LUNCH IS SERVED WITH THIS SEMINAR
This talk precedes the NARST Practice Presentations.
Abstract: The study characterized the development of our students’ system thinking by analyzing the concept maps they had created throughout their three years of high school biology education. Using the data analysis of the concept maps, we identified the extent to which the students understood the three central elements that characterize a system (hierarchy, homeostasis, dynamism), and analyze their understanding according to its place within the theoretical framework of the system thinking hierarchical model (STH). The data analysis of the concept maps showed that while the 67 individual students in our population constructed a variety of different models of the human body systems, these models did fall into a more limited set of recurring patterns. Over their three years of participation in the study, the students had created multiple Repertory Grids (RG) while participating in semi-structured, group interviews. We adopted the CMP (Component-Mechanism-Phenomena) model for analyzing RG data. Our findings suggest that as the learning process progressed, systems complexity understanding was developed within each of the major CMP categories. Moreover, there was an increase in the mechanism complexity, manifested by more students describing mechanisms at the molecular level.
Title: Studio Chemistry at CalPoly: An Examination of Student Outcomes
Abstract: Twenty years ago, a major curriculum revision at California Polytechnic State University led to the implementation of an integrated lecture/laboratory (studio) experience for our engineering students taking general chemistry. With the construction of our new Center for Science and Mathematics, completed in Fall 2013, the opportunity arose to construct four purpose-built studio classrooms to house nearly our entire general chemistry sequence for all students and to perform a detailed study of the effects of the entire ecology of the studio experience on student success. Data from content knowledge pre- and post-tests, learning attitudes surveys, and student course evaluations shows positive effects on student performance, the development of more expert-like learning attitudes, increased student engagement, and increased student-instructor interactions vs. our previous separate lecture and laboratory instruction. Our data also show our new peer Learning Assistant program increases student engagement while also having positive impacts on the Learning Assistants themselves.
Co-hosted by Lyman Briggs College and CREATE for STEM Institute
Title: Conceptual Assessment in Molecular Biology
Abstract: Measuring students’ conceptual understandings has become increasingly important to faculty involved in evaluating and improving departmental programs. We developed the Molecular Biology Capstone Assessment (MBCA) to gauge comprehension of fundamental concepts in molecular and cell biology and the ability to apply these concepts in novel scenarios. Targeted at graduating students, the MBCA consists of 18 multiple-true-false (T/F) questions. Each question consists of a narrative stem followed by four T/F statements, which allows a more detailed assessment of student understanding than the traditional multiple-choice format. This talk will discuss the test development process as well as results from administration to more than 500 upper-division biology students. By pinpointing areas of conceptual difficulty, the MBCA can provide faculty with guidance for improving undergraduate biology programs.
This week's CREATE Seminar Series is co-sponsored by the Department of Teacher Education and features Noah Feinstein from University of Wisconsin-Madison. PLEASE NOTE: This talk takes place at a different time.
Title: Exploring the competent outsider hypothesis in public engagement with science
Abstract: Citizens don't think about science in the same way that scientists do - should they? Many science educators believe that their job is to help students "think like scientists," but what if the skills and knowledge that citizens need are different? In this talk, I explore the idea that people can be sophisticated consumers of the science that is most relevant to their lives without adopting a scientist's "insider" perspective. I also describe the preliminary findings of a research study that compared autism researchers with two groups of citizens--including one group with a personal stake in autism research.
Graduate students, post-docs, and visiting scholars lunch with Dr. Ron Gray on Wednesday afternoon. Dr. Gray will be speaking in the afternoon as part of the CREATE Science Seminar Series on the role of experimental and historical sciences in classroom inquiry in Rm 252 Erickson at 12:00pm. Click here for more information...
Inquiry experiences in secondary science classrooms are heavily weighted toward experimentation. We know, however, that many fields of science (e.g., evolutionary biology, cosmology, and paleontology), while they may utilize experiments, are not justified by experimental methodologies. With the focus on experimentation in schools, these fields of science are often not included in the inquiry experiences our students receive. In this talk, I will propose utilizing the distinction between experimental and historical sciences as a way to improve the diversity of scientific methodologies represented in the science classroom. This distinction can provide a framework for teachers to examine their own inquiry practices in light of the diverse methodologies present in science today.