Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked


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What is Inquiry-Based Science?

One overarching goal of the mentoring component is to help teachers reflect on their own science teaching. As one teacher said,. This experience really gave me a chance to work alongside the children and begin to observe where they are in terms of their science thinking and exploration. This was very helpful for me in terms of trying to figure out what I am supposed to be doing.

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This tool uses a combination of observation and teacher interviews to examine science teaching across five critical domains: 1 creating a physical environment for inquiry, 2 facilitating direct experiences, 3 promoting use of inquiry skills, 4 planning in-depth science curriculum, and 5 assessing science understanding. Early childhood teachers who participated in FSL displayed strong gains in their ability to present and facilitate authentic inquiry-based science experiences and scored better than comparable teachers who did not have FSL, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The domains from left to right are 1 creating a physical environment for inquiry, 2 facilitating direct experiences, 3 promoting use of inquiry skills, 4 planning in-depth science curriculum, 5 assessing science understanding, and 6 overall. While the research data show one picture of teacher learning, another view is provided by the writing one teacher did for her assignment.

In our reflect conversation, Tyler was able to explore the relationship between air and water, and how they occupy a given space, like a bottle. We used a squeeze bottle and observed what happened when the bottle itself was squeezed. This quote richly portrays this teachers newly developed pedagogical science knowledge.

Science education

However, success with a cohort of 50 does not hold the same challenges as taking a professional development program to scale. Our instructional approach for both children and teachers is unique, and we have depended on instructors who have been a part of our work over the past 10 years.

We have not yet taken on the challenge of recruiting and training new instructors. In addition, recruiting teachers for an intense and demanding intervention can be difficult.

Inquiry Science Learning: Perspectives and Practices 2 - Techniques for Success

Not all teachers or programs are willing to take on an intervention of this intensity. The college credits are appealing to many, but the amount of work is difficult to incorporate into their busy lives. Many early childhood teachers hold second jobs or are trying to gain an AA or BA degree by taking several courses a semester. These circumstances have made scheduling class time and recruiting willing teachers difficult. Finally, there are some limits to what FSL offers. Anecdotal evidence has suggested that many FSL teachers continue to use their new learning after participation in the course, but we have not studied sustainability.

In addition, after all this effort, teachers have learned a limited amount of physical science. These are some of the important questions for future research. Bishop, Beth A. Student conceptions of natural selection and its role in evolution. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 27 5 , Science teaching and environment rating scale.

Successful science education practices: exploring what, why, and how they worked

Unpublished manuscript. Exploring water with young children. Paul, MN: Redleaf Press. Duschl, Richard A. Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K Garet, Michael S. What makes professional development effective?

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Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38 4 , Washington, DC: U. Grigg, Wendy S. Heibert, James. Record the wind speed and direction in your laboratory notebook. Describe the motion of the cylinders and their relation to each other. Place the blue strip of paper at the bottom of the incline. Select one of the cylinders, and adjust the angle of the incline so that the cylinder consistently rolls just to the end of the blue strip. Collections of objects in bags Teachers select objects that have irregular shapes and are made of materials of different densities so that volume and mass are not correlated.

Numbered stones of various colors, shapes, and sizes but small enough to fit into the cylinder. Student organizes the work: 1 observations of the rolling cylinders are sequenced logically, 2 student selects the cylinder with the most predictable motion for Part 2 of the rolling-cylinders task, 3 student records the weights of the objects before attempting to order them in the ordering-by-weight task. Student invents a sophisticated way of collecting, recording, or reporting observations.

Observations are appropriate to the task, complete, accurate, and have some basis in experience or scientific understanding. The student seeks help and does not panic if sand or water is spilled or glassware is broken, but proceeds to clean up, get replacements, and continue the task. Skilled teachers guide students to understand the purposes for their own learning and to formulate self-assessment strategies. Teachers provide students with opportunities to develop their abilities to assess and reflect on their own scientific accomplishments.

