by: Amy V. Gilbert and Katherine E. Johns
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Disciplinary Core Ideas
Disciplinary Core Ideas in Earth and Space Science
Earth & Space Science
Earth and Space Science
ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions
ESS2: Earth's Systems
Science and Engineering Practices
Science as Inquiry
Science process skills
SEP1: Asking Questions and Defining Problems
SEP3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations
SEP4: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
SEP8: Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
Three Dimensions of the Framework and/or NGSS
Type Journal ArticlePub Date 9/1/2014Stock # sc14_052_01_32Volume 052Issue 01
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summary and application about this article
The main content of this article is to discuss how to help students explore the nature of science by studying animals’ tracks. The beginning of the article explains why it is importa... See More
The main content of this article is to discuss how to help students explore the nature of science by studying animals’ tracks. The beginning of the article explains why it is important for students to understand the nature of science. Students can only improve their literacy in science if they understand how the nature of science is formed. At the beginning of learning, students will also be curious about how scientists work. At this time, teachers can lead students to conduct in-depth research on this issue because of their interest. Through the author's research, we can also find that most students already have some basic knowledge about how scientists work, but at the same time, they also have some misunderstandings about this problem. Therefore, teachers should take this as the basis to correct students' misunderstanding and deepen their understanding of the problem. After this investigation, the author told us that it was obvious that students' understanding of NOS had improved significantly, especially that they would use science literacy better when writing about science. Especially here, the author cited some examples, so that we can feel more directly that students' scientific thinking mode has made significant progress. From this, we can conclude that by improving students' understanding of the principle of NOS, students bring significant progress for themselves and improve teachers' teaching experience.
The core point of this article is that it emphasizes students' understanding of NOS, which will help students greatly improve their scientific research ability and academic language related to science. This inspired me that if I was going to teach science in the future, I should introduce students to NOS at the beginning of the course and correct their misconceptions about NOS at the same time. This will be of great help to my future teaching. At the same time, for those of us who study science teaching in kindergarten, letting students learn to use accurate science language at an early age will lay a good foundation for children's future science learning.
Tricky Tracks Redesigned
In this article students are led to discover that not all scientists work the same way. They have many different methods at their disposal. The teachers used “Tricky Tracks” to help studen... See More
In this article students are led to discover that not all scientists work the same way. They have many different methods at their disposal. The teachers used “Tricky Tracks” to help students experience how scientists work and what methods they would use in the example situation. A formative assessment was used at first to help lead students in discussions.
Review for How Do Scientists Work?
Students explored that nature of science by questioning how scientists accomplished work and what elements made a scientist in the article titled “How do scientists work?” This article start... See More
Students explored that nature of science by questioning how scientists accomplished work and what elements made a scientist in the article titled “How do scientists work?” This article started by engaging students with different ways other students would answer a question and asking the students to explain who they most agreed with. Students had to pull from background knowledge and previous experiences to justify their choice. According to Gilbert and Johns (2014), students were then grouped in such a way that there was at least one informed student that was on track to understanding the topic. Then students were provided with an additional task to note the difference between observation and inference. Once a compiled list of attributes that make up observations and inferences was established, students had to apply their thinking to a series of pictures titled Tricky Tracks. Students leveraged their strengths by having different group members complete different tasks within the assignment but all with the same goal in mind. That goal was to deliver an evidence based explanation as to what the pictures were showing. Students ended up with different explanations but all could be considered valid as long as their evidence was sound and based mostly on observation and only some inferences. By the end of the activity students were able to identify that science had been accomplished even with different possible answers because scientists do not always have a key.
This method of exploration learning can be applied to my classroom by using some of the same tasks while elevating others. The students in the article are fourth-grade and I currently teach ninth-twelfth graders. Their background knowledge and experiences could be vastly different than that of a fourth grader. The probing questions are a prime example of what would stay the same but the level of language used to ask the questions may need to be elevated. Additionally, this method of questioning and promoting student discovery can be added to most labs and activities that I am already conducting within the classroom by adding more collaborative groups and tasks that have students explaining the why behind their thoughts. The extra piece of learning and growth comes from having my students use evidence to support their explanations. For example, a lab that is conducted yields observational results that a student can use as evidence to support their explanation as to why a different substance may act similarly or different if exposed to similar conditions. Students can also predict hypotheses for a secondary lab based on the results from a previous lab or lecture. Overall, students can learn and accomplish more when provided with experiences that enhance their understanding of science and develop their ability to provide evidence-based explanations.
Gilbert, A.V., & Johns, K.E. (2014). How do scientists work? Fourth-grade students examine animal tracks to explore the nature of science. Science and Children, 52(1), 32-39.
Interesting ideas, but too simple
In my experience Science and Children usually share complex and tiered science experiments. STEM was engaged, but not to a level that I have found in other articles in this magazine. The s... See More
In my experience Science and Children usually share complex and tiered science experiments. STEM was engaged, but not to a level that I have found in other articles in this magazine. The students are definitely encouraged to higher level thinking, but I wished that the authors had included more follow-up activities.
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