When science and literacy meet in the secondary learning space

when science and literacy meet in the secondary learning space

Although there are a range of definitions for science literacy, most involve an thinking about post-secondary education represents a transformative area in science . The shared space for student engagement is often relegated to the chosen to meet core requirements for science in undergraduate. Chair Professor of. Early Childhood Literacy Education at Utah State University , Logan, USA; . Remaining firm about meeting engaged in the various learning spaces are helpful as a .. social studies, science, and the English language. Sustainable Agriculture Lessons, a series of online activities for high school .. Designed for students, teachers, and space enthusiasts of all ages, the app uses the . Science, Mathematics, Literacy, Early Childhood, English Learners, Teacher .. links to Meet the Explorers and Expedition Education Module web pages.

Such decisions rely heavily on a teacher's knowledge of students' cognitive potential, developmental level, physical attributes, affective development, and motivation—and how they learn. Teachers are aware of and understand common naive concepts in science for given grade levels, as well as the cultural and experiential background of students and the effects these have on learning.

Teachers also consider their own strengths and interests and take into account available resources in the local environment. For example, in Cleveland, the study of Lake Erie, its pollution, and Inquiry into authentic questions generated from student experiences is the central strategy for teaching science. Teachers can work with local personnel, such as those at science-rich centers museums, industries, universities, etc.

Over the years, educators have developed many teaching and learning models relevant to classroom science teaching. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of these models, teachers examine the relationship between the science content and how that content is to be taught.

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Teachers of science integrate a sound model of teaching and learning, a practical structure for the sequence of activities, and the content to be learned. Inquiry into authentic questions generated from student experiences is the central strategy for teaching science. Teachers focus inquiry predominantly on real phenomena, in classrooms, outdoors, or in laboratory settings, where students are given investigations or guided toward fashioning investigations that are demanding but within their capabilities.

As more complex topics are addressed, students cannot always return to basic phenomena for every conceptual understanding.

Nevertheless, teachers can take an inquiry approach as they guide students in acquiring and interpreting information from sources such as libraries, government documents, and computer databases—or as they gather information from experts from industry, the community, and government. Other teaching strategies rely on teachers, texts, and secondary sources—such as video, film, and computer simulations. When secondary sources of scientific knowledge are used, students need to be made aware of the processes by which the knowledge presented in these sources was acquired and to understand that the sources are authoritative and accepted within the scientific community.

When carefully guided by teachers to ensure full participation by all, interactions among individuals and groups in the classroom can be vital in deepening the understanding of scientific concepts and the nature of scientific endeavors. The size of a group depends on age, resources, and the nature of the inquiry. Teachers of science must decide when and for what purposes to use whole-class instruction, small-group collaboration, and individual work.

For example, investigating simple electric circuits initially might best be explored individually. As students move toward building complex circuits, small group interactions might be more effective to share ideas and materials, and a full-class discussion then might be used to verify experiences and draw conclusions. The plans of teachers provide opportunities for all students to learn science. Therefore, planning is heavily dependent on the teacher's awareness and understanding of the diverse abilities, interests, and cultural backgrounds of students in the classroom.

Planning also takes into account the social structure of the classroom and the challenges posed by diverse student groups. Effective planning includes sensitivity to student views that might conflict with current scientific knowledge and strategies that help to support alternative ways of making sense of the world while developing the scientific explanations. Teachers plan activities that they and the students will use to assess the understanding and abilities that students hold when they begin a learning activity.

In addition, appropriate ways are designed to monitor the development of knowledge, understanding, and abilities as students pursue their work throughout the academic year. Individual and collective planning is a cornerstone of science teaching; it is a vehicle for professional support and growth.

In the vision of science education described in the Standards, many planning decisions are made by groups of teachers at grade and building levels to construct coherent and articulated programs within and across grades. Schools must provide teachers with time and access to their colleagues and others who can serve as resources if collaborative planning is to occur.

Teaching Standard B Teachers of science guide and facilitate learning. In doing this, teachers Focus and support inquiries while interacting with students.

Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas. Challenge students to accept and share responsibility for their own learning. Recognize and respond to student diversity and encourage all students to participate fully in science learning. Encourage and model the skills of scientific inquiry, as well as the curiosity, openness to new ideas and data, and skepticism that characterize science.

