ERIC Number: EJ1078052
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 32
Fostering Third-Grade Students' Use of Scientific Models with the Water Cycle: Elementary Teachers' Conceptions and Practices
Vo, Tina; Forbes, Cory T.; Zangori, Laura; Schwarz, Christina V.
International Journal of Science Education, v37 n15 p2411-2432 2015
Elementary teachers play a crucial role in supporting and scaffolding students' model-based reasoning about natural phenomena, particularly complex systems such as the water cycle. However, little research exists to inform efforts in supporting elementary teachers' learning to foster model-centered, science learning environments. To address this need, we conducted an exploratory multiple-case study using qualitative research methods to investigate six 3rd-grade teachers' pedagogical reasoning and classroom instruction around modeling practices ("construct," "use," "evaluate", and "revise") and epistemic considerations of scientific modeling ("generality/abstraction," "evidence," "mechanism", and "audience"). Study findings show that all teachers emphasized a subset of modeling practices--"construction" and "use"--and the epistemic consideration of "generality/abstraction". There was observable consistency between teachers' articulated conceptions of scientific modeling and their classroom practices. Results also show a subset of the teachers more strongly emphasized additional epistemic considerations and, as a result, better supported students to use models as sense-making tools as well as representations. These findings provide important evidence for developing elementary teacher supports to scaffold students' engagement in scientific modeling.
Descriptors: Elementary School Science, Elementary School Teachers, Elementary School Students, Grade 3, Science Instruction, Science Process Skills, Water, Models, Case Studies, Science Teachers, Educational Practices, Teaching Methods, Epistemology, Observation, Semi Structured Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: pDRL-1443223