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Teaching Science for Motivation and Understanding. Discussion with Knowles Fellows November, 2003 Andy Anderson and Gail Richmond. Issues You Would Like to Discuss. Watching Jim Minstrell Teach about Newtons Laws of Motion. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Teaching Science for Motivation and UnderstandingDiscussion with Knowles FellowsNovember, 2003Andy Anderson and Gail Richmond

  • Issues You Would Like to Discuss

  • Watching Jim Minstrell Teach about Newtons Laws of MotionWhat do you notice that would cause you to change your answers to some of the questions about moving objects?What did you notice that would cause you to change or add to your answers to questions about problems of practice?What did Jim Minstrell need to know in order to teach this way?

  • Problems of Practicein Science TeachingScience content: Goals and activities for student learningStudents and assessmentClassroom learning environments and teaching strategiesProfessional resources and relationships

  • Niels Bohr on Scientific ReasoningThe task of science is both to extend our experience and reduce it to order, and this task represents various aspects, inseparably connected with each other. Only by experience itself do we come to recognize those laws which grant us a comprehensive view of the diversity of phenomena. As our knowledge becomes wider we must always be prepared, therefore, to expect alterations in the points of view best suited for the ordering of our experience.

  • Extending Experience and Reducing It to OrderPursuing the turtles all the way down

  • Piaget on Childrens First Inquiry: Developing a Theory of ObjectsBabies: Selective attention to faces, motion, unusual stimuli; no continuing interest when something disappears from viewPeek-a-boo: Experience with objects disappearing and reappearing; encouraging adults to playHide and seek: Finding hidden objectsObject permanence as eventual outcome

  • Piaget on Conservation of LiquidsExtending experience by pouring liquids from one container to anotherEarly focus on only width or depth: More liquid in deeper containerLater: coordinating thinking about width and depthFinal: conservation of liquids; volume is always the same regardless of container

  • Experientially Real Objects, Systems, and PhenomenaExperiences taken for granted as realExplanations for those experiences

  • Development of KnowledgeExtending experience: Adding to our stock of experientially real objects, systems, and phenomena Adding new sense experiencesAdding vicarious sense experiences (e.g., pictures, video)Adding believable, experientially real data (e.g., measurements, carefully recorded observations)Reducing experience to order: Developing new and better models and theoriesConceptual change: Replacing old theories with new ones that account for more dataConverting previous theories to taken-for-granted experientially real objects, systems, phenomena (e.g., existence of objects, conservation of liquid volume)

  • Why Extending Our Experience and Reducing It to Order Isnt Always ScienceMultiple Sense-making Strategies

  • What Counts as Experientially Real?Everyday judgments: Seeing (or hearing, touching, feeling) is believingVividness and immediacy of experienceConfirmation by peer groupScientific judgments: Creating data from experienceReproducibilityPrecisionProvenance of recordsConfirmation by skeptical observers

  • Times When Everyday and Scientific Judgments DifferRumorsNews, historyReligious experienceData collected with complicated instrumentsData presented in difficult-to-understand formats

  • What Counts as aGood Model or Theory?Procedural display: Whatever it takes to get a good gradePractical reasoning: Whatever it takes to get practical results (including inventing things)Narrative/metaphorical reasoning: Stories or metaphors that bring coherence to our experiences (including news, history)Model-based reasoning: Models that account for all relevant data in testable, parsimonious waysUnbroken chain of connections from data to modelsConsistency with other models and theories

  • Model-based Reasoning:Scientific Inquiry and Application

  • Content Example:Newtons LawsWhat does it mean to understand Newtons Laws?

