NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED552622
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 299
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-8861-4
Making Meaning of Scientific Practices: Exploring the Pathways and Variations of Classrooms Engaging in Science Practices
Ko, Mon-Lin Monica
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northwestern University
A focus of reforms in standards, learning environments, teacher preparation programs and professional development is to support teachers' and students' engagement with scientific practices such as argumentation, modeling and generating explanations for real-world phenomena (NRC, 2011). Engaging in these practices in authentic ways requires that students be positioned at the center of conducting investigations and making sense of their findings through knowledge building discourse. Thus, scientific practices seek to support the science learning as an integration of social processes, epistemic practices and the development of rich disciplinary ideas of science. This approach to science learning may present substantial challenges for teachers and students as they bring scientific practices into their classroom. In this dissertation, I investigate variations in how classrooms take up scientific practices and how these variations may relate to the development of disciplinary ideas. In the context of a set of lessons that focus on modeling and explanation, I followed four 6th grade teachers as they enacted the same lessons, tracing differences in how each class "motivated" and "made sense" of investigations to construct evidence-based explanations. I argue that although classrooms engage with the same set of phenomena and investigations, resources and activities take different meanings to teachers and students, due to variations in how they are enacted in the classroom. While all classrooms managed to connect investigations to raising questions about phenomena, they differed in how connected the performance of investigations was to the ongoing attempt to build and revise explanatory models. Thus, in some classrooms there was appeared to be a more coherent practice of developing, testing and revising models to explain phenomena, in which investigations were connected as a means to further that model building practice. My findings underscore the importance of understanding how to scaffold important sensemaking discussions for students as they argue, reason and critique candidate ideas to understand the "purpose of scientific investigations and ways of generating inferences and explanations" from their investigations. This study presents a framework for ways that scientific practices become meaningful for students, and implications for how we support both teachers' and students' engagement with these practices. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A