Over the past 7 years, I have been incredibly fortunate to collaborate with Prof. Dr. Kim Lange-Schubert, a colleague from Germany, on work related to models and modeling in elementary science classrooms. Springboarding, in part, from our earlier work on the MoHSES project, as well as a CEHS international travel fellowship awarded to former graduate student and now Assistant Professor Tina Vo, this ongoing collaboration yielded two more publications in 2019. The first is a practitioner-focused article in a German publication discussing the importance and role of models and modeling in the early grades. The second is a reporting of some smaller-scale work with students in Germany and articulation/elaboration of our underlying conceptual framework for model-based teaching and learning. We look forward to continuing this collaborative endeavor and important work yet to come.
For the last four years, the UnICORN project has afforded an opportunity to enhance and engage in research on teaching and learning about inheritance in elementary science through curriculum development and professional development for teachers. Through the implementation of a model-based curriculum, early learners in Nebraska have been afforded opportunities to use corn as a model organism to develop understanding of basic concepts of heredity and genetics using corn as a model organism. Two papers were recently published based upon this work which describe students’ understanding of core, NGSS-aligned target concepts and the relative impact of the curriculum on target outcomes in consecutive project years.
In August, the I was fortunate to attend the 2019 annual meeting of the European Science Educational Research Association (ESERA), held in Bologna, Italy. The conference provided a wonderful opportunity to be part of a PISA-focused session, organized by Jonathan Osborne, to present results of work associated with my Fulbright in Germany. It was also great to see doctoral student Florian Böschl, who works with Prof. Dr. Kim Lange-Schubert at the University of Leipzig, present work from his summer in Nebraska (2018) as part of our ongoing collaborative research on modeling in elementary science classrooms. ESERA was a truly fantastic way to cap off a year of travel and professional work in Germany.
Böschl, F., Lange-Schubert, K., & Forbes, C. T.
(2019, August). Investigating scientific modeling practices in primary science: A comparative
study of the U.S. and Germany. Paper presented at the
2019 annual meeting of the European Science Education Research Association
(ESERA) 2019, Bologna, Italy.
Forbes, C.T., Neumann, K., Schipe-Tiska, A. (2019, August). Science teaching and learning: Analysis of
PISA data from the United States and Germany. Paper presented at the 2019 annual meeting of
the European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) 2019, Bologna,
The final, capstone study from the MoHSES project has been published in the May issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. This comparative research investigates the implementation and 3rd-grade students’ model-based learning associated with two versions of the FOSS Water unit. The study provides evidence that students experiencing the project-developed, model-based version of the curriculum showed greater gains in their model-based explanations for water-related phenomena than did students experiencing the standard version of the unit. These findings reflect many years of hard, collaborative work with truly amazing elementary teachers to develop effective resources to support model-based science teaching and learning. This manuscript was a significant team effort that I am very pleased to see in print.
Congrats to Molly Brandt for publication of her thesis work in the Journal of Agricultural Education. This study explored the use of Evidence-Centered Design to develop, validate, and test assessment items aligned with standards for student learning focused on the integration of STEM and agriculture. The study provides important insights into upper elementary (grades 3-5) students’ reasoning about interdisciplinary STEM concepts and contributes to efforts to design an assessment system designed around these standards that can provide an essential tool for program evaluation.
As the MoHSES project rapidly draws to a close, we are very pleased to continue publishing project research that reflects our project work over the 5 years of the project. Our latest study, published in the International Journal of Science Education, explores implementation of the revised FOSS Water unit and 3rd-grade students’ model-based reasoning about water over the first two years of the project. The study provides evidence that the ‘modeling-enhanced” version of the curriculum positively impacts student learning, though these effects vary greatly by teacher. How teachers implement the curriculum appears to significantly impact the sophistication of students’ model-based explanations for water-related phenomena.
Today we wrapped up our 18-month Water for Elementary Teachers of Science in Nebraska (NE WETS) project with 2 consecutive days of workshops held at Hastings Middle School. The project provided us to opportunity to work with an amazing group of K-6 teachers from in and around Hastings, NE. Thanks go out to wonderful UNL project team members Tina Vo and Tonya Bernadt, Chad Dumas, Ph.D., HPS Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, and the teachers who made the project possible.
Thanks to a fantastic group of elementary teachers for all their hard work in this first summer of the Water for Elementary Teachers of Science (Nebraska WETS) project. We had a great workshop series in June and August of this summer focused on scientific modeling, formative assessment, and water science. The summer component was also offered as graduate course credit (NRES 898 – Teaching and Learning about Water Systems). We appreciate the support of Hastings Public Schools for being a wonderful district partner and allowing us access to amazing facilities at Hastings Middle School.
Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zangori for successfully defending her dissertation study, entitled, “EXPLORING 3RD-GRADE STUDENTS’ MODEL-BASED EXPLANATIONS ABOUT PLANT GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT”. Laura has worked on both the PIESC3 and MoHSES projects, first at the University of Iowa and later at UNL. It has been a pleasure to work with Laura as both project PI and her advisor. In August, Laura will begin a new position as an Assistant Professor of Science Education in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-Columbia.