students: Vee-maps not only help students to make connections between content and process in science, but also help them to understand how they learn (metacognition), and their ability to communicate their learning through writing
    • For teachers and administrators:
      • Vee-maps can be supportive tools for teachers as they guide students through inquiry-based lab experiences
      • Vee-maps and related scaffolds could be used to develop more effective K-12 science curriculum
    • For researchers:
      • The vee-map as a long-term learning progression tool—more research is needed
  • THE CIRCLE HEURISTIC: AN ALTERNATIVE TOOL TO THE VEE-MAP The central location of the concepts stresses that they provide a foundation for and can be modified by the experimental process.
  • REFERENCES
    • Eick, C., Meadows, L., & Balkcom, R. (2005). Breaking into inquiry. The Science Teacher , 72(7), 49-53.
    • Ge, X., & Land, S.M. (2004). A conceptual framework for scaffolding ill-structured problem-solving processes using question prompts and peer interactions. Educational Technology Research Development , 52(2). 5-22.
    • Jeanpierre, B., Oberauser, K., & Freeman, C. (2005). Characteristics of professional development that effect change in secondary science teachers classroom practices. Journal of Research in Science Teaching , 42(6), 668-690.
    • Kahle, J.B., Meece, J., & Scantlebury, K. (2000). Urban African-American middle school science students: Does standards-based teaching make a difference. Journal of Research in Science Teaching , 37(9), 1019-1041.
    • McNeill, K.L., Lizotte, D.J., Krajcik, J., & Marx, R.W. (2006). Supporting students construction of scientific explanations by fading scaffolds in instructional materials. The Journal of the Learning Sciences , 15(2), 153-191.
    • Novak, J. D., & Gowin, B. D. (1984). Learning how to Learn . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Schneider, R.M., Krajcik, J., Marx, R.W., & Soloway, E. (2002). Performance of students in project-based science classrooms on a national measure of science achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39 (5), 410-422.
    • Yore, L. D. (2003). Examining the literary component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25 (6), 689-725.
  • REFERENCES
    • Klahr, D. & Dunbar, K. (1988). Dual space search during scientific reasoning. Cognitive Science, 12, 1-55.
    • McNeill, K.L., Lizotte, D.J., Krajcik, J., & Marx, R.W. (2006). Supporting students construction of scientific explanations by fading scaffolds in instructional materials. The Journal of the Learning Sciences , 15(2), 153-191.
    • Novak, J. D., & Gowin, B. D. (1984). Learning how to Learn . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Schneider, R.M., Krajcik, J., Marx, R.W., & Soloway, E. (2002). Performance of students in project-based science classrooms on a national measure of science achievement. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39 (5), 410-422.
    • Yore, L. D. (2003). Examining the literary component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25 (6), 689-725.