Promoting Science Learning and Scientific Identification through Contemporary Scientific Investigations
Van Horne, Katie
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This dissertation investigates the implementation issues and the educational opportunities associated with "taking the practice turn" in science education. This pedagogical shift focuses instructional experiences on engaging students in the epistemic practices of science both to learn the core ideas of the disciplines, as well as to gain an understanding of and personal connection to the scientific enterprise. In Chapter 2, I examine the teacher-researcher co-design collaboration that supported the classroom implementation of a year-long, project-based biology curriculum that was under development. This study explores the dilemmas that arose when teachers implemented a new intervention and how the dilemmas arose and were managed throughout the collaboration of researchers and teachers and between the teachers. In the design-based research of Chapter 3, I demonstrate how students' engagement in epistemic practices in contemporary science investigations supported their conceptual development about genetics. The analysis shows how this involved a complex interaction between the scientific, school and community practices in students' lives and how through varied participation in the practices students come to write about and recognize how contemporary investigations can give them leverage for science-based action outside of the school setting. Finally, Chapter 4 explores the characteristics of learning environments for supporting the development of scientific practice-linked identities. Specific features of the learning environment--access to the intellectual work of the domain, authentic roles and accountability, space to make meaningful contributions in relation to personal interests, and practice-linked identity resources that arose from interactions in the learning setting--supported learners in stabilizing practice-linked science identities through their engagement in contemporary scientific practices. This set of studies shows that providing students with the tools and means of contemporary scientific inquiry allows them to gain conceptual development and proficiency with the scientific practices within the contexts of their lives, in ways that provided access to resources that promoted students' stabilization of practice-linked identities. For teachers implementing this instructional model in their classrooms, it brought up dilemmas and opportunities related to their school contexts and their personal history of instructional practices. The work collectively informs how interest-driven project-based science instruction can happen across a range of school contexts and how such models can support meaningful science learning and identification.
- Education - Seattle