ERIC Number: ED413169
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Feb-16
Reference Count: N/A
Scientific Reasoning in School Contexts.
Vellom, R. Paul; Anderson, Charles W.; Palincsar, Annemarie S.
This study investigates the fate of claims made by middle school science students working in collaborative groups in a multicultural urban classroom and the concomitant effects on engagement and understanding. Given problems of a complex and open-ended nature in a learning community setting, students were challenged to establish group positions and to explain these positions to the classroom community. In the negotiation and collective validation processes that ensued, consensus as the basis of acceptability was held as the standard. Individual claims often became the claims of groups of students as the class worked together to separate data from "noise". The study shows how groups of students and individuals within groups came to understand a number of science concepts relating to the kinetic molecular theory and how their understanding related to the ongoing bargaining process surrounding roles within each group. The researchers noted that students who were active in a wide range of group negotiations tended to develop deeper and more meaningful understandings of concepts, while less active students displayed a more limited understanding characterized by their ritualized use of scientific language. Student working groups each established its own unique patterns of interaction which often served the social aims of some group members. In general, collaborative activities appeared to best serve students who were already academically successful. (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A