[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Karpicke and Blunt (Reports, 11 February 2011, p. 772) reported that retrieval practice produces greater gains in learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping and concluded that this strategy is a powerful way to promote meaningful learning of complex concepts commonly found in science education. We question their findings on methodological and epistemological grounds.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: William Buckland (1784–1846) first identified and scientifically studied coprolites in the early 1820s. Although some of his contemporaries did not look favorably upon him or his research, Buckland's early experiments advanced paleoecology and taphonomy. Because our informal presentations with coprolites resulted in students' spirited reactions, we investigated whether coprolite introduction, accompanied with its history of science, had potential for meaningful learning in K-12 Earth Science classrooms. Practicing Earth Science teachers (N = 28) enrolled in an online paleontology course researched coprolites, identified potential student interest, and designed coprolite activities for their individual classrooms. Resulting projects were diverse and creative, and incorporated investigations into fossilization processes, paleoenvironments, food chains, and geologic time. In anonymous surveys, teachers indicated that their students' interest in coprolites is high. We propose inclusion of coprolites and their history in Earth Science classrooms as a portal to hook students' interest and as springboard to additional scientific topics.
School Science and Mathematics. 10/2011; 111(6):262 - 273.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Archive-based, historical research of materials produced during the Golden Age of Geology (1788–1840) uncovered scientific
caricatures (SCs) which may serve as a unique form of knowledge representation for students today. SCs played important roles
in the past, stimulating critical inquiry among early geologists and fueling debates that addressed key theoretical issues.
When historical SCs were utilized in a large-enrollment college Earth History course, student response was positive. Therefore,
we offered SCs as an optional assessment tool. Paired t-tests that compared individual students’ performances with the SC option, as well as without the SC option, showed a significant positive difference favoring scientific caricatures (α=0.05). Content analysis of anonymous student survey responses revealed three consistent findings: (a) students enjoyed
expressing science content correctly but creatively through SCs, (b) development of SCs required deeper knowledge integration
and understanding of the content than conventional test items, and (c) students appreciated having SC item options on their
examinations, whether or not they took advantage of them. We think that incorporation of SCs during assessment may effectively
expand the variety of methods for probing understanding, thereby increasing the mode validity of current geoscience tests.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amber is a fossil by itself, and can also contain plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. Some of these perfectly preserved specimens give scientists a convenient window to past environments, including the biology, ecology, geology, and chemistry of Earth's past. By using an interdisciplinary approach, we can demonstrate to students a more accurate representation of the scientific community, which does not work in isolation. (Contains 6 figures.)
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In June 2009, the U.S. Department of Education released a meta-analysis of online learning studies that detailed strong support for online learning. The authors of this report, however, cautioned that online students' increased interaction--as well as differences in curriculum and pedagogy--did not allow a direct comparison between online and traditional classrooms. Moreover, the positive learning benefits of online education examined in this report applied only to K-12 students. Can online education also provide an effective learning environment for teachers? In this article, the authors sought teachers' opinions on whether online classrooms provided opportunities for successful professional development, especially when the online courses were "science" content courses, and the methods for content delivery included active-learning strategies and informal education sites. Using research literature that documented best practices for content delivery, the authors designed their online science classrooms to include the integration of informal environments and assignments that would provide active learning and inquiry-based learning benefits. In their online courses, the authors sought to discover whether science instruction delivered through an online environment could help close the gap in teachers' knowledge of science. Through multiple semesters of their online science courses, the authors' surveys revealed that teachers enjoyed opportunities that (1) transported them beyond the confines of their computer environment; and (2) facilitated relationships with their online colleagues and local communities. From their research and the survey responses, the authors found that teachers are tremendously positive when discussing the value of the online environment for furthering their content knowledge in the subjects they teach.