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Descriptions Definitions Explanations
 

Descriptions Definitions Explanations

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Descriptions Definitions Explanations Descriptions Definitions Explanations Presentation Transcript

  • Say What You Mean! Strategies to Help Students Better Communicate Science Michigan Mathematics and Science Teacher Leadership Collaborative Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Objectives Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Objectives • Recognize some of the common “communication” issues we present to students through written tasks and questioning Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Objectives • Recognize some of the common “communication” issues we present to students through written tasks and questioning • Discuss what constitutes an explanation, a “scientific explanation”, a description, and a definition of a scientific term Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Objectives • Recognize some of the common “communication” issues we present to students through written tasks and questioning • Discuss what constitutes an explanation, a “scientific explanation”, a description, and a definition of a scientific term • Examine possible ways in which the tasks we present students do not align with the understanding we are looking to assess or build Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Objectives • Recognize some of the common “communication” issues we present to students through written tasks and questioning • Discuss what constitutes an explanation, a “scientific explanation”, a description, and a definition of a scientific term • Examine possible ways in which the tasks we present students do not align with the understanding we are looking to assess or build • Provide strategies to support student written work in science Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Say What You Mean... “Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!” (Mad Hatter) “You might just as well say, that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!” (March Hare) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Say What You Mean... “Then you should say what you mean.” (March Hare) “Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!” (Mad Hatter) “You might just as well say, that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!” (March Hare) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Say What You Mean... “Then you should say what you mean.” (March Hare) “I do; at least - at least I mean what I say “Not the same thing a bit! Why, you might just as well say that, ‘I see what I eat’ is the same as ‘I eat what I see’!” (Mad Hatter) “You might just as well say, that ‘I like what I get’ is the same thing as ‘I get what I like’!” (March Hare) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work • Take turns in small groups reviewing the examples of student written work Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work • Take turns in small groups reviewing the examples of student written work • What understandings were shown about the science content of the task? Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work • Take turns in small groups reviewing the examples of student written work • What understandings were shown about the science content of the task? • What MIS-understandings were shown about the science content? Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work • Take turns in small groups reviewing the examples of student written work • What understandings were shown about the science content of the task? • What MIS-understandings were shown about the science content? Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Examining Student Work • Take turns in small groups reviewing the examples of student written work • What understandings were shown about the science content of the task? • What MIS-understandings were shown about the science content? • What MIS-understandings seem to be related to the “communication verb” in the task (i.e. “define”, “explain”, “compare”)? Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 1 Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 1 Categorize all of the objects listed below into 2 or more categories based on their properties. You should explain how you can up with the categories, and explain for EACH OBJECT why you placed it in that category: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 1 Categorize all of the objects listed below into 2 or more categories based on their properties. You should explain how you can up with the categories, and explain for EACH OBJECT why you placed it in that category: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 1 Categorize all of the objects listed below into 2 or more categories based on their properties. You should explain how you can up with the categories, and explain for EACH OBJECT why you placed it in that category: Earth, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Io (one of Jupiter’s satellites), Uranus, and Sirius (a star) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 2 Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 2 Using the list of objects below, generate at least two different categories of objects that these could be divided into. Define each category, and explain why each of the objects would fit the categories you just defined: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 2 Using the list of objects below, generate at least two different categories of objects that these could be divided into. Define each category, and explain why each of the objects would fit the categories you just defined: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 2 Using the list of objects below, generate at least two different categories of objects that these could be divided into. Define each category, and explain why each of the objects would fit the categories you just defined: Earth, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Io (one of Jupiter’s satellites), Uranus, and Sirius (a star) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 3 Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 3 Below are listed several objects - for each, describe at least two things about that object based on what you know about it, and state what “category” each object might fit into based on these: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 3 Below are listed several objects - for each, describe at least two things about that object based on what you know about it, and state what “category” each object might fit into based on these: Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Task 3 Below are listed several objects - for each, describe at least two things about that object based on what you know about it, and state what “category” each object might fit into based on these: Earth, Venus, Saturn, Sun, Moon, Io (one of Jupiter’s satellites), Uranus, and Sirius (a star) Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • A Little Experiment • All had different questions with similar content, but the “verb” changed. • Do we know the difference between the following sets of verbs: • Explain • Classify • Describe • Organize • Define • Compare • List • Contrast • Do our students understand these differences? Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Descriptions • description |diˈskrip sh ən| noun 1 a spoken or written representation or account of a person, object, or event : people who had seen him were able to give a description. • Generally use adjectives to present observable characteristics of the object or phenomena being described. • Provide imagery or other sense-specific concepts to convey a reasonable representation Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Common Problems With Descriptions • Students use examples of a particular object or concept, but don’t actually describe its characteristics • Descriptions are too vague to discern understanding of the concept • Students may use analogies that are not appropriate to the topic or concept • Description is appropriate, but does not then apply this to a more challenging task or problem context to present understanding Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Definitions • definition |ˌdefəˈni sh ən| noun 1 a statement of the exact meaning of a word, esp. in a dictionary. • an exact statement or description of the nature, scope, or meaning of something : our definition of what constitutes poetry. • A description that is so accurate as to uniquely describe that word or concept • A description where the converse statement is true Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • The Definition “Test” The “Inverse” test: If A then B is true If B then A is also true (not so for descriptions or examples) If it is an ATOM, then it is A SMALL PARTICLE If it is A SMALL Small Particles PARTICLE, then it is an Atoms ATOM Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Common Problems with Definitions • Students use examples of a particular object or concept, but don’t actually define it • Definitions are too vague to pass the Inverse test (but may show the limits of the student’s actual understanding) • Students might be able to recite a definition for an object or concept, but do not understand what it means and cannot apply it or restate it in their own language Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Explanations • explanation noun a statement or account that makes something clear : the birth rate is central to any explanation of population trends. a reason or justification given for an action or belief : Freud tried to make sex the explanation for everything | : my application was rejected without explanation. Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • Common Problems with Explanations (in Science Class) • Scientific explanations are different than typical explanations, especially when used to explain a conclusion from investigation • Students don’t recognize the difference between regular and scientific explanation • Students explain a theory or conclusion by restating the observation • Students don’t know how to reason through a conclusion (in written form) • Students don’t understand the concept, but know how to take a test Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • A Structure to Scientific Explanation • Claim • Evidence • Reasoning Wednesday, March 18, 2009
  • The REAL Problem with Descriptions, Definitions, and Explanations • We often don’t teach these things, and assume students know them • We don’t understand them ourselves • We don’t provide structures for kids to better understand these ideas • We often accept oral versions during instruction, but then assess student written explanation • “I’m not a Language Arts teacher” Wednesday, March 18, 2009