Developing NGSS Scientific Practices Through Inquiry in an Outdoor Learning Environment Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wd3760621

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  • The National Research Council has aggregated research evidence on the pedagogy of science teaching and learning (NRC, 2012), culminating in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These standards support emphasis on eight scientific practices as an important component for teaching science as inquiry to K-12 students. This latest framework for curriculum and instruction poses the question of the role of science practices in student content understanding as well as understanding the nature of science inquiry. Improved understanding of students’ knowledge construction while engaged in an outdoor learning environment (OLE) can help improve theory about students’ knowledge-building work that imply ways to structure better contexts for learning involving scientific practices. The present investigation provides descriptive evidence of students’ epistemological moves as they engaged in a six-month inquiry investigation in an OLE on the school campus designed to embed scientific practices as described in the NGSS. Berland et al. (2015) Epistemologies in Practice (EIP) provided the conceptual framework for examining student knowledge construction. The data consisted of written artifacts and recorded discourse events that were used to provide evidence of student thinking as it related to scientific sense-making in a school context. The analysis parsed the data as to whether students’ thinking was meaningful within four “epistemological considerations” in building knowledge: Nature, Generality, Justification, and Audience. Evidence suggests student thinking progresses over time from a classroom goal orientation to inclusive of scientific sense-making. Students constructed knowledge in a variety of science and non-science topics, as well as demonstrating personal and social skills. This study suggests that there may be a productive hierarchy or progression in the epistemological considerations that students use in building knowledge.
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