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Cooperative learning about nature of science with a case from the history of science


Wolfensberger, Balz; Canella, Claudia (2015). Cooperative learning about nature of science with a case from the history of science. International Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 10(6):865-889.

Abstract

This paper reports a predominantly qualitative classroom study on cooperative learning about nature of science (NOS) using a case from the history of science. The purpose of the research was to gain insight into how students worked with the historical case study during cooperative group work, how students and teachers assessed the teaching unit, and in what ways students’ ideas about selected aspects of NOS changed as a result of the teaching unit.
In cooperation with two biology teachers, a four-lesson teaching unit about NOS and the early research on Archaeopteryx was developed, field-tested, modified, and tested again. Altogether, five classes of 10th and 11th grade students from two Swiss schools participated. Data were collected by videotaping group work, interviews with student groups and teachers, questionnaires, and pre- and post-tests about NOS conceptions.
Results show that group work was mostly of good quality, both with regard to students’ cooperation and understanding of the case study. Second, both the topic and the instructional design of the unit were judged very positively. Third, students showed more informed views on the selected target NOS aspects after the teaching unit. The paper ends with conclusions regarding teaching and learning about NOS, cooperative learning and questions for future research.

Abstract

This paper reports a predominantly qualitative classroom study on cooperative learning about nature of science (NOS) using a case from the history of science. The purpose of the research was to gain insight into how students worked with the historical case study during cooperative group work, how students and teachers assessed the teaching unit, and in what ways students’ ideas about selected aspects of NOS changed as a result of the teaching unit.
In cooperation with two biology teachers, a four-lesson teaching unit about NOS and the early research on Archaeopteryx was developed, field-tested, modified, and tested again. Altogether, five classes of 10th and 11th grade students from two Swiss schools participated. Data were collected by videotaping group work, interviews with student groups and teachers, questionnaires, and pre- and post-tests about NOS conceptions.
Results show that group work was mostly of good quality, both with regard to students’ cooperation and understanding of the case study. Second, both the topic and the instructional design of the unit were judged very positively. Third, students showed more informed views on the selected target NOS aspects after the teaching unit. The paper ends with conclusions regarding teaching and learning about NOS, cooperative learning and questions for future research.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Complementary Medicine
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Education
Dewey Decimal Classification:370 Education
Uncontrolled Keywords:Nature of science, History of science, Archaeopteryx, Classroom-based research, Cooperative Learning
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:23 Nov 2015 12:03
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 00:57
Publisher:IJESE
ISSN:1306-3065
Funders:Schweizerischer Nationalfonds
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.12973/ijese.2015.281a
Related URLs:http://www.swisseduc.ch/biologie/archaeopteryx/index.html (Organisation)
http://iserjournals.com/journals/ijese/articles/10.12973/ijese.2015.281a

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