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this research study was to (a) describe how concept mapping can be used as an integral instructional strategy for teaching a college course on evolution, (b) evaluate the utility of incorporating concept mapping in a college course on evolution, (c) determine whether students' concept maps reveal “critical junctures” in learning as the course unfolds, and (d) assess the impact of concept mapping on students' study practices and on students' understanding of course content. Key findings include: (a) Critical junctures in learning evolution can be identified by monitoring the degree of concordance of superordinate concepts appearing on the class set of concept maps submitted after each of the course lectures; (b) students who made concept maps reported spending an average of 37% more study time on this college biology course than on their previous biology courses; and (c) the use of “seed concepts,” “micromapping,” a standard concept map format, and a standard concept map checklist made the strategy feasible for the instructor to implement and for the student to adopt. A concept map performance index formulas was also developed for this research study in order to assess students' overall mapping performance.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching 07/2007; 31(5):459 - 473. · 2.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In his book entitled Restructuring Science Education: The Importance of Theories and Their Development (1990), science educator Richard A. Duschl presented an equiposed triadic model of the growth of scientific knowledge that is based upon the work of philosopher of science, Larry Laudan (1984). Stage 1 of our study tested that model against the research practices of 10 accomplished life scientists employed at a Carnegie Research 1 university, via purposive sampling, a carefully sequenced model-based interview schedule, face-to-face questioning, and propositional analysis of the interview transcripts. In Stage 2, a revised research-based graphic version of Laudan's model was presented to two experts on the nature of science (Drs. Richard Duschl and Nancy Nercessian) during an extended interview. From that interview, further data collection and analysis, and an extensive literature search, our Stage 1 graphic was elaborated. In response to the interview, 5 novice graduate students and 5 advanced graduate students or new Ph.D's of the original 10 life scientists were interviewed, using the same methods, to ascertain if their research perceptions and practices will differ from that of their mentors. Implications for the teaching of biological science were derived from the research findings.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching 08/2006; 32(6):649 - 663. · 2.64 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asteroids Asteroids oh so scary Some are big and some are glary When you see one in the night It could give you quite a fright Flying across the sky so fast It's quite a surprise they really last They killed out dinosaurs in the past It must have been quite a blast They've been known to fly everywhere Day and night here and there Some of them in the asteroid belt If one hit Antarctica it could melt They could hit a truck and kill a duck And kill a bull about to buck Riding one would be quite fun You'd be going faster than a bullet from a gun Camden McCosker, 11 years Australia Poem Neutron, photon, electron and ion Science only turns my brain on. Bugs and animals, plants and trees Give me some biology please. Abstract Because many incoming geoscience students did not acknowledge their previous personal encounters with the earth's geological processes or products, we developed the Geological Sense of Place (GSP) template as a convenient way to assess students' earth science backgrounds through short answer, mini-essay, and induced associative responses. The GSP was administered in introductory earth science courses for elementary education majors (n = 42, n = 56), and in a non-major introductory physical geology course (n = 148) at a large research university in Louisiana (US). Student opinions about the GSP were gathered as part of anonymous electronic surveys at the end of the semester (earth science courses, n = 45, n = 56; physical geology course, n = 134). Students reported that the GSP integrated their past life experiences with geology, and initiated geological thinking. Our research indicates that the GSP provides teachers with a standard method to ascertain students' personal geological knowledge and experiences before instruction begins, and to incorporate these experiences into the classroom. Teachers can determine the impact of instruction on knowledge integration by comparing initial GSP student responses with responses in the post-instruction section of the GSP.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aquarium views, or AqViews, offer a glimpse into a split-phase aquatic system that is not normally afforded to terrestrial
viewers. Although geologist Henry De la Beche created the AqView prototype two decades before the advent of the aquarium,
this graphic type did not become popular until after the Victorian aquarium craze. We investigate the historical development
and construct a comprehensive typology of AqViews that can be used by science teachers. We identify variations on the AqView,
as well as a broader category encompassing non-aquatic systems, the PhaseView. Our research indicates that horizontal, cross-sectional
representation of underwater scenes now appears to be the default position for some textbook authors, artists, and students.
