Light refreshments available at 11:45 a.m. This presentation is followed by a one-hour discussion with graduate students and post-docs in 115 Erickson at 1:15 p.m.
Title: Opening up Empirical Investigations in the Elementary Classroom
Assistant professor of Science Education, Boston University
To engage young students in rich approximations of scientific practice, we must increase their opportunities to make sense of scientific explanations and the empirical evidence that supports these explanations. The investigations provided in widely used commercial science curricula typically cut off opportunities for students to consider and debate important aspects of empirical work, including what to attend to, how to assemble variables and their relations as models, or how to interpret findings in light of how the model represents the phenomenon. In this talk, I will engage the audience in thinking about what it might take to develop an elementary science curriculum that productively opens the design and conduct of empirical investigations to student sense-making. To do so, I will explore four questions: What are some key junctures for opening up empirical work? What kinds of sense-making do we see at these junctures? What aspects of the learning environment make this sense-making accessible for young students? What do teachers need to know and be able to do to support students?
About the Speaker:
Eve Manz is Assistant Professor of Education specializing in Science Education. Her research focuses on the development of epistemic practices in mathematics and science; that is, supporting students to participate in making and using knowledge in powerful, disciplinary ways. She seeks to understand how to design learning environments so that practices such as modeling, experimentation, and argumentation are meaningful and useful for elementary school students. She also analyzes how these practices contribute to the development of content knowledge.
Dr. Manz works closely with elementary level in-service and preservice teachers to design curriculum and test new approaches for engaging young students in science. She draws from her experience teaching elementary school and directing curriculum development for the Eli Whitney Museum, a science and engineering workshop in Hamden, CT.