The Conceptual Learning in Science Group has been engaged in science education research activities since the late 70's, with the help of Professors Randall Phillis, Biology, UMass Amherst, Melvin Steinberg, Physics, Smith C., and Neil Stillings, Cognitive Science, Hampshire C., and many doctoral students, postdocs, and local school teachers. Our work has focused on analogies, misconceptions, useful intuitions, creativity and imagery use in experts, model based learning, discussion leading strategies, computer simulations, and other topics. The group has been funded virtually continuously during this period by the US National Science Foundation.
In the fall of 2015, CLSG took "Strategies For Using Interactive Simulations In Science Class" live. This website contains a collection of approximately 40 strategies for using simulations in science classes, with examples of the strategies in use during real science class discussions.
Energy in the Human Body, A Middle School Life Science Curriculum
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In 2015, CLSG authors published in the International Journal of Science Education and Computers & Education.
In 2015, Grant Williams and John Clement had an article in the International Journal of Science Education, Identifying multiple levels of discussion-based teaching strategies for constructing scientific models.
Also in 2015, Lynn Stephens and John Clement had an article in Computers & Education, Identifying multiple levels of discussion-based teaching strategies for constructing scientific models.
Norman Price and John Clement published an article in Science Scope in 2014, Generating, evaluating, and modifying scientific models using projected computer simulations.
The CLSG group under Prof. Clement had a visitor through March 2015. Prof. Maris Nunez-Oviedo was here on a prestigious Fellowship from the Chilean government. She was doing joint research with the group on analysis of teaching strategies for model base learning. Maria is an alum of the College of Education and is now back at the University of Concepcion in Chile. She continues to communicate with CLSG and brings an important perspective on teacher education for model based learning.
Four members of CLSG presented a related paper set at the Annual International Meeting of NARST in Orlando Florida. The title of the set was Discussion-Based Teaching Strategies to Support Mental Modeling: Animated Images, Static Images, and Mental Imaging. Presenters were Grant Williams, Norm Price, Abi Leibovich, and Lynn Stephens and Phil Scott was discussant.
A large set of model-based teaching strategies gathered over a period of several years from classroom observations, transcript analyses, and teacher interviews are examined through multiple lenses.
Multiple Levels of Discussion-Based Teaching Strategies for Supporting Students’ Construction of Mental Models, by E. Grant Williams and John J. Clement, describes teaching strategies that experienced high school physics educators utilized during whole-class discussions to engage their students in the construction of explanatory mental models. These fell at distinct levels including dialogic and model construction levels.
Comparative Case Studies of Discussion Strategies Used in Dynamic Computer Simulation and Static Image-Based Lessons, by Norman Price and John J. Clement, uses comparative case studies to describe and compare large group discussion strategies used in computer simulation and static overhead based lessons. It suggests that a simulation can be useful not only because it has a dynamic mode but also because it has a static mode.
Hands On Small-Group vs. Whole Class Use of Animations and Simulations: Comparative Case Studies in Projectile Motion, by A. Lynn Stephens, uses comparative case study analyses to compare teacher and student strategies for using interactive simulations in either small group or whole class settings in high school physics. It considers possible explanations for why the hands-on small group work did not produce better results than the whole class work.
Discussion-Based Strategies for Use of Simulations and Animations in Middle and High School Science Classrooms, by Abi Leibovitch, A. Lynn Stephens, Norman Price, and John J. Clement, describes the process by which many of the strategies for using simulations were gathered and how they were organized using teacher feedback. It also highlights some trends that were observed in the strategies themselves.
A. Lynn Stephens and John J. Clement are proud to announce the publication of a chapter in the Second International Handbook of Science Education (Springer), Chapter 13: The role of thought experiments in science and science learning.
In this chapter, we review selected studies of thought experiments used by both experts and students and attempt to develop some useful definitions and conceptual distinctions. We then apply these in an analysis of a classroom episode as an example of the roles thought experiments can play in productive whole class discussions. We are interested in this area because thought experiments are one example of the kinds of creative reasoning of which experts and students appear to be capable of under the right conditions.