In spite of this, we believe AqViews are currently untapped resources for learning in science classrooms, and offer potential
for enhancing science instruction, assessment, and visual literacy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current science education research reports that students do not embrace an understanding of the nature of science. Furthermore, few curriculum materials emphasize the nature of science. This paper suggests an effective technique for including the nature of science in existing courses. Using Wandersee's story form model, historical vignettes describe brief episodes from the lives of scientists. They are designed to take only about ten minutes of class time, provide content information, and promote examination of the nature of the scientific enterprise by generating discussion. They help students connect the present and past, show the evolution of the ideas they are learning, and make the information more interesting.
School Science and Mathematics. 10/1995; 95(7):365 - 370.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Educational reforms, for the most part, have concentrated on what the student should know in order to be literate in science. How scientists know what they know is often taught to students through carefully directed laboratory experiences. The teaching of the traditional scientific method through cookbook lab activities does not accurately address the complex sociological variables involved in doing actual scientific research. This simplified view of science shortchanges students’ understanding, not only about science, but of science. Students need to be made aware of all the subtle forces affecting scientific research. To achieve this objective we compared an idealized philosophical model of the growth of scientific knowledge with actual research practices of life scientists. Novice and expert life science researchers were interviewed to see if their views corresponded with the model's representation. From the similarities and differences, we developed several instructional models which may be used to compare and contrast idealized and actual life science research practices and can be infused into high school biology curricula. Two interrupted narratives (termed interactive vignettes) based on modern life science research practices are included. Two open‐ended societal laboratory exercises are outlined. Finally, the textbook legend of Darwin's finches is compared with the naturalist's actual papers and journals to highlight the contrast between idealized science and the actual growth of biological knowledge.
International Journal of Science Education 01/1995; 17(6):683-694. · 1.23 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Describes a teaching tool that helps students understand that science is not a fixed body of knowledge but a continuous, dynamic process of human searching for answers often over a very long period of time. Using historical vignettes (short stories), teachers can help students make connections between the past and the present. (ZWH)
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In an online graduate paleontology course taken by practicing Earth Science teachers, we designed an investigation using teachers' local informal educational environments. Teachers (N = 28) were responsible for photographing, describing, and integrating fossil specimens from two informal sites into a paleoenvironmental analysis of the landscape in which the fossils were originally deposited. Our practicing teachers also developed mini-units for their individual classrooms, utilizing the fossils and the informal sites they investigated. Not only did teachers develop a multitude of innovative and effective activities, but they were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about incorporating aspects of local informal sites within their individual classrooms. Content analysis of teachers' anonymous responses revealed three stable findings: 1) The informal sites and local fossils affirmed the importance of the local environment and put it into a larger context, 2) directed student activities within informal sites can maximize learning, and 3) informal sites provide a context for information and can supply an interdisciplinary "big picture" for students. We propose that directed interdisciplinary investigations that incorporate the local environment may enhance science learning at informal education sites. As students, most of us thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to step outside the classroom for a day filled with new places to visit, fun-filled activities, and the obligatory bus ride. After all, this was essentially a day "without school." As science teachers, however, some of us may have hesitated to bring our classrooms to a museum, arboretum, botanical garden, or fossil park. Although a chance to escape the traditional classroom was a positive factor, could students really learn in these informal environments, or did they feel inundated with a multitude of exhibits, often precisely labelled and "caged" within glass displays or behind fenced areas? Similar to traditional classrooms, the quality of informal education can vary across a broad spectrum, with some instructional methods being more effective than others. "One size" in instruction does not necessarily "fit all." Our students' backgrounds are often quite varied, yet important, when planning science lessons. Fortunately, our previous research with the Geological Sense of Place writing template revealed that the local landscape had a strong influence on the majority of our students (Clary & Wandersee, 2006). Students typically indicated that local rock types, landforms, and experiences had the greatest impact in their youth, as opposed to events and products that were highly publicized in textbooks and television documentaries. Therefore, in our Earth Science classrooms, we hypothesized that an integration of fossils within local informal environments, such as museums, national parks, and nature centers, might enhance informal learning opportunities.