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Fall '08

Page history last edited by Luke 14 years, 6 months ago

Science Education Program Seminar Fall '08


September 15:  Dan Levin

September 29:  Stieff Group

October 13:    Discussion of Recent Literature -- Chinn and Samarapungavan chapter on conceptual change

October 27:    David Hammer

November 10:   Kelly Shalk

November 24:   Randy McGinnis/Project Nexus

December 8:    Kitty Tang


--> back to Fall '09 Seminar




Dan Levin

September 15, 2008


A growing body of work suggests that teachers’ everyday attention to the substance of students’ thinking plays an important role in shaping teachers’ instructional moves and supporting students’ science learning (Atkin & Coffey, 2003; Hammer, 1997).  Research reported here is part of a larger study exploring how preservice secondary science teachers learn to attend to the substance of students’ ideas and reasoning through participation in a year-long sequence of science pedagogy courses.  These courses draw candidates’ attention to students’ thinking, initially through examination of published case studies of student learning and, by the end of the year, through candidates’ analyses of their own students’ learning in their field-placements, in their own records of practice.  We report data and findings from the initial pedagogy course. Eleven preservice science teacher candidates participated in discussions around published case studies.  We analyzed transcribed video of these discussions, coding teachers’ comments for whether they concerned student thinking, aspects of the activity, actions of the teacher, or science content.




Mike Steiff's Group

September 29, 2008


Some researchers have suggested that chemical misconceptions that appear throughout chemistry instruction are attributable to levels confusion. That is, students incorrectly apply macroscopic ideas to the molecular world. Here, we present an analysis of a 25-minute classroom discussion regarding chemical and physical changes in a chemistry classroom of a suburban high school. Our analysis reveals that teachers and students reason from distinct levels during the discussion. Despite superficial agreement, the teachers and students maintained their own viewpoints at the conclusion of the discussion.  This result suggests that teachers and students do not necessarily acknowledge each other’s different perspective. We argue that this failure to communicate across levels may contribute to or support levels confusion in students throughout the curriculum.




Kelly Shalk -- A Case Study on an Undergraduate Student Interest Socio-Scientific Issues Based Curriculum Intervention

November 10, 2008


A Case Study on an Undergraduate Student Interest Socio-Scientific Issues Based Curriculum Intervention

One of the major challenges associated with science education today is understanding how to develop science curricula that engage and prepare students to become scientifically literate members of society. Given many of the “Grand Challenges and Great Opportunities” science faces this next quarter century (125 Questions: What don’t we know?, 2005), the goal of empowering society with the skills to critically evaluate information when making decisions that affect their life is more necessary than ever. Consequently, the most recent science education movement has been focused on emergent learning environments that advance students’ curiosity, open-mindedness, and informed skepticism about scientific discoveries.  A socio-scientific issues (SSI) movement has emerged, this last decade, as a promising initiative to achieve these goals.  In general, SSI are complex societal problems scientists are analyzing, such as linking genetic variation to personal health, but have ethical considerations. However, there is a gap in the literature with respect to what is known about SSI treatments on college-aged students and what popular science factors diverse learners are drawn to. This investigation reports the effects of an innovative student interest SSI-based curriculum on a diverse population of undergraduates. Interpretation of the data suggests that a SSI framework, encouraging students to investigate their questions, successfully motivated undergraduates to develop their NOS conceptualizations and ability to evaluate scientific information. I will discuss some of the finding and implications of my dissertation research on November 10th.



Project Nexus Research Team (Principal Investigator, J. Randy McGinnis)

November 24, 2008


In this session, we present data that we are using to assist us in understanding what happened along several dimensions by placing in a voluntary afterschool informal science education program 28 diverse upper elementary/middle school science teacher education majors enrolled in our formal UMD teacher education program. We collected data from a variety of sources, including pre- and post-drawing prompts (“Draw yourself teaching science” and “Draw your learners learning science”). We focus on sharing a selection of the pre-post drawings, our analysis procedure and insights, and the participants’ reaction to our analysis.

For further information on our NSF funded 5-year study, Project Nexus, we invite you to visit our web site (http://projectnexus.umd.edu).

In addition, a reading is attached that is germane to the session (a book chapter by the session presenters accepted for inclusion in the 2nd Edition of the International Handbook of Science Education).



Kitty Tang -- From interaction to interaction

December 8, 2008


From interaction to interaction: Exploring the shared resources constructed through and mediating classroom science learning interactions

The initial idea for this study came from a phenomenon I noticed in previous teacher professional development experience: classrooms differentiated a lot in terms of their affordance of productive inquiry learning, even when students were of the same level and the teachers claimed that they were doing the same learning activity. Employing the lens of a modified activity theory (Engestrom, 1987, 1999), I chose to investigate the activity system of a high school biology classroom over time, exploring how participants of this classroom constructed shared mediational resources relating to learning, and how such resources afford or constrain their productive science learning. Methodologically, I plan to videotape a teacher’s classroom for a whole semester. This would serve as the major data source, which can be triangulated with data from teacher interview, student interview, student work, as well as student epistemology survey administrated at the beginning and end of the semester. Snippets representing repeated interaction patterns would be selected for detailed discourse analysis, through which I aim to 1) identify shared mediational resources; 2) exemplify how they gets constructed through interactions; 3) reveal how they align with changes in discourse patterns and quality of student inquiry. Finally, I discuss the potential significances of this proposed study, especially how it would speak to teacher educators.

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