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ERIC Number: EJ1152943
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Oct
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0157-244X
Characterizing Students' Attempts to Explain Observations from Practical Work: Intermediate Phases of Understanding
Mestad, Idar; Kolstø, Stein Dankert
Research in Science Education, v47 n5 p943-964 Oct 2017
This study aims to characterize a group of students' preliminary oral explanations of a scientific phenomenon produced as part of their learning process. The students were encouraged to use their own wordings to test out their own interpretation of observations when conducting practical activities. They presented their explanations orally in the whole class after having discussed and written down an explanation in a small group. The data consists of transcribed video recordings of the presented explanations, observation notes, and interviews. A genre perspective was used to characterize the students' explanations together with analysis of the students use of scientific terms, gestures, and the language markers "sort of" and "like." Based on the analysis we argue to separate between event-focused explanations, where the students describe how objects move, and object-focused explanations, where the students describe object properties and interactions. The first type uses observable events and few scientific terms, while the latter contains object properties and tentative use of scientific terms. Both types are accompanied by an extensive use of language markers and gestures. A third category, term-focused explanations, is used when the students only provide superficial explanations by expressing scientific terms. Here, the students' use of language markers and gestures are low. The analyses shows how students' explanations can be understood as tentative attempts to build on their current understanding and observations while trying to reach out for a deeper and scientific way of identifying observations and building explanations and new ways of talking.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A