This past week I traveled to Kiel, Germany, to begin work on my Fulbright-related research. This work focuses on data from the 2015 administration of the The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), in which 28 million 15-year-old (secondary) students in 72 countries completed the PISA. In 2015, the focus of the PISA was science, with approximately half of the assessment devoted to science items. We are exploring observed relationships between student achievement as related to scientific literacy outcomes and reported instructional practices of high school science teachers. A special thanks to Knut Nuemann for hosting me at the IPN Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Kiel and to and Anja Schiepe-Tiska, from the Centre for International Student Assessment (ZIB) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), for traveling to Kiel for a few days to work with us. I very much look forward to the ongoing collaboration on this important work.
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.
Core empirical results from the PIESC3 project were published this year in three journal articles:
Biggers, M., Forbes, C.T. , & Zangori, L. (2013). Elementary teachers’ curriculum design and pedagogical reasoning for supporting students’ comparison and evaluation of evidence-based explanations. The Elementary School Journal, 114(1), 48-72.
Forbes, C.T., Biggers, M., & Zangori, L. (2013). Investigating essential characteristics of scientific practices in elementary science learning environments: The Practices of Science Observation Protocol (P-SOP). School Science and Mathematics, 113(4), 180-190.
Zangori, L., Forbes, C.T., & Biggers, M. (2013). Fostering student sense-making in elementary science learning environments: Elementary teachers’ use of science curriculum materials to promote explanation-construction. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 50(8), 887-1017.
Each of these studies involves the use of our newly-developed observation protocol, the P-SOP, to investigate inquiry practices in elementary classrooms. The paper in School Science and Mathematics details the development and testing of the P-SOP, as well as a comparison of features of inquiry evident in observed elementary science instruction. The other two articles are mixed-methods studies using the P-SOP explore opportunities afforded students to formulate and evaluate evidence-based explanations.
Zangori, L. & Forbes, C.T. (2013). Preservice elementary teachers and explanation construction: Knowledge-for-practice and knowledge-in-practice. Science Education, 97(2), 310-330.
This research are part of a larger study of preservice elementary teachers’ learning to use science curriculum materials to teach science as inquiry (Biggers & Forbes, 2012; Forbes, 2013; 2011; Forbes & Davis, 2010). The findings presented in this article build upon these previous studies to illustrate how preservice elementary teachers both conceptualize and learn to support students’ explanation-construction in elementary classrooms.
Biggers, M. & Forbes, C.T. (2012). Balancing teacher and student roles in elementary classrooms: Preservice elementary teachers’ ideas about the inquiry continuum. International Journal of Science Education, 34(14), 2205-2229.
This research are part of a larger study of preservice elementary teachers’ learning to use science curriculum materials to teach science as inquiry (Forbes, 2011; Forbes & Davis, 2010). The findings presented in this article build upon these previous studies to illustrate how preservice elementary teachers conceptualize the continuum from more student-directed to teacher-directed inquiry and use it to make instructional decisions for science.
A paper from the PIESC3 group has just been published in the September issue of Science and Children. The article outlines and describes accessible strategies for modifying existing science lessons and to better engage students in ‘science as ‘ and .
Zangori, L., Forbes, C., & Biggers, M. (2012). This is inquiry…right? Strategies for effectively adapting elementary science lessons. Science and Children, 50(1), 48-53.
These strategies have been developed, used, and refined through almost 10 years of work with both preservice and inservice elementary teachers as part of the CASES and PIESC3 project research. We are excited to share them with many more teachers through Science and Children!
A manuscript from my dissertation study has been published in the September issue of Science Education. This article extends previous published findings from a larger study of preservice ‘ adaptation of science . I report findings that explore explore preservice teachers’ reasoning about the use of science curriculum materials to engage early learners in science-as- .
Forbes, C.T. (2011). Preservice elementary teachers’ adaptation of science curriculum materials for inquiry-based elementary science. Science Education, 95(5), 927-955.
A paper from my masters thesis study has just been published in the January issue of the Journal of Environmental Education. The survey-based study focuses on practicing ‘ beliefs about, perceived competencies for, and reported use of scientific to promote students’ learning about environmental issues and developing scientific literacy.
Forbes, C.T. & Zint, M. (2011). Elementary teachers’ beliefs about, perceived competencies for, and reported use of scientific inquiry to promote student learning about and for the environment. Journal of Environmental Education, 42(1), 30-42.
A paper from my dissertation study has just been published in the September issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. The study focuses on preservice ’ adaptation of science . Specifically, we investigated the ways in which these preservice teachers adapt existing elementary science , whether or not they are able to adapt individual lessons to be more -based, and relationships between the , their curriculum design decisions, and curriculum design outcomes.
Forbes, C.T. & Davis, E.A. (2010). Curriculum design for inquiry: Preservice elementary teachers’ mobilization and adaptation of science curriculum materials. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(7), 365-387.