Critical Design Decisions for Successful Model-Based Inquiry in Science Classrooms

Ronald W. Rinehart, Ravit Golan Duncan, Clark A. Chinn, Trudy A. Atkins, Jessica DiBenedetti, International Journal of Designs for Learning, Jun 30, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I like this post because it embraces a much more contemporary account of scientific work than most typical research in learning and design. The traditional account "often lacks the social epistemic practices embraced by scientists that are integral to the production of knowledge." But through reference to documents such as Next Generation Science
Standards [NGSS] along with reference to writers I have found personally influential, such as Ronald Giere and Philip Kitcher, the authors embrace an account of science as a "combination of evaluating evidence, coordinating evidence and models, and arriving at evidence-based judgments that are communicated through argumentation." They refer to the corresponding pedagogical approach as "modeling or model-based inquiry." OK, that's just the introduction. The paper presents a case including two lessons designed according to the Promoting Reasoning and Conceptual Change in Science (PRACCIS) model. Guidelines are described for choosing phenomena to be studied, developing models, developing evidence, and productive disciplinary engagement. This is a terrific paper, carefully considered and thought out, clear and insightful. Don't miss it. More from this IJDL special issue on K-12 Classroom Implementation.

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