NARST Annual International Conference


Sunday, March 30, 2014 (All day) to Wednesday, April 2, 2014 (All day)



AWAKENING DIALOGUES — Advancing Science Education Research Practices and Policies
Presentations by CREATE for STEM faculty, post-docs, visiting scholars and students


Using the Framework to Design Assessments of Modeling in Physical and Earth Science

Angela H. DeBarger, SRI International,

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University

Christopher J. Harris, SRI International


Related Paper Set–Using the Framework to Guide Evaluation of Curriculum Materials in Diverse Urban Middle Schools


It is widely expected that the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) will influence science education for years to come. This paper set explores the efforts of a research team that is using the Framework and recently released NGSS to study the efficacy of a middle school science curriculum in a diverse urban school district. The curriculum, with features that align with the new standards, presents an early opportunity for researchers to study implementation, including impact on learning outcomes and instructional practice, using measures of science teaching and learning that takeinto account the proficiencies implied in the Framework and

NGSS. The four related papers in this set focus on (1) designing assessments that integrate content and practice, (2) examining the role of classroom discourse in supporting students’participation in science practice, (3) studying teachers’ implementation of curricular units designed to engage students in science practice, and (4) exploring teacher sense-making of new standards via professional development. Together, these papers are important for moving us toward increased understanding of how to meaningfully study and support teaching and learning in diverse classrooms that will be trying to implement the next generation of science curriculum materials.


Analysis of Students' Models of Electric Interactions and Atomic Structure

Kristin Mayer, Michigan State University,

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University


A model of the atom that is based on an understanding of electric interactions can serve as a powerful tool for explaining and predicting phenomena across disciplines. Unfortunately, students generally have a simple, incomplete model of the atom and do not use electric interactions to explain or make predictions about how atoms or molecules interact with each other. Scientific modeling is a key practice across science disciplines. In science, models are useful for explaining and making predictions about phenomena by depicting relationships between various components or variables involved in a variety of observations or interactions. Scientific modeling is a complex practice and it is important to study how students develop their understanding of scientific modeling in a variety of domains since the practice cannot be separated from the content. In this research we analyzed students’ models of electric interactions and atomic structure and their responses to interview questions to determine how well students were able to use their models to make predictions and explain phenomena. We found that some students developed rich models, but many students did not include repulsive interactions in their models and could not relate their models of atomic structure to evidence.


Characteristics and Strategies Symposium –Reconceptualizing High School Chemistry Based on Authentic Practices

Presider: Hannah Sevian, University of Massachusetts, Boston


Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University

Hannah Sevian, University of Massachusetts Boston

Vicente A. Talanquer, University of Arizona

Astrid M. W. Bulte, Utrecht University

Ilka Parchmann, University of Keil

Ron Blonder, The Weizmann Institute of Science

Deborah Herrington, Grand Valley State University

Marissa S. Rollnick, Wits University

Myunghwan Shin, Michigan State University

Tali Tal, Technion


Conventional approaches to teaching chemistry tend to present the discipline as a collection of facts and concepts. However, memorizing vocabulary, rules, and mechanics of using models does not give students "chemical lenses" that are core ideas in chemistry through which they can interpret and reason about issues and phenomena in the world around them. But, integrating the major purposes of the chemical enterprise can engage students in learning how to pose and answer questions that reflect authentic chemical concerns. To change tradition requires developing coherence across educational components and including all necessary stakeholders. The goal of this symposium is to highlight necessary elements of updating secondary chemistry education to orient toward the use of motivating contexts for chemical thinking. The symposium makes theoretical cases for chemistry as a technoscience that blends scientific pursuit with technological goals, and for why students' engagement in purposeful activity can provide motivation for learning chemistry. The symposium then considers main areas of activity that must be addressed in order to implement modern context into chemistry education, including teacher education, students' and parents' awareness, curriculum development, and standards and assessment. Discussion includes synthesis and challenges for next steps.


The Development of a Learning Progression on Energy for a General Chemistry Course

Melanie M. Cooper, Michigan State University,

Michael W. Klymkowsky, University of Colorado

Nicole M. Becker, Michigan State University


How Teachers Support Students' Using and Building Models Using Computer--based Material?

