ERIC Number: ED409164
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar-28
Reference Count: N/A
The Relationship between Students' Epistemologies and Model-Based Reasoning.
Gobert, Janice; Discenna, Jennifer
Models and modeling are frequently used as instructional tools in science education to convey important information concerning both the explanatory and structural features of topic areas in science. The efficacy of models as such rests almost entirely upon students' ability to conceptualize them as abstracted "representations" of scientific phenomena. This investigation considers the relationship between students' epistemology of scientific models and their success at learning about a complex system, namely plate tectonics. Ninth-grade students were asked to draw diagrams at three specific points in a short text: (1) a static model; (2) a causal/dynamic model of the movement in the layers; and (3) an outcome in the world, i.e., volcanic eruption due to two plates moving away from one another. Students received a posttest to assess different types of knowledge, namely spatial knowledge, causal/dynamic knowledge, and knowledge through inference. Students were also administered an epistemology questionnaire to assess understanding of what a model is. Those who held more sophisticated epistemologies of science were better able to transfer what they had learned in order to reason about other plate tectonics phenomena and more difficult conceptual knowledge involved in the causal mechanisms of plate tectonics. Contains 25 references. (PVD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Academy of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A