Tag Archives: elementary science

MoHSES project capstone research published

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.

Baumfalk, B., Bhattacharya, D., Vo, T., Forbes, C.T., Zangori, L., & Schwarz, C. (2019).  Impact of model-based curriculum and instruction on 3rd-grade students’ scientific explanations for the hydrosphere. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 56(5), 570-597.

Research published on elementary students’ reasoning about food systems

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.

Brandt, M., Forbes, C.T., & Keshwani, J. (2017). Exploring elementary students’ scientific knowledge of agriculture using Evidence-Centered Design. Journal of Agricultural Education, 58(3), 134-149.

MoHSES project research published in IJSE

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.

Zangori, L., Vo, T., Forbes, C.T., & Schwarz, C. (2017).  Supporting 3rd-grade students’ model-based explanations about groundwater: A quasi-experimental study of a curricular intervention.  In International Journal of Science Education, 39(11), 1421-1442.

 

Wrapping up the Nebraska WETS Project

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.  IMG_7551

Molly Brandt, M.A.S.

Congratulations to Molly Brandt for successfully defending her thesis study, entitled, “Exploring Elementary Students’ Agricultural and Scientific Knowledge using Evidence-Centered Design”.  For the past two years, Molly has worked as a graduate assistant with the Science Literacy Initiative on STEM education projects supported with funding from USDA-NIFA and National Agriculture in the Classroom program.  Her work involved developing and pilot testing assessment instruments to measure STEM-based agricultural literacy outcomes using interviews and assessment data from over 400 elementary students in school districts in Nebraska.   It has been a pleasure to work with Molly as both project PI and her advisor. Molly’s thesis study was conducted in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Applied Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.  Her committee members included Drs. Krista Adams from Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education and Jennifer Keshwani from Biological Systems Engineering.Molly's defense 6

2015 Nebraska WETS Workshop Series

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.  NE WETS Summer 2015

Laura Zangori, Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Laura Zangori for successfully defending her dissertaIMG_7407tion 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.

Article published in International Journal of Science Education

A new paper was published in the September issue of the International Journal of Science Education.

Forbes, C.T., Lange, K., Möller, K., Biggers, M., Laux, M., & Zangori, L. (2014). Explanation-construction in 4th-grade classrooms in Germany and the United States: A cross-national comparative video study. International Journal of Science Education, 36(14), 2367-2390.

This research involved a comparative study of 4th-grade classrooms in the U.S. and Germany involving samples of videorecorded science instruction around a variety of topics.  We used the P-SOP instrument to characterize scientific practices and processes of inquiry in which students were observed taking part.  While there were many similarities between the nature of science teaching and learning in classrooms in the two countries, we also found key differences in how students were afforded opportunities to formulate scientific explanations, a crucial scientific practice highlighted in the Next Generation Science Standards.  This study was a wonderful opportunity to extend the impact of PIESC3 project through an very fulfilling and enjoyable collaboration with colleagues from the University of Münster in Germany.  I thank Kim Lange, Kornelia Möller, and Mira Laux for their contributions and collegiality.  I look forward to continuing to work together on issues related to elementary science.

 

Article published in Science Education

A new paper was published in the July issue of Science Education.

Zangori, L. & Forbes, C.T. (2014). Scientific practices in elementary classrooms: 3rd-grade students’ scientific explanations for seed structure and function. Science Education, 98(4), 614-639.

This research focuses on 3rd-grade students’ scientific explanations for plant-related phenomena as part of the FOSS Structures of Life curriculum module across multiple classrooms.  Drawing from a diverse array of data, the study explores connections between teachers’ conceptions, their observed instructional practices, and student.  The study provides evidence that teachers’ professional ideas and pedagogical reasoning about evidence-based explanation in science – a crucial scientific practice highlighted in the Next Generation Science Standards – play an important role in their instructional practices to support students’ explanation-construction in the classroom.

2014 MoHSES summer workshop

IMG_6179This month the MoHSES team had the wonderful opportunity to work with a fantastic group of 7 3rd-grade teachers who have been involved in the MoHSES project over the past two years.  The collaborative workshops were held at the Grant Wood Area Education Agency in Coralville, Iowa where we spent a few days talking and thinking about supporting elementary students’ use of models to make sense of the water cycle.  We are incredibly lucky to be working with such a knowledgeable and engaged group of teachers as partners and co-designers in this exciting project.