How Students Learn - Science in the Classroom
M. Suzanne Donovan and John D. Bransford

1.0 Introduction

4.0 Principle #1: Engaging Prior Understandings
4.1 - new understandings are constructed on a foundation of existing understandings and experiences.
5.1 - While prior learning is a powerful support for further learning, it can also lead to the development of conceptions that can act as barriers to learning.
6.0 - Principle #2: The essential role of factual knowledge and conceptual frameworks in understanding
7.1 - knowledge of facts and knowledge of important organizing ideas are mutually supportive. Studies of experts and novicesin chess, engineering, and many other domainsdemonstrate that experts know considerably more relevant detail than novices in tasks within their domain and have better memory for these details (see Box 1-4). But the reason they remember more is that what novices see as separate pieces of information, experts see as organized sets of ideas.
7.2 - Using concepts to organize information stored in memory allows for much more effective retrieval and application.
7.2 - Memory of factual knowledge is enhanced by conceptual knowledge, and conceptual knowledge is clarified as it is used to help organize constellations of important details. Teaching for understanding, then, requires that the core concepts such as adaptation that organize the knowledge of experts also organize instruction
10.0 - Principle #3: The Importance of Self-Monitoring
10.1 - Helping students become effective learners is at the heart of the third key principle: a metacognitiveor self-monitoring approach can help students develop the ability to take control of their own learning,
12.3 - Learning Environments and the Design of Instruction
13.1 - 4 design characteristics:

The learner-centered lens encourages attention to preconceptions, and begins instruction with what students think and know.The knowledge-centered lens focuses on what is to be taught, why it is taught, and what mastery looks like.The assessment-centered lens emphasizes the need to provide frequent opportunities to make studentsthinking and learning visible as a guide for both the teacher and the student in learning and instruction.The community-centered lens encourages a culture of questioning, respect, and risk taking.14.3 - Being learner-centered, then, involves paying attention to studentsbackgrounds and cultural values, as well as to their abilities.
14.4 - the knowledge-centered aspects focus on what is taught (subject matter), why it is taught (understanding), how the knowledge should be organized to support the development of expertise (curriculum), and what competence or mastery looks like (learning goals).
15.2 - Research on expertise shows that it is the organization of knowledge that underlies expertsabilities to understand and solve problems.
16.1 - identifying a set of enduring connected ideasis critical to effective educational design, it is a task not just for teachers, but also for the developers of curricula, text books, and other instructional materials;
16.1 - an American Association for the Advancement of Science review of middle school and high school science textbooks found that although a great deal of detailed and sophisticated material was presented, very little attention was given to the concepts that support an understanding of the discipline.
16.3 - Assessments are a central feature of both a learner-centered and a knowledge-centered classroom. They permit the teacher to grasp studentspreconceptions, which is critical to working with and building on those notions. Once the knowledge to be learned is well defined, assessment is required to monitor student progress (in mastering concepts as well as factual information), to understand where students are in the developmental path from informal to formal thinking, and to design instruction that is responsive to student progress.
17.1 - students need to develop metacognitive abilitiesthe habits of mind necessary to assess their own progressrather than relying solely on external indicators. A number of studies show that achievement improves when students are encouraged to assess their own contributions and work
17.2 - Early activities or problems given to students are designed to make student thinking public and, therefore, observable by teachers.
20.0 - Learning is influenced in fundamental ways by the context in which it takes place. Every community, including classrooms and schools, operates with a set of norms, a cultureexplicit or implicitthat influences interactions among individuals. This culture, in turn, mediates learning.
21.3 - Intent and Organization of This Volume
21.3 - The goal is to provide for teachers what we have argued above is critical to effective learningthe application of concepts (about learning) in enough different, concrete contexts to give them deeper meaning.