  • Historical Sense-making Strategies for Explaining MotionAristotle, Ptolemy, and AquinasSetting the stage for Galileo: Impetus theorists and CopernicusGalileoNewton

  • Aristotle, Ptolemy, and AquinasPractical reasoning: Moving objects with simple machines, throwing,pushing, bows and arrowsNarrative reasoning: Where and why do objects moveAnimate objects (animals) move on their ownNatural motion: Inanimate objects tend toward their own spheres (earth, water, air, fire)Violent motion: Animals can impart motion to inanimate objectsHeavenly objects are kept in motion by the Prime MoverAquinas: Prime Mover is Christian GodModel-based reasoning: Ptolemaic system explains motions of sun, moon, planets

  • Setting the stage for GalileoPractical reasoning: Siege engines (catapults, trebuchets, cannon); accuracy depends on direction and speed (not just personal skill)Narrative reasoning: Protestant reformation emphasizes personal God rather than distant Prime MoverModel-based reasoning: Copernicus suggests sun-centered model that fits observations better

  • GalileoPractical reasoning: Inventing better telescopes, measuring speed and direction of rolling and falling objectsNarrative reasoning:Challenging Ptolemy and Aquinas: Copernicus model is true, not just way to calculate positionsTelescopic observations of corruptible heavens Model-based reasoning: Mathematical predictions of speed of falling objects

  • NewtonPractical reasoning: Mathematical predictions of trajectories (models improve practical reasoning rather than the other way around)Narrative reasoning:Anti-Trinitarian Biblical text criticism: God does not intervene in everyday eventsNewtons apple: The apple and the moon are following the same lawsModel-based reasoning: Newtons Laws of motion and universal gravitation

  • Newtons First LawTraditional wording

    Every object continues in a state of rest, or of motion in a straight line at a constant speed, unless it is compelled to change that state by unbalanced forces exerted on it.Contrasting Newton and AristotleMotion doesnt need to be explained, only changes in speed or direction (velocity).Necessity: No forces or balanced forces always mean no change in speed or direction, and vice versa.

  • Newtons Second LawTraditional wording

    The acceleration produced by a net force on an object is directly proportional to the magnitude of the net force, is in the same direction as the net force, and is inversely proportional to the mass of the object (F = ma).Contrasting Newton and AristotleForces do not cause motion. Instead they cause acceleration, or change in speed or direction (i.e., velocity).

  • Newtons Third LawTraditional wording

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.Contrasting Newton and AristotleForces always come in pairs. When A exerts a force on B, B exerts an equal and opposite force on A. This does not mean that the forces on A or B are balanced.

  • Aristotelian and Newtonian Answers to QuestionsBook on the tableAristotelian: Table blocks book from fallingNewtonian: Table exerts an upward force that balances the downward force of gravityCoin in the airAristotelian: Coins upward flight is sustained by a force from the handNewtonian: Continuing upward motion doesnt need to be explained. Unbalanced force of gravity slows the coin down.

  • Aristotelian and Newtonian Answers to Questions (cont)Cart at constant velocityAristotelian: Continued motion requires continued forceNewtonian: Net force is 0 for motion at constant speed and directionAccelerating cartAristotelian: Increasing motion requires increasing forceNewtonian: F = ma. Constant acceleration requires a constant net force

  • Problems of Practicein Science TeachingScience content: Goals and activities for student learningStudents and assessmentClassroom learning environments and teaching strategiesProfessional resources and relationships

  • Purposes for Classroom AssessmentUnderstanding your studentsHelping your students to assess and improve their own understandingGrading

  • Criteria for Assessments that Help You Understand StudentsConnection to goals: The questions address important objectives you have for student learningInteresting wrong answers: Even incorrect answers reveal students' thinkingInsight into students sense-making: The students answers help you understand how they make sense of the world, not just where their knowledge of science is weak.Starting a dialogue with students: The questions help you to start discussions with students where they can compare their ideas with scientific ideas.

  • Types of questions that produce interesting wrong answers

  • Backwards reasoningIf --- is the answer, then what was the question?What question were scientists trying to answer:when they discovered photosynthesis? (e.g., why do plants need light?)when they discovered atomic theory (e.g., why do elements always combine in certain proportions?)

  • Familiar situationsGetting students theories about familiar examples.What are the forces on a coin flipped into the air?Are your eyes the same color as your mothers? How do you think that happened?Whats inside the bubbles of boiling water?

  • Connecting different representationsSeeing what happens when students represent the same example in different ways.Draw a picture of what is happening to the atoms of NaCl as solid salt dissolves in water.Show how the light rays travel that enable a person to see a tree as she looks out the window.

  • Types of Representations

    Most concrete

    Close to experiences, observations, data

    Misconceptions (matching incorrect models to the experience) are a k


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