June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Pre-College Engineering Education
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) reimagine science education wherein student learning and performance result from combination of active engagement in authentic practices of science and engineering with applications of crosscutting concepts to elucidate core disciplinary ideas. The NGSS proposed eight scientific and engineering practices (SEPs) to reformulate classroom instruction: ask questions and define problems; develop and use models; plan and carry out investigations; analyze and interpret data; use mathematics and computational thinking; construct explanations and design solutions; engage in argument from evidence; and obtain, evaluate, and communicate information. The SEPs can be leveraged by teachers when incorporating technology into instructional planning and implementation for students’ deep understanding and meaningful learning experiences. However, teachers often express concern about their lack of understanding of technology use in the context of science teaching and learning.
Recently, we developed and conducted professional development (PD) workshops on using robotics to create a supportive environment for teachers to experience the use of robotics for classroom teaching and to lower their apprehension about its classroom integration. The PD workshops were facilitated by engineering and education researchers with robotics expertise. Through the PD, participants were expected to deepen their self-efficacy in Technological, Pedagogical, Content Knowledge and develop NGSS-aligned lessons using robotic kits. They developed lessons to integrate technology and sought feedback from peers on their viability. Over three years, 43 teachers participated; however, this paper focuses on case studies of four science teachers to provide a picture of how NGSS-based instructional practices are embodied in middle school science classrooms. We examine which SEPs are in use and which are less frequently enacted and the challenges teachers encounter in lesson implementation. Specifically, we examine two research questions. 1) How did teachers integrate the SEPs in classrooms as they enacted robotics-integrated science lessons? 2) What limitations in teacher or student understandings were observed or reported by teachers that may be potential barriers to teachers incorporating the SEPs in classrooms when using robotics-based lessons?
Our findings indicate teachers’ instruction did not cover all the NGSS recommended practices. For example, “modeling” was not used even though it is one of the effective teaching practices. However, students learned science by active engagement in hypotheses testing by gathering empirical evidence and sharing ideas with teachers through questioning, which advanced students’ conceptual understanding. Their use of scientific words, question generation, and documentation of results familiarized students with the scientific inquiry process. For four lessons, the paper will detail observations and analysis performed in a deductive manner. The results of follow-up interviews of the participants will also be included. This study addresses a void in the research linking the NGSS-based teaching practices using a technology tool in science classrooms. Through the findings, we can understand how teachers who previously engaged in the robotics-integrated PD employed desirable teaching practices and what additional scaffolds may make them more comfortable with the integration of technology. This study will provide insights for teachers, educators, instructional coaches, PD leaders, and researchers as the field begins full implementation of the NGSS.
You, H. S., & Chacko, S. M., & Kapila, V. (2019, June), Teaching Science with Technology: Scientific and Engineering Practices of Middle School Science Teachers Engaged in a Robot-Integrated Professional Development Program (Fundamental) Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/33353
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