397 - Scientific Inquiry and How People Learn - Bransford and Donovan

397.1 - Many of us learned science in school by studying textbooks that reported the conclusions of what scientists have learned over the decades. To know science meant to know the definitions of scientific terms and important discoveries of the past. To be good at science meant to reproduce such information as accurately and completely as possible. The focus of this kind of instruction was on what scientists know.
397.2 - Of course, many of us were also introduced to “the scientific method.” This typically involved some variation on steps such as “formulate a hypothesis, devise a way to test the hypothesis, conduct your test, form conclusions based on your findings, and communicate what you have found.” This emphasis on the scientific method was designed to provide insights into how
scientists know.
397.2 - Much of this science instruction—both the “what” and the “how”—was inconsistent with the principles highlighted in
How People Learn.
398.0 - The new guidelines include an emphasis on helping students develop (1) familiarity with a disciplines concepts, theories, and models; (2) an understanding of how knowledge is generated and justified; and (3) an ability to use these understandings to engage in new inquiry.1 At first glance, the traditional science instruction described above appears to fit these guidelines quite well.
398.1 - Simply telling students what scientists have discovered, for example, is not sufficient to support change in their existing preconceptions about important scientific phenomena.2 Similarly, simply asking students to follow the steps of the scientific methodis not sufficient to help them develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will enable them to understand what it means to do scienceand participate in a larger scientific community. And the general absence of metacognitive instruction in most of the science curricula we experienced meant that we were not helped in learning how to learn, or made capable of inquiry on our own and in groups.
398.3 - They approach these topics in ways that support studentsabilities to (1) learn new concepts and theories with understanding; (2)
experience the processes of inquiry (including hypothesis generation, modeling, tool use, and social collaboration) that are key elements of the culture of science; and (3) reflect metacognitively on their own thinking and participation in scientific inquiry.
399 - Principle #1: Addressing Preconceptions
399.1 - With respect to science, everyday experiences often reinforce the very conceptions of phenomena that scientists have shown to be limited or false, and everyday modes of reasoning are often contrary to scientific reasoning.
399.4 - there is a widespread belief that the earths seasons are caused by the distance of the earth from the sun rather than by the angle of the earths axis with respect to the sun, and it is very difficult for students to change these preconceptions
400.4 - How People Learn emphasizes that instruction in any subject matter that does not explicitly address studentseveryday onceptions typically fails to help them refine or replace these conceptions with others that are scientifically more accurate.
401.2 - teaching students about abstract principles of physics provided no bridge for changing their preconceptions. - designing instruction to respond to those preconceptions
403.1 - Interpretation of Data:
Students of all ages show a tendency to uncritically infer cause from correlations.18 Some students think even a single co-occurance of antecedent and outcome is always sufficient to infer causality.
403 - Principle #2: Knowledge of What it Means To "Do Science"
405.0 - it can be easy to emphasize giving students recipes for experiments”—hands-on activities that students engage in step by step, carefully following instructions, using measurement tools, and collecting data. These lockstep approaches shortchange observation, imagination, and reasoning.
405.1 - students learn the content by actively engaging in processes of scientific inquiry. Students may still learn what others have discovered about a phenomenon - Reading to answer a question of interest is more motivating than simply reading because someone assigned it. It also changes how people process what they read.
406.1 - One of the most important aspects of scienceyet perhaps one of the least emphasized in instructionis that science involves processes of imagination.
406.2 - Generating hypotheses worth investigating was for Einstein an extremely important part of science, where the imagination of the possibleplayed a major role.
406.4 - This very engaging dimension of the scientific enterprise is hidden when studentsinquiry experience is limited to the execution of step-by-step experiments.
407.0 - Students reason about relationships between theory and data. Furthermore, they do so by creating classroom communities that simulate the important roles of scientific communities in actual scientific practice.29 This involves paying careful attention to the arguments of others, as well as learning the benefits of group interaction for advancing ones own thinking.
407 - Principle #3 Metacognition
407.4 - emphasize helping students reflect on their role in inquiry and on the monitoring and critiquing of ones own claims, as well as those of others.
410.1 - Magnusson and Palincsar provide excellent examples of how metacognitive habits of mind for science require different kinds of questions than people typically ask about everyday phenomena.
411.0 - Engaging children in science, then, means engaging them in a whole new approach to questioning. Indeed, it means asking them to question.
411.1 - Helping students understand the tendency of us all to attempt to confirm rather than rigorously test (and possibly refute) our current assumptions is one example of a metacognitive approach to science instruction. The approach is deepened when we help students learn why and how to create models of phenomena (especially the invisible aspects of phenomena) that can then be put to an empirical test.
414.0 - Learner Centered
414.1 - students bring preconceptions to class that can shape (or misshape) learning if not addressed. These chapters engage studentsideas so that they can be reexamined, reshaped, and built upon.
414.2 - Knowledge Centered
414.3 - Simply having students follow the scientific methodprobably introduces more misconceptions about science than it dispels. First, different areas of science use different methods. Second, as discussed above, lockstep approaches to conducting science experiments exclude the aspects of science that are probably the most gratifying and motivating to scientistsgenerating good questions and ways to explore them
415.0 - Assessment Centered
415.1 - Discussions in class help support the idea of a learning communityas involving people who can argue with grace, rather than people who all agree with one another
426.1 - Engaging children in science, then, means engaging them in a whole new approach to questioning. Indeed, it means asking
them to question in ways most of us do not in daily life. It means questioning the typical assurance we feel from evidence that confirms our prior beliefs, and asking in what ways the evidence is incomplete and may be countered by additional evidence. To develop thinking in this way is a major instructional challenge for science teaching.
426.2 - Inquiry that is designed to occur over weeks and allows students to work with many different materials can provide that experience. The opportunity for repeated cycles of investigation allows students to ask the same questions in new contexts and new questions in
increasingly understood contexts as they work to bring their understanding of the world in line with what scientists think. Equally important, participation in well-designed guided-inquiry instruction provides students with a first-hand experience of the norms of conducting scientific investigation.
426.3 - But inquiry is a time- and resource-intensive activity, and student investigations do not always lead to observations and experiences that support the targeted knowledge. Therefore, we combine first-hand investigations with second-hand investigations in which students work with the notebook of a fictitious scientist to see where her inquiry, supported by more sophisticated tools, led.
427.1 - Reporting
is a key phase in this conception of instruction; it is the occasion when groups of students report the results of their investigations to their classmates. Students are expected to report on knowledge claims they feel confident in making and providing evidence for those claims from the data they collected during investigation. This expectation lends accountability to studentsinvestigative activity that is often absent when they are simply expected to observe phenomena. To make a claim, students will need precise and accurate data, and to have a claim that is meaningful to the class, they will need to understand the relationship between the question that prompted investigation and the way in which their investigation has enabled them to come up with an answer.

