Reflection: Developing a Conceptual Understanding The Story of the Three Little Pigs & the Nature of Science (#2 of 2) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities

 

I presented my concept of how science works (internally and externally) and, with some support, students were challenged to evaluate it, make sense of it, and if necessary, to tweak it.

Here, two students demonstrate doing just that. Let's examine and interpret their thinking a bit...

Student A Mental Model: Clearly, there is a structure to the process. Multiple factors interconnect to make the process stronger. There is a foundational question that drives the inquiry forward with resulting experimentation (starting with the hypothesis) that "builds" toward a higher vantage point. When collected, the data forms the essential beams that the conclusion rests upon. This student then envisions the entire house (AKA Theory) to encompass everything. Sounds pretty logical to me!

Student B Mental Model:  In similar ways, this student presents an integrated system of inquiry, albeit at a simpler level than Student A. However, there is no mistaking the initial question leading, ever upward, to the conclusion, all of which is supported by the data.

All in all, this sample represents a far cry from the pre-assessment where only 2/24 could conceive the interrelationships among data, hypotheses, theories, and laws*.

*Clearly lacking in either response was the notion of laws, which when I teach this topic again, I will challenge students to incorporate into their mental model.

  Developing a Conceptual Understanding: Making sense of a simple children's story...
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The Story of the Three Little Pigs & the Nature of Science (#2 of 2)

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 6 of 15

Objective: Students will be able to describe and apply a mental model in order to correctly understand the nature of theories and supporting data, hypotheses, and laws.

Big Idea: Scientific theories are built from various supporting evidences and, like the Three Little Pigs' construction experience, some are like straw and stick, while the strongest are made of brick!

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