Coordinating people, ideas, materials, and the science classroom environment are Page 33 Share Cite Suggested Citation: This standard focuses on the work that teachers do as they implement the plans of Standard A in the classroom. Teachers of science constantly make decisions, such as when to change the direction of a discussion, how to engage a particular At all stages of inquiry, teachers guide, focus, challenge, and encourage student learning.

Teachers must struggle with the tension between guiding students toward a set of predetermined goals and allowing students to set and meet their own goals. Teachers face a similar tension between taking the time to allow students to pursue an interest in greater depth and the need to move on to new areas to be studied.

Furthermore, teachers constantly strike a balance among the demands of the understanding and ability to be acquired and the demands of student-centered developmental learning.

The result of making these decisions is the enacted curriculum—the planned curriculum as it is modified and shaped by the interactions of students, teachers, materials, and daily life in the classroom.

Student inquiry in the science classroom encompasses a range of activities. Some activities provide a basis for observation, data collection, reflection, and analysis of firsthand events and phenomena. Other activities encourage the critical analysis of secondary sources—including media, books, and journals in a library. Students formulate questions and devise ways to answer them, they collect data and decide how to represent it, they organize data to generate knowledge, and they test the reliability of the knowledge they have generated.

As they proceed, students explain and justify their work to themselves and to one another, learn to cope with problems such as the limitations of equipment, and react to challenges posed by the teacher and by classmates. Students assess the efficacy of their efforts—they evaluate the data they have collected, re-examining or collecting more if necessary, and making statements about the generalizability of their findings.

They plan and make presentations to the rest of the class about their work and accept and react to the constructive criticism of others.

Science and Math Integrating Literacy in Early Childhood

At all stages of inquiry, teachers guide, focus, challenge, and encourage student learning. Successful teachers are skilled observers of students, as well as knowledgeable about science and how it is learned. Teachers match their actions to the particular needs of the students, deciding when and how to guide—when to demand more rigorous grappling by the students, when to provide information, when to provide particular tools, and when to connect students with other sources.

Page 34 Share Cite Suggested Citation: She plans to do this through inquiry. Of the many organisms she might choose to use, she selects an organism that is familiar to the students, one that they have observed in the schoolyard. As a life-long learner, Ms. She also uses the resources of the school—materials available for science and media in the school library. She models the habits and values of science by the care provided to the animals. Students write and draw their observations. Developing communication skills in science and in language arts reinforce one another.

when science and literacy meet in the secondary learning space

Although she had never used earthworms in the science classroom before, and she knew she could use any of a number of small animals to meet her goals, Ms. She called the local museum of natural history to talk with personnel to be sure she knew enough about earthworms to care for them and to guide the children's explorations.

She learned that it was relatively easy to house earthworms over long periods. She was told that if she ordered the earthworms from a biological supply house, they would come with egg cases and baby, earthworms and the children would be able to observe the adult earthworms, the egg cases, the young earthworms, and some of the animal's habits. Before preparing a habitat for the earthworms, students spent time outdoors closely examining the environment where the worms had been found.

This field trip was followed by a discussion about important aspects of keeping earthworms in the classroom: How would students create a place for the earthworms that closely resembled the natural setting? An earthworm from outside was settled into a large terrarium away from direct sun; black paper was secured over the sides of the terrarium into which the children had put soil, leaves, and grass.

A week later the earthworms arrived from the supply company and were added to the habitat. She wanted the students to become familiar with the basic needs of the earthworms and how to care for them. It was important that the children develop a sense of responsibility toward living things as well as enhance their skills of observation and recording.

She also felt that this third grade class would be able to design simple experiments that would help the students learn about some of the behaviors of the earthworms. In the first 2 weeks, the students began closely observing the earthworms and recording their habits. The students recorded what the earthworms looked like, how they moved, and what the students thought Page 35 Share Cite Suggested Citation: The students described color and shape; they weighed and measured the earthworms and kept a large chart of the class data, which provoked a discussion about variation.

They observed and described how the earthworms moved on a surface and in the soil.

when science and literacy meet in the secondary learning space

Questions and ideas about the earthworms came up continually. When Marshall and Warren suggested that ulcers were caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, their claim was viewed as preposterous Page 30 Share Cite Suggested Citation: The reasons for both the initial and final positions in the field clearly involve important social mechanisms that go beyond simple evidence-based reasoning processes. However, to acknowledge the influence of situated, social, and noncognitive factors in the process of scientific discovery is not to deny the existence of an external physical reality that science attempts to discover and explain see, e.