A_cycle_of_Guided_Inquiry_Science.JPG
428.1 - Multiple lines leading from one phase to another indicate the two basic emphases of investigative activity in science: generating knowledge that describes how the world works (outer loop), and generating and testing theories to explain those relationships (inner loop). The reporting phase always marks the end of a cycle of inquiry, at which point a decision is made about whether to engage in another cycle with the same question and investigative context, or to re-engage with a novel investigative context or a new question.
428.4 - The Engage Phase
428.4 - to maximize the value of having students identify what they know, teachers should invite students to identify how they have come to know the topic area. Doing so can develop studentsawareness that knowingcan mean different things.
429.2 - The next step in engagement is to begin to focus the conversation about the topic of study in ways that are likely to support the learning goals. For example, showing students the kinds of materials and equipment available for investigating can lead to a productive conversation about phenomena they can explore.
430.1 - At the end of engagement, the students should have a sense of a general question they are trying to answer (e.g., How does light interact with matter?), and should have identified a particular question or questions to be the focus of the first cycle of investigation. To this end, a teacher might (1) focus the class on a particular phenomenon to study and have them suggest specific questions
431.2 - Example: students were given a written assessment about light, presented as an opportunity for them to identify their current thinking about the nature and behavior of light. After reviewing studentsresponses, Ms. Lacey wrote statements on the board indicating the variety of ideas the class held about light. The variation in views of light exhibited by the students provided a reason to investigate to determine the accuracy of the ideas and the relationships among them.
434.2 - using the engagement phase to gain knowledge about the conceptual resources students bring to instruction is just the first step. As the knowledge-building process unfolds in subsequent phases, paying attention to how students use those ideas, promoting the use of particular ideas over others, and introducing new ideas are key.
434.3 - Prepare-to-Investigate Phase
434.3 - using the engagement phase to gain knowledge about the conceptual resources students bring to instruction is just the first step. As the knowledge-building process unfolds in subsequent phases, paying attention to how students use those ideas, promoting the use of particular ideas over others, and introducing new ideas are key. If the teacher presents a question, it is important that this be done in a way that involves the children in discussion aboutwhy the question is important and relevant to understanding the broader topic of inquiry. This discussion provides an opportunity to signal the role of questions in scientific investigation and prompts the metacognitive activity that is the hallmark of any good reasoning. If students suggest a question, or the teacher and students together generate the question, it is still important to check the studentsunderstanding about how the question is relevant to the topic of study.
434.4 - Once a question has been specified, attention can turn to determining how the question will be investigated.
435.0 - there is evidence that children can think meaningfully about issues of methodology in investigation.17 Nevertheless, it is always important for the teacher to check studentsunderstandings about why
particular approaches and procedures are useful to answering the question.
435.1 - A critical aspect of preparing to investigate is determining with students what they will document and how during their investigation and promoting and illustrating the use of drawings to show investigative setups.
435.2 - If the amount of data collection has been left undefined, the students will need to consider how they will know when they have collected enough data. Students may find they need to collect more data to have sufficient amounts to convince their classmates of their claim in comparison with what they might have found convincing. Finally, it will be important to have students discuss how to document observations so they are accurate, precise, and informative.
435.3 - When students are working in groups, assigning them roles can be helpful in supporting them in working together effectively. -

e.g: Equipment Manager, Timekeeper,18 and Recorder - having the required materials does not mean that students will use them effectively; it is necessary to monitor that the correct procedures are being carried out and with care.
436.2 - how data will be recorded. At times it may be best to provide a table and simply have students discuss how they will use it and why it is a useful way to organize their data. At other times it may be best to have the class generate a list of possible means for recording data. Sometimes it may be sufficient to indicate that students should be sure to record their observations in their notebooks, and have the students in their groups decide what approach is best for recording their observations.
438.3 - The Investigative Phase
438.3 - In this phase, students interact with the physical world, document their observations, and think about what these observations mean about the physical world. The teachers role is to monitor studentsuse of materials and interactions with others (e.g., in small groups), as well as attend to the conceptual ideas with which students are working and the ways in which their thinking is similar and different from that of their classmates.
439.2 - The teacher determines whether and when to prompt studentsawareness of the ways in which their prior knowledge may be influencing their observations. Since it is important for the development of metacognition that students be in the drivers seatand not simply follow the teachers directions, determining whether, when, and how to provide feedback is critical. If the teacher judges that the studentsactivity is so off the mark that the targeted learning goals will be sacrificed, it is critical to provide prompt corrective feedback.
439.2 -