Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 11

The Braund reading expressed an interest in increasing out-of-school science learning to avoid the stigma that science, which at the secondary level is experienced in school, is “boring, irrelevant, and outdated.” Interacting with scientific ideas in the real world, such as through the Internet, television, or print media, or by experiencing zoos, gardens, and parks, authentically connects the science learned in the classroom to real life applications. The researchers believed that students were more excited about scientific concepts when they were able to interact with them in fun, real-life environments. It also gives students the chance to interact with materials that the schools themselves otherwise would not be able to afford or provide. The authors support, and I agree with, the idea that classroom laboratory models are beneficial to student learning. However, after reading this article I also would argue that there are models that due to expense, size, or feasibility, cannot be done in a classroom or laboratory, but are still useful to students’ learning and should be made as accessible as possible.

The Quinn reading introduced a new method for science education, design-make-play (DMP). This method emphasized a project, with a target for learning in mind, achieved by working in a group to design the project, make it, and use it. The authors emphasized the importance of students making projects from personal interests. This links back to the Braund reading because Quinn et al. suggests that students interact with science in the world around them to discover interests to investigate in a project. DMP is an interesting method in my opinion because it  encourages students to take an active interest in science, but also reinforces content area goals and encourages socialization in the classroom in what is an inherently social subject. I could see it potentially failing if students don't have the prior knowledge or resources necessary to take the initiation to develop an entire project themselves, but I think the method can be scaffolded to help ease the burden. 


  1. WRT your last sentence, I think that potential failure is why the K-12 framework is so important, setting students up for success in the future by adequately preparing them with the necessary DMP skills early on. Sometimes depending on the skillsets that the children bring does fail. It is hard to plan a bunch of failsafes, etc. but I think the point of the whole framework is definitely to take even these failures as they come and construct the knowledge bases in the most positive way possible.

  2. I think your comments about potential for failure are spot on, as well as your comment about scaffolding. As teachers, the burden is on us to equip and inspire our students to explore. This will probably to contrary to the dictatorial information giver role that teachers often play at all levels of school. But until the whole schooling system changes, I imagine we will have to find ways to combat students' misconceptions about science in the classroom.

  3. Interesting thoughts about scaffolding. I remember Braund mentioned that some students may not necessarily benefit from less conventional learning opportunities because they are accustomed to highly structured lessons- in other words, they may have "learned helplessness". Therefore it may be necessary to scaffold students so that they eventually recognize that fun interactions can also be a source of knowledge.