Jane J. Lee, Michigan State University,

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University


The purpose of this study is to investigate how teacher support students in building models using computer-based material and what affects their teaching practice. In this proposal, we selected two teachers and focused on their instructional moves in on one of their science classes. We collected various data and went through of recursive propose looking for patterns in one data source and confirming the pattern using other data sources. We found that teachers utilized the computer-based materials as a tool to connect various science ideas to help student build and revise their models. It was critical to help students link the interpretation of simulation data to the phenomena that they saw and apply these ideas to build or revise models. Using the feature of technology, teachers could check students’ model in real-time and use them to led class discussion. From the class discussions, students could start to support one model over another and revisited their previous model for further development. From this study, we found that students’ modeling can support students’ engagement not only in the practice of building and revising modeling but in scientific practices such as argumentation, using of ideas and the sharing of ideas.


What Do Students' Explanations Look Like When They Only Use Peer Generated Data?

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University,

Ibrahim Delen, Michigan State University,

Wan-Tzu Lo, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Alex Kuhn, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Steven Mcgee, Northwestern University

Jennifer Duck, The Learning Partnership

Chris Quintana, University of Michigan


Explanations studies underlined importance of using evidence in support of claims. However, few studies focused on students’ use of peer generated data in this process. In this study, students collected data from a local water source and then bring those data back to the classroom to create scientific explanations by using claim-evidence-reasoning model on a new mobile application called Zydeco. A middle school science teacher from a Midwest town participated with four sixth grade classes (n=109). After collecting their own data, students created explanations by analyzing the data they collected, and comparing the data they collected with an existing data collected by another school (peer generated data). By comparing the health of these two water sources students created two scientific explanations, we examined the quality of claims and reasoning statements when they used the data they collected and only peer generated data. Students participating in this study included less supportive details (e.g. water quality indicator rankings, what indicators mean for water quality) when creating explanations by using only peer generated data.


The Use of Community Resources to Promote Science Learning

Chanyah Dahsah, Michigan State University,

Chaninan Pruekpramool, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand

Theerapong Sangpradit, Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University


The funds of knowledge students bring with them is a powerful resources for promoting students meaningful learning. However, learning is concentrated mainly in the school context and not connected to community. This research taps into the funds of knowledge based in community resources in a local Thailand community to support the development of science ideas. This was done by integrating science learning with community learning resources to develop learning activities that can serve as resources for schools and the community. Five science learning stations were developed through collaboration between researchers and community members. The stations include AdobeClay House, Charcoal & Wood Vinegar, Bio-Extraction, Alternative Energy, and Community Forest. The results indicate that the science learning stations actively engage students in learning activities to promote students understanding of important science ideas. The materials blend in community funds of knowledge, support students in understanding science content and promoting positive attitude to learn science.


Symposium –The Anatomy of a Good Article: Publishing in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching

Angela Calabrese Barton, Michigan State University,

Joseph Krajcik, Michigan State University

Bob Geier, Michigan State University


The purpose of this session is to engage potential authors in dialog about what constitutes a high quality article that aligns with the scope and focus of JRST. The session will offer perspectives on the anatomy of a high quality article from multiple perspectives: Editors, published authors, and reviewers. The editorial team will first present their model for how manuscripts are reviewed, including the publication guidelines that reviewers of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching use when reviewing submitted manuscripts. Their presentation will be followed by comments from three panelists who represent the author and/or reviewer position. The panelists will reflect a range of expertise in research approaches. A substantial portion of time will be devoted to open discussion. This session welcomes those who are new to academia and are interested in submitting to and getting published in JRST or anyone who would like to become a reviewer for the journal.


