Developing Content Knowledge in Students Through Explicit Teaching of the Nature of Science: Influences of Goal Setting and Self-Monitoring

Science & Education (Impact Factor: 0.63). 06/2009; 18(9):1-18. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-009-9219-1


Knowledge about the nature of science has been advocated as an important component of science because it provides a framework
on which the students can incorporate content knowledge. However, little empirical evidence has been provided that links nature
of science knowledge with content knowledge. The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine if both nature of science
knowledge and content knowledge could be increased with an explicit, reflective nature of science intervention utilizing self-regulation
over an implicit group. Results showed that the explicit group significantly outperformed the implicit group on both nature
of science and content knowledge assessments. Students in the explicit group also demonstrated a greater use of detail in
their inquiry work and reported a higher respect for evidence in making conclusions than the implicit group. Implications
suggest that science educators could enhance nature of science instruction using goal setting and self-monitoring of student
work during inquiry lessons.

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Available from: Erin E. Peters-Burton, Jul 16, 2014
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    • "(4) How do you think scientists know the knowledge they gather is as correct as possible? The same technique was used in a prior study, which yielded rich network analysis maps of group epistemology (Peters 2012). Students were given 20–30 min to write their answers silently on the questionnaires during class time. "
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to describe connections among students' views of nature of science in relation to the goals of a curriculum delivered in a unique setting, one where a researcher and two teachers collaborated to develop a course devoted to teaching students about how knowledge is built in science. Students proceeded through a cycle of self-regulated phases, forethought, performance, and self-reflection, during each segment of the curriculum: (a) independent research, (b) knowledge building in the discipline of science, and (c) a citizen science project. Student views were measured at the beginning and end of the course using epistemic network analysis. The pretest map reported student understanding of science as experimentation and indicated three clusters representing the durability of knowledge, empirical evidence, and habits of mind, which were loosely connected and represented knowledge generation as external to personal thinking. The posttest map displayed a broader understanding of scientific endeavors beyond experimentation, a shift toward personal knowledge generation, and indicated a larger number of connections among three more tightly oriented clusters: empirical evidence , habits of mind, and tentativeness. Implications include the potential to build curriculum that purposefully considers reinforcing cycles of learning of the nature of science in different contexts.
    Science & Education 06/2015; DOI:10.1007/s11191-015-9769-3 · 0.63 Impact Factor
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    • "Previous research suggests that reform-based practices including PBL, inquiry, and NOS instruction have the potential to improve student achievement (e.g. Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000; Cleminson, 1990; Peters, 2012; Songer & Linn, 1991; Sterling, 2006; Sterling, Matkins, Frazier, & Logerwell, 2007). Contrary to the findings of those investigations, results of the present study indicated no changes in student achievement between treatment and control 5 th grade teachers' students. "
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    ABSTRACT: This investigation characterized changes in teachers' understanding and classroom implementation of problem-based learning (PBL), nature of science (NOS), inquiry instruction, and their students' achievement following participation in the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) Elementary Science Institute (ESI) professional development (PD). The VISTA ESI was aligned with the characteristics of effective PD. The VISTA ESI was assessed through a cluster randomized controlled trials (RCT) design. Treatment teachers (n=199) attended 4-week summer institute with sustained follow-up and coaching throughout the academic year, while control teachers (n=143) received no PD or support. Data included pre-/post-/year-end Perceptions surveys, post-summer institute/year-end interviews, classroom observations, and state student achievement scores. Data were analyzed using multiple methods approach that included systematic data analysis, inferential statistics, and constant comparative approaches. Results indicated the majority of teachers expressed either partially or fully aligned understandings of PBL, inquiry, and NOS instruction following the VISTA ESI. Further analysis of classroom observations indicated the PD improved teachers' implementation of PBL, inquiry, and NOS into their classroom instruction compared to control teachers. Most teachers expressed high levels of satisfaction with the main components of the VISTA ESI; the situated nature of the PD appeared to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the experience. Evaluation of the impact of the VISTA ESI on grade 5 science standards of learning test scaled scores did not reveal a statistically significant difference between treatment and control conditions; however, a comparison of students in the disability subgroup yielded differences. Treatment students with disabilities scored higher than control teachers' students with disabilities when evaluated using a slightly liberal alpha level, t(86.49) = 1.94, p = .056, favored treatment teachers' students by an average of 11.52 points. The results of this study have the potential to inform PD supporting in-service elementary educators' implementation of reform-based science practices.
    National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Chicago, IL; 04/2015
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    ABSTRACT: This paper refers to the development of a teaching innovation for the nature of science (NOS), for students aged 11–15, which specifically focuses on the interrelationship between science and technology. The development of the teaching and learning materials relied on inputs from three sources: the history and philosophy of science and technology, existing knowledge concerning the teaching and learning about the NOS, empirical data on students’ initial ideas and difficulties about this topic. The first served to provide an account for the various forms of interaction between science and technology, which, in turn, guided the formulation of epistemologically coherent learning objectives. The second provided the pedagogical grounds on which to base the design of the activities. The third facilitated the design of activities that build on students’ productive initial ideas, while providing them with guidance to resolve the difficulties they tend to encounter. In this paper, we describe the rationale underlying the teaching and learning materials and we describe the activity sequence they embody.
    Science & Education 10/2011; 20(10):981-1005. DOI:10.1007/s11191-010-9332-1 · 0.63 Impact Factor
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