NARST 2024

Denver, Colorado
March 17-20, 2024
Conference Website

The National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) is a worldwide organization of professionals committed to the improvement of science teaching and learning through research. Since its inception in 1928, NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by the research. The ultimate goal of NARST is to help all learners achieve science literacy. The theme of the 2024 annual international conference is “Science Education for the Rest of Us.”

Friday, March 8 (All-virtual day)

Understanding Obstacles to Conceptualizing, Transforming, and Analyzing Multidimensional Datasets

A. Lynn Stephens, Natalya St. Clair, Daniel Damelin

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM

Using conventional data analysis tools to teach data science presumes a certain level of confidence with data tables. Additionally, much of the data available for classroom use is complex and has a multidimensional set of related variables. Standard spreadsheets may work well with students who are confident math learners and who can easily grasp the conventions of tabular data representations, but may leave behind those who learn better by doing or whose internal representations of data structure do not match conventional external representations. This exploratory study describes preliminary results from 13 semi-structured think-aloud interviews of high school students, looking at how students conceptualize multidimensional datasets. The interviews indicate that the nature of the tasks given to students for analyzing the data had a strong influence on how they talked about data structure (if at all). These findings have unexpected resonance with preliminary results from a companion study (authors, in progress) where experts described options for dataset structure according to what question was to be asked of those data.

Wednesday, March 20

Chunking Code, Representation, and Science Content to Enhance Secondary Students’ Participation in Computational Science Investigations

Christopher Lore, Hee-Sun Lee, Amy Pallant, Jie Chao

1:45 PM – 3:15 PM, Plaza Court 6

There is a growing need for curriculum materials that integrate science practices with computational thinking. This research applied the design principle of chunking (Miller, 1956) to the design of computationally supported geo-scientific investigations for high school students and examined students’ claims and explanations that answered scientific questions addressed in the investigations. In the design of student investigations, we strategically chunked block coding, visual representations, and science content. We used scientific claim and explanation prompts embedded in three computationally-mediated scientific investigations around the earthquake cycle. Research questions are (1) what claims students made about a scientific question around earthquake phenomena and (2) how they explained their answer in terms of coding, representation, and science content. The findings indicate that students were able to use code to carry out these investigations and interpret the representational output of a simulation they manipulated using code. However, we identified a need for incorporating further supports so that students could evaluate and reflect on whether their code accurately represents the problem they are trying to solve. We also found that understanding one aspect of the chunked information, for example the representation, is essential to understanding another aspect, such as science content.

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