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ERIC Number: EJ829952
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0926-7220
Evolution of the Theory of the Earth: A Contextualized Approach for Teaching the History of the Theory of Plate Tectonics to Ninth Grade Students
Dolphin, Glenn
Science & Education, v18 n3-4 p425-441 Apr 2009
Current high school Earth Science curricula and textbooks organize scientific content into isolated "units" of knowledge. Within this structure, content is taught, but in the absence of the context of fundamental understandings or the process of how the science was actually done to reach the conclusions. These are two key facets of scientific literacy. I have developed curriculum from a historical perspective that addresses two particular units of study in Earth Science ("geologic time" and "plate tectonics"). The curriculum traces the evolution of the theory of plate tectonics. It includes contextualized experiences for students such as telling stories, utilizing original historical texts, narratives, and essential questions, to name a few. All of the strategies are utilized with the goal of building understanding around a small set of common themes. Exploring the historical models in this way allows students to analyze the models, while looking for limitations and misconceptions. This methodology is used to encourage students to develop more scientifically accurate understandings about the way in which the world and the process of scientific discovery work. Observations of high student engagement during the utilization of this contextualized approach has demonstrated that a positive effect on student understanding is promising.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 9; Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A