ERIC Number: ED425057
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Activity Structures for Project-Based Teaching and Learning: Design and Adaptation of Cultural Tools.
Polman, Joseph L.
This paper discusses research on activity structure design in a project-based science classroom and efforts to adapt designs from this setting to an after-school program involving historical inquiry. Common activity structures such as classroom lessons and Initiation-Reply-Evaluation (I-R-E) sequences are important cultural tools that help students and teachers accomplish everyday activities but they are not well adapted to open-ended projects. This paper demonstrates how alternative activity structures scaffold children's performance of complex, open-ended projects. For the activity setting of a project-based earth science class, activity structures at two different time scales support students in accomplishing scientific research. On a more long-term scale, a milestone activity structure works by laying out a small set of interim material artifacts that students turn in over a period of weeks, each of which feeds into portions of the artifact that is the final product and milestone--a science research report. On a shorter time scale, the repetition of Bid-Negotiation-Implementation-Evaluation (B-N-I-E) and Question-Clarification many times helps the teacher guide students in their work while requiring that students remain active. For the activity setting of an after-school history-web club, adapting the milestone activity structure across disciplines presents a number of hurdles because it depends on a discipline-specific task analysis, but the B-N-I-E discourse sequence seems generally adaptable to a wide range of inquiry-oriented work. Contains 30 references. (Author/PVD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A