Constructivism in Elementary Science Education by yaoyufang


									     Constructivism in
     Science Education
Focus on learning and what we know
      about how people learn.
       Session Goals
• Establish a common understanding of
  constructivism as a learning theory
• Engage in a pendulum activity
• Connect these ideas of teaching and
  learning to the state assessment
There is a biological basis for
 learning that can inform our
      teaching practices.

      Dr. Larry Lowery
        UC Berkeley
Focus Question:

   When discussing the building of
  pathways in the brain, Dr. Lowery
 makes the comment, “This is where
the word constructivism comes from.”
What does the word “constructivism”
            mean to you?
Making Connections to Ideas
     on Constructivism
• Complete the following pages in your packet in
  this order:
   – Pre-assessment
   – Pendulum: Swingers Activity
   – Post-assessment
• Discussion

The theory that people build their
   own knowledge and their own
representations of knowledge from
 their own experience and thought.
  The Power of Children’s

“The moon is following us. It followed us the whole
  time we were in the car and now it is outside my
  bedroom window.” Chris Preisinger, age 4

“The sun moves around us. It goes down on one side
and comes up on the other.” Zak Taylor, 3rd grade
Constructivists understand…

  What people learn is not simply
    a duplication of what they
  observe in their surroundings,
   but the result of their own
     thinking and processing
  (building their own pathways).
    Quotes from 11 year old's
        science exams...
“When you breath, you inspire. When you do
  not breath, you expire."

"H2O is hot water, and CO2 is cold water"

"Water is composed of two gins, Oxygin and
Hydrogin. Oxygin is pure gin. Hydrogin is gin
and water."
       "Dew is formed on leaves when the sun
       shines down on them and makes them
      How People Learn
“Students come to the classroom with
  preconceptions about how the world works.
  If their initial understanding is not
  engaged, they may fail to grasp the new
  concepts and information that are taught,
  or they may learn them for purposes of a
  test but revert to their preconceptions
  outside the classroom.” (p. 10, How People

        Think about your own teaching, what
        does this statement mean?
Learning activities must begin
by considering:

• students’ current knowledge
• how that knowledge is
        Prior Beliefs

• Learners begin their formal study of
  science with ideas already in place
  about the natural world.
• Some parts of these ideas are correct,
  but some are not.
Basis for Conceptual Change
  • Learners become aware of conflict
    between what they thought was true
    and what they observe.
  • Existing conceptions must fail to
    explain some new observation.
  • For conceptual change to occur, their
    existing conceptions must be
Process of Conceptual Change
• Learners make predictions about the
  situation based on prior understandings.
• When these predictions do not work,
  learners question their prior beliefs.
• This brings existing beliefs to the
  surface, giving the teachers access to
  what is in the learners’ minds.
         •Teachers can help learners
         reconstruct their beliefs in ways
         that include the new information.
Primary Role of the Teacher
    • Ask questions to explore learner’s
      previously constructed information
      – looking for preconceptions.
    • Lead learners through exploratory
      activities that enable them to
      investigate on their own and come
      to their own conclusions.
    • Interact with each to see how he
      or she is constructing the new
      information and help to formulate
      accurate scientific conclusions.
When children have the
opportunity to cultivate their own
skills and construct their own ideas
and concepts, then they can
develop an understanding of the
world that is deep and real, and
begin to enjoy, understand, predict,
and generate new knowledge on
their own.
     Welcome Back!
1 – Consider how questioning can be
used as assessment to measure what
students are learning.
2 – Make a connection to the Science
Strategies to Assess What
  Students are Learning

•Formative assessments
•Summative assessments
   •State Assessment – WASL
   •End of Unit Assessments
WASL-style questioning
         (in packet)

 • Writing a Conclusion Item
 • Planning an Investigation Item
 • Variables Handout
More Quotes from 11 year old's science exams…

  "Nitrogen is not found in Ireland because it is not found in a free

  "Mushrooms always grow in damp places and so that is why they
  look like umbrellas."

   "The body consists of three parts- the brainium, the borax and the
   abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain, the borax
   contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable cavity contains the
   bowls, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u."

   "The tides are a fight between the Earth and moon. All water tends
   towards the moon, because there is no water in the moon, and nature
   abhors a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight."

               "Planet: A body of Earth surrounded by sky."

               "To keep milk from turning sour: Keep it in the cow."

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