Evaluating Institutional Change in Biological Sciences at a Research-Intensive University: The Beginning

Rebecca L. Matz, Michigan State University,

Sarah E. Jardeleza, Michigan State University

Joseph S. Krajcik, Michigan State University


This study focuses on an institutional effort at a large, public research-intensive university to improve teaching and learning in undergraduate biological sciences, called the Biology Initiative. The programmatic vision for the Biology Initiative is “to implement a core curriculum for life-science majors that provides the skills and content knowledge necessary for success in biological sciences.” A case study methodology was employed to examine the primary research question: What factors promote reform in the biological sciences at this research-intensive university and why? Specifically, what were the major challenges in the first year of the Biology Initiative and how were they overcome? Both direct observations and documentation were sources of data. Three particular areas of challenge in implementation of the Biology Initiative emerged from the data: organization, communication, and building community. Interestingly, it appears that the communication and building community issues derived from the organizational challenges. Actions taken to address challenge areas are described, such as leadership declaration, organizational system creation, and increased communication between and with all stakeholders. Recommendations are made for other institutions considering improvements of the same scopeas the Biology Initiative.


Computerized Lexical Analysis of Students' Written Interpretations of Chemical Representations

Luanna B. Prevost, University of South Florida,

Kevin Haudek, Michigan State University

Mark Urban-Lurain, Michigan State University


Constructed response assessments, such are writing, provide insight into student thinking and allow instructors to create learning experiences that foster conceptual change. We investigate how computerized lexical analysis tools can facilitate the use of written assessments in high-enrollment introductory science courses. Specifically, we examine student interpretations of visual representations in chemistry using a combination of lexical and statistical analyses. Using this approach, we identified key ideas in student writing. Student expressed correct ideas that demonstrated students’ abilities to make connections between the structure of molecules and their function. Additionally, groups of responses expressing incorrect or incoherent explanations were also extracted from student writing. Our results support the use lexical analysis coupled with statistical analyses to gain insight into student interpretations of chemical structures, and have the potential to support rapid feedback on formative assessments in high-enrollment introductory courses.


How Can a Mobile Application Change a Teacher's Practices to Support Students' Scientific Explanations?

Ibrahim Delen, Michigan State University,

Wan-Tzu Lo, University ofMichigan, Ann Arbor

Alex Kuhn, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Jennifer Duck, The Learning Partnership

Steven Mcgee, Northwestern University

Chris Quintana, University of Michigan


Several standard documents expect middle school students develop explanations with reasoning, but some studies noted not only middle school students but also teachers struggle to create scientific explanations. Therefore a number of studies have developed software programs to help students and teachers in this hard task. In a similar vein, the Zydeco group has designed a mobile application, which enables students to collect data inside and outside the classroom and then use the data to create scientific explanations by using claim-evidence-reasoning framework. Previous technologies designed to support scientific explanations focused on how these programs improve students’ scientific explanations, but these programs ignored how scientific explanation technologies can support teacher practices. Thus, to increase our knowledge about using mobile devices in education, our proposed study aims to portray a teacher’s implementations about scientific explanations when she organized two investigations by using Zydeco in a year-long study. In addition, this study also explores how change in teacher practices affect students’ scientific explanations.


Beyond a Misconceptions-Based Approach to Curriculum and Learning Progressions: A Case of High School Physics

Alicia C. Alonzo, Michigan State University,

Alexander Robinson, Thornapple Kellogg High School

May Lee, Michigan State University


Misconceptions research has had a significant influence on classroom instruction and early work on learning progressions (LPs). This paper describes the first year of a multi-year design research study that explores how the mechanics portion of the introductory high school physics curriculum might be redesigned and a LP might be proposed, such that both treat students’ intuitive ideas about motion as productive starting places, rather than as misconceptions. A design team, composed of two university-based researchers and a high school physics teacher, collaborated to redesign the curriculum—based on the premise that students’ intuitive ideas about motion are consistent with the definition of momentum, rather than force—and make iterative revisions—based upon video-recordings of classroom instruction, weekly interviews with four students, and student responses to an assessment administered five times during the trimester. Evidence of student learning from the interview and assessment data indicated: 1) areas for improvement (both during the trimester and in preparation for year 2) and 2) significant improvement in students’ understanding relative to the “impetus” misconception (as compared to students experiencing the “status quo” curriculum). These data also allow us to identify when students’ ideas are changing and, thus, to begin proposing a LP for the redesigned curriculum.