The Structure of Pupils’ Written Explanations within the Framework of the Didactic Elaboration of Pupils’ Obstacles in Science

By Michael Skoumios and Vassilia Hatzinikita.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

At structure level, a scientific explanation includes three components: claims, evidence and reasoning. According to the relevant bibliography, the pupils have difficulty in providing evidence in order to support their claims and use reasoning linking the evidence to their claims. The present paper aims at investigating the structure of the written explanations produced by the pupils during the implementation of research-based teaching sequences aiming at the didactic elaboration of pupils’ obstacles regarding temperature and heat. In this direction teaching sequences were designed and worksheets were prepared including problems targeted at the pupils’ destabilising, restructuring and identifying the obstacles. The teaching sequences –a total of 23 teaching hours– were implemented in primary school pupils (aged 11-12). The pupils’ explanations included in their individual written answers of their worksheets were collected and analysed with regard to their structure. The results of the analysis allowed for: (a) mapping the structure of pupils’ written explanations throughout the teaching sequences and (b) investigating the contribution of the teaching sequences to the evolution of the structure of pupils’ written explanations.

Keywords: Explanation, Structure, Assessing Written Explanations, Claim, Evidence, Reasoning, Obstacles, Didactic Elaboration of an Obstacle, Research-based Science Teaching Sequences

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp.261-270. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 602.444KB).

Dr. Michael Skoumios

Researcher, Hellenic Open University, Rhodes, Greece

Dr. Michael Skoumios obtained a first degree in Physics from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in 1987, a second degree in Education from the University of Aegean in 1992 and his PhD in Science Education from the Hellenic Open University in 2005. His research interests include science concept learning and teaching science in primary and secondary schools. He is currently teaching Science Education in the Department of Primary Education of the University of the Aegean (Greece).

Prof. Vassilia Hatzinikita

Academic Coordinator of the Master in Education, School of Humanities, Hellenic Open University, Athens, Greece

Associate Professor Vassilia Hatzinikita is currently an academic coordinator of the Master in Education in the Hellenic Open University and a coordinator of Educational Research in Action module. Her research interests concern science teaching and learning as well as the analysis and development of educational materials. She has published a considerable number of research papers in journals, books and conference proceedings and has developed educational material for the Science Education module of the Hellenic Open University.

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