NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1077312
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1449-6313
Implementing a Context-Based Environmental Science Unit in the Middle Years: Teaching and Learning at the Creek
King, Donna; Ginns, Ian
Teaching Science, v61 n3 p26-36 Sep 2015
Engaging middle school students in science continues to be a challenge in Australian schools. One initiative that has been tried in the senior years but is a more recent development in the middle years is the context-based approach. In this ethnographic study, we researched the teaching and learning transactions that occurred in one ninth grade science class studying a context-based environmental science unit over 11 weeks that included visits to the local creek. Data were derived from field notes, audio and video recorded conversations, interviews, student journals and classroom documents with a particular focus on two selected groups of students. This paper presents two assertions that highlight pedagogical approaches that contributed to learning. Firstly, spontaneous teaching episodes created opportunities for in-the-moment questioning by the teacher that led to students' awareness of environmental issues and the scientific method; secondly, group work using Flip cameras afforded opportunities for students to connect the science concepts with the context. Furthermore, students reported positively about the unit and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to visit the creek frequently. The findings from this study should encourage teachers to take students into the field for valuable teaching and learning experiences that are not available in the formal classroom.
Australian Science Teachers Association. P.O. Box 334, Deakin West, ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-02-6282-9377; Fax: +61-02-6282-9477; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools; Grade 9; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A