Vancouver, British Columbia
March 27-30, 2022
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 1928 NARST has promoted research in science education and the communication of knowledge generated by the research. The theme of the 2022 annual international conference is “Unity and Inclusion for Global Scientific Literacy: Invite as a Community. Unite as a Community.”
Sunday, March 27
Leveraging Causal Heuristics to Scaffold Student Understanding in Dynamic System Models (Virtual)
4:45 – 6:15 PM
We develop a framework for leveraging the innate causal heuristics commonly used by K-12 students when investigating static equilibrium systems for use in mechanistic explanation of dynamic phenomena. A survey of literature concerning methods and approaches used to teach about complex systems in K-12 education and in the field of system dynamics was conducted (e.g., Dickes et al., 2016; Krist et al., 2019; Machamer, Darden, & Craver, 2000; Meadows, 2008) and ideas combined to create our conjecture that a causal heuristic similar to that used in static equilibrium models can support and enhance learning about dynamic systems when the fundamental units of cause and effect are system structures linked to specific behavioral patterns over time.
Monday, March 28
Reimagining Virtual Participatory Design Research: Supporting Youth’s Rightful Presence in a Community Science Project (Virtual)
8:00 – 9:30 AM
Engaging youth in critical participatory design (Bang & Vossoughi, 2016) explicitly acknowledges and attends to youth-adult power differentials. Youth voice is actively solicited for and centered in critical participatory design to perturb entrenched power differentials baked into the adult/teacher-youth/learner relationalities. The larger project in which this study is situated involved engaging middle school youth historically minoritized in science education, school teachers, and university researchers in co-designing a 7th grade biology curriculum centered on a community-identified health concern via a series of face-to-face design meetings. With the pandemic and school closure, like a vast majority of education researchers, we pivoted to a virtual design-team meeting format, using the digital platform Zoom, complemented by Padlet and the communication app, Discord. In this paper we ask: How do youth participate (or not) in a virtual biology curriculum design-team environment focused on exploring community-based health issues? In what ways did the adults’ framing of youths’ participation support and/or hinder their Rightful Presence (RP; Authors, 2020) in the virtual design meeting space and with what consequences for knowledge creation?
Tuesday, March 29
Integrating Computational Thinking as Part of Simulation-based Scientific Investigations with Volcanic Hazard and Risk
9:00 – 10:30 AM, Burrard
There is a growing need for curriculum materials that integrate science practices with computational thinking practices. To address this need, this research investigated students’ use of a blockcode-based computational modeling tool while concurrently learning about tephra hazards and risks caused by volcanic eruptions. We used pre and post tests to examine whether and to what extent students learned about carrying out scientific investigations through computation. We also used a post-activity survey to gauge how students thought about the value of using block coding to carry out scientific investigations. The findings indicate that students made significant gains related to carrying out computationally-integrated scientific investigations. According to repeated measures Wilcoxon signed rank tests, students made significant gains on each of the 11 constructed-response items where they demonstrated their scientific and computational reasoning. Additionally, after each activity was completed, over 80% mentioned a variety of ways coding supported their scientific investigations such as visualizing data and controlling input and output values. Results of this study indicated that it is possible for students to learn CT practices more naturally as part of scientific investigation.
Strand 2: Science Learning: Contexts, Characteristics and Interactions Poster
Investigating the Ways Students Leverage Lived Experience to Explain Phenomena (Virtual)
10:45 – 11:45 AM, Poster Space 204
Choosing a relevant and appropriate anchoring phenomenon is one of the most challenging yet most essential tasks a teacher must accomplish to support student engagement in the practices of the NGSS (NGSS Lead States, 2013) and science more broadly. Ideally, the phenomenon should leverage student experience, be relevant to the student both culturally and to their community, and allow for students to make sense of the science through their own ways of knowing. However, through preliminary data analysis, we saw that most students are maintaining a separation between their lived experiences within their communities and the ways they make sense when participating in school. Despite direct experience with wildfire and after completing an online module focusing on the risks and impacts of wildfire, even when directly asked, the students rarely drew on those experiences to help explain or justify their thinking regarding wildfire. A more thorough study will be conducted to better explain why students do not utilize their experiences and in what ways science teachers and teacher educators can best support students in making those connections.
Supporting Discussion-based Science Practices for Special Education Students (Virtual)
10:45 – 11:45 AM, Poster Space 211
Traditionally, special education students have a lower science achievement compared to non special education students, but special education students have been found to benefit from discussion-based science classrooms (Taylor et al., 2011). This study follows two students with IEPs and a paraprofessional as they work together on an online plate tectonics unit. The goal of this study is to understand how the students’ sensemaking, progressive discourse and overall science talk changed as they worked individually, with their peers, and with their teachers. Analysis suggests that peer-peer and teacher-peer discussion spark more robust science talk and sensemaking in the special education student’s work than when they are working individually. Specifically, our study suggests that teacher’s questioning can support special education students to make connections and build their confidence to participate more fully in whole class settings. Our study also shows the importance of inclusive and safe environments for special education students to succeed.
Argumentation with Summary Tables in Geoscience Learning
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Parq Salon A
One of the many tools developed by the Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) Framework, the Summary Table is used as a structuring document for students to organize their thoughts based on classroom discourse regarding an anchoring phenomenon (Windschitl et al., 2018). While students work to complete the Summary Table, they engage in sustained conversation where they compare and contrast ideas through public critiques to argue and build new science ideas. In this study, we examine the interactions and discourse of a middle school classroom as they complete the Summary Table and make summative arguments within a locally called, CER Journal, during the implementation of an online plate tectonics curriculum. Preliminary findings illustrate that creating time and space for scientific discourse provided students with sense-making opportunities around the complex science ideas to support their explanations of the phenomenon. The summary table scaffolded development of increasingly sophisticated explanations by providing a structure for students to connect observations with the driving question of the unit. Specifically, the Summary Table supported small and whole group discussions positioning students to argue and partake in open critique of their claims and evidence in diverse and increasingly public ways as they develop sophisticated science explanations.
Strand 14: Environmental Education and Sustainability Poster
Ambitious Science Teaching as a Way of Integrating Place-based and Systems-literacy Learning (Virtual)
10:45 – 11:45 AM, Poster Space 1401
The goals of this conceptual paper (theoretical proposal) are to address the existing tension in geoscience education between systems-level and place-based pedagogical perspectives, and to propose Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) (Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten, 2018) as a mediating framework. Through AST, both pedagogical perspectives can interact in a mutually-inclusive way to advance student sensemaking. The analysis in this proposal presents the story of one middle school science classroom to demonstrate interactions of these pedagogies in the implementation of AST practices. The story of two co-teachers’ implementation of AST practices is described to identify theoretical interactions between systems-literacy and place-based pedagogical perspectives. These teachers’ knowledge and experience with AST created space for the integration of systems-literacy and place-based pedagogies within their geoscience curriculum. This classroom example is not presented in the form of a traditional empirical analysis, but rather as a means to support the explanation of the indicated theoretical interactions.