This process provides teachers with additional perspectives on student learning, and it deepens each student's. The interactions of teachers and students concerning evaluation criteria helps students understand the expectations for their work, as well as giving them experience in applying standards of scientific practice to their own and others' scientific efforts. The internalization of such standards is critical to student achievement in science.

Involving students in the assessment process does not diminish the responsibilities of the teacher—it increases them. It requires teachers to help students develop skills in self-reflection by building a learning environment where students review each other's work, offer suggestions, and challenge mistakes in investigative processes, faulty reasoning, or poorly supported conclusions. In the science education envisioned by the Standards , teachers of science approach their teaching in a spirit of inquiry—assessing, reflecting on, and learning from their own practice.

They seek to understand which plans, decisions, and actions are effective in helping students and which are not. They ask and answer such questions as: "Why is this content important for this group of students at this stage of their development? Why did I select these particular learning activities? Did I choose good examples? How do the activities tie in with student needs and interests? How do they build on what students already know?

Do they evoke the level of reasoning that I wanted? What evidence of effect on students do I expect? As teachers engage in study and research about their teaching, they gather data from classroom and external assessments of student achievement, from peer observations and supervisory evaluations, and from self-questioning. They use self-reflection and discussion with peers to understand more fully what is happening in the classroom and to explore strategies for improvement. To engage in reflection on teaching, teachers must have a structure that guides and encourages it—a structure that provides opportunities to have formal and informal dialogues about student learning and their science teaching practices in forums with peers and others; opportunities to read and discuss the research literature about science.

Teachers have the obligation to report student achievement data to many individuals and agencies, including the students and their parents, certification agencies, employers, policy makers, and taxpayers. Although reports might include grades, teachers might also prepare profiles of student achievement.

The opportunity that students have had to learn science is also an essential component of reports on student achievement in science understanding and ability. Teachers of science design and manage learning environments that provide students with the time, space, and resources needed for learning science.


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Structure the time available so that students are able to engage in extended investigations. Create a setting for student work that is flexible and supportive of science inquiry. Make the available science tools, materials, media, and technological resources accessible to students.

Time, space, and materials are critical components of an effective science learning environment that promotes sustained inquiry and understanding. Creating an adequate environment for science teaching is a shared responsibility. Teachers lead the way in the design and use of resources, but school administrators, students, parents,. Developing a schedule that allows time for science investigations needs the cooperation of all in the school; acquiring materials requires the appropriation of funds; maintaining scientific equipment is the shared responsibility of students and adults alike; and designing appropriate use of the scientific institutions and resources in the local community requires the participation of the school and those institutions and individuals.

This standard addresses the classroom use of time, space, and resources—the ways in which teachers make decisions about. Building scientific understanding takes time on a daily basis and over the long-term. Schools must restructure schedules so that teachers can use blocks of time, interdisciplinary strategies, and field experiences to give students many opportunities to engage in serious scientific investigation as an integral part of their science learning.

When considering how to structure available time, skilled teachers realize that students need time to try out ideas, to make mistakes, to ponder, and to discuss with one another.

Given a voice in scheduling, teachers plan for adequate blocks of time for students to set up scientific equipment and carry out experiments, to go on field trips, or to reflect and share with each other. Teachers make time for students to work in varied groupings—alone, in pairs, in small groups, as a whole class—and on varied tasks, such as reading, conducting experiments, reflecting, writing, and discussing. The arrangement of available space and furnishings in the classroom or laboratory influences the nature of the learning that takes place.

Teachers of science need regular, adequate space for science.

What is Inquiry-Based Science? | Smithsonian Science Education Center

They plan the use of this space to allow students to work safely in groups of various sizes at various tasks, to maintain their work in progress, and to display their results. Teachers also provide students with the opportunity to contribute their ideas about use of space and furnishings. Safety is a fundamental concern in all experimental science. Teachers of science must know and apply the necessary safety regulations in the storage, use, and care of the materials used by students.

They adhere to safety rules and guidelines that are established by national organizations such as the American Chemical Society and the Occu. Effective science teaching depends on the availability and organization of materials, equipment, media, and technology.

Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked
Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked Successful Science Education Practices: Exploring What, Why and How They Worked

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