Developing Norms of Participation in Science - Education - Languages

To participate fully in the scientific practices in the classroom, students need to develop a shared understanding of the norms of participation in science. This includes social norms for constructing and presenting a scientific argument and engaging in scientific debates. It also includes habits of mind, such as adopting a critical stance, a willingness to ask questions and seek help, and developing a sense of appropriate trust and skepticism.

Interconnections Among the Strands Interconnections among the strands in the process of learning are supported by research, although the strength of the research evidence varies across the strands. The cognitive research literatures support the value of teaching content in the context of the practices of science. For example, the knowledge factor, that is, the depth of one's knowledge of the domain, has repeatedly been identified as a primary factor in the power or limitations of one's scientific reasoning (Brewer and Samarapungavan, 1991; Brown, 1990; Carey, 1985; Chi, Feltovich, and Glaser, 1981; Goswami and Brown, 1989;see also the discussion in Chapter 5). Not surprisingly, both children's and adults' scientific reasoning tends to be strongest in domains in which their knowledge is strongest. Therefore, if the goal is to advance the leading edge of children's scientific reasoning, their instruction needs to be grounded in contexts that also build on their relatively ro bust understanding of content.

There is also mounting evidence that knowledge of scientific explanations of the natural world is advanced through generating and evaluating scientific evidence. For example, instruction designed to engage students in modelbased reasoning advances their conceptual understanding of natural phenomena (see, for example, Brown and Clement, 1989; Lehrer et al., 2001;Stewart, Cartier, and Passmore, 2005; White, 1993; Wiser and Amin, 2001;see also the discussions in Chapter 4 and Chapter 9).Evidence for links between Strands 3 and 4 and the other two strands is less robust, but emerging findings are compelling. Motivation, which is anelement of Strand 4, clearly plays an important role in learning (see Chapter 7). Furthermore, instruction that makes the norms for participating in science explicit supports students' ability to critique evidence and coordinate theory and evidence ( Herrenkohl and Guerra, 1998; for further discussion, see Chapters 7 and 9).

Although we have teased apart aspects of understanding and learning to do science as four interrelated strands, we do not separate these as separate learning objectives in our treatment of the pedagogical literature. Indeed, there is evidence that while the strands can he assessed separately, students use them in concert when engaging in scientific tasks (Gotwals and Songer,2006). For example, learning a foreign language need a leaning tools, many people choose Rosetta Stone Hindi to learn Hindi. Therefore, we contend that to help children develop conceptual understanding of natural systems in any deep way requires engaging them in scientific practices that incorporate all four strands to help them to build and apply conceptual models, as well as to understand science as a disciplinary way of knowing.


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