Language of Science In science, words often are given very specific meanings that are different from and often more restrictive than their everyday usage. A few such cases are important to discuss before we proceed further in this report. It is also important for teachers to be aware of the confusion that can arise from these multiple usages of familiar words, clarifying the specific scientific usage when needed. Through those tests and the resulting refinement, it takes a form that is a well-established description of, and predictor for, phenomena in a particular domain.

A theory is so well established that it is unlikely that new data within that domain will totally discredit it; instead, the theory may be modified and revised to take into account new evidence.

There may be domains in which the theory can be applied but has yet to be tested; in those domains the theory is called a working hypothesis. Scientists use and test hypotheses in the development and refinement of models and scenarios that collectively serve as tools in the development of a theory.

One alternative use of the term comes from psychological research. Popular usage also confuses the ideas of scientific fact and a scientific theory, which we distinguish by example in the discussion below.

Data and Evidence A datum is an observation or measurement recorded for subsequent analysis. The observation or measurement may be of a natural system or of a designed and constructed experimental situation. Observation here includes indirect observation, which uses inference from well-understood science, as well as direct sensory observations. Thus the assertion that a particular skeleton comes from an animal that lived during a particular geological period is based on acceptance of the body of knowledge that led to the widely accepted techniques used to date the bones, techniques that are themselves the products of prior scientific study.

In the elementary and middle school classroom, observation usually involves fewer inferences. For example, students may begin by conducting unaided observations of natural phenomena and then progress to using simple measurement tools or instruments such as microscopes. When a scientific claim is demonstrated to occur forever and always in any context, scientists will refer to the claim as a fact e. Facts are best seen as evidence and claims of phenomena that come together to develop and refine or to challenge explanations.

For example, the fact that earthquakes occur has been long known, but the explanation for the fact that earthquakes occur takes on a different meaning if one adopts plate tectonics as a theoretical framework. The fact that there are different types of earthquakes shallow and deep Page 32 Share Cite Suggested Citation: A century ago the atomic substructure of matter was a theory, which became better established as new evidence and inferences based on this evidence deepened the complexity and explanatory power of the theory.

Today, atoms are an established component of matter due to the modern capability of imaging individual atoms in matter with such tools as scanning-tunneling microscopes. This kind of progression from theoretical construct to observed property leads to some confusion in the minds of many people about the nature of theory and the distinctions among theory, evidence, claims, and facts.

The history of science further reveals that theories progress from hypotheses or tentative ideas to core explanations. Core explanatory theories are those that are firmly established through accumulation of a substantial body of supporting evidence and have no competitors e.

when science and literacy meet in the secondary learning space

For much of science, theories are broad conceptual frameworks that can be invalidated by contradictions with data but can never be wholly validated. To give a specific example: Repeated observations give the rate of acceleration in this event, both its global average and local variations from that average.

These theories describe but do not actually explain gravitation in the conventional sense of that word; they invoke no underlying mechanism due to substructure and subsystems. In this example, drawn from physics, the theories are expressed in mathematical form and their predictions are thus both precise and specific.

They lend themselves readily to computer modeling and simulation. In other areas of science, theories can take more linguistic forms and involve other types of models. A theory may or may not include a mechanism for the effects it describes and predicts. Another important feature of the example is that it challenges a common perception of scientific revolutions.

However, it did not invalidate all that had gone before; instead, it showed clearly both the limitations of the previous theory and the domain in which the previous theory is valid as an excellent close approximation, useful because it is much simpler both conceptually and mathematically than the full general theory of relativity.

This is a key understanding: Such theories are tentative in domains in which they have not yet been tested, or in which only limited data are available, so that the tests are not yet conclusive but are far from tentative in the domains in which they have repeatedly been tested through their use in new scientific inquiries.

Argument In everyday usage, an argument is an unpleasant situation in which two or more people have differing opinions and become heated in their discussion of this difference. Argumentation in science has a different and less combative or competitive role than either of these forms Kuhn, It is a mode of logical discourse whose goal is to tease out the relationship between ideas and the evidence—for example, to decide what a theory or hypothesis predicts for a given circumstance, or whether a proposed explanation is consistent or not with some new observation.

The goal of those engaged in scientific argumentation is a common one: