Using Students' Science Ideas to Drive Instruction: How Responsive Teaching Shapes Learning Activity
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Teaching in a way that is responsive to students' science ideas creates opportunities for meaningful, rigorous sense-making in a way that traditional science teaching does not. In this study, the researcher, as a visiting teacher, taught the same three-week circuits unit to one fourth grade class and two fifth grade classes from a responsive teaching stance. The teachers' attention to and incorporation of students' science ideas shifted unit trajectories and uniquely shaped the ongoing learning activity within whole-group discourse. A unit-level analysis of the frequency and category of science concepts present in whole-group discourse shows that all three classes discussed the same science concepts by the end of the unit; however, when these ideas presented themselves within whole group discourse differed across time, even though students were engaged in the same lessons. Tensions and dilemmas of responsive science teaching are discussed.
- Education - Seattle