Lesson 3: Current Practices in Science Education

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Return to: ETAP 623 Spring 2015 by Dr. Zhang | Mini-Course Home | Lesson 1 | Lesson 2


Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Be familiar with the NGSS emphasis on student use and development of models
  • use the internet and provided resources to explore the ways in which models are currently being used in science education
  • Given time to reflect on their personal teaching experiences, evaluate their current use of visualization tools in the classroom and identify various ways that they could be utilized more effectively

Background Information

As we draw nearer to the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers should be aware of the increased emphasis on student use and development of models from grades K-12. Students are expected to be able to develop models that explain scientific phenomena based on observable evidence. As new evidence is introduced, students must revise their models in order to account for the evidence provided. This process of developing and revising models can be supported through a student-centered approach to learning.

Driving Questions

Consider the following questions as you view the resources below:

1. What do the NGSS say about student use and development of models?

2. How are other educators currently using visualization tools in science?

3. What are the benefits associated with a student-centered approach to learning?

4. How can visualization tools be used to support a student-centered pedagogy?


1. Resources

Models and the NGSS

Video 1 - Emphasis on Models

Optional Video - Understanding the NGSS

(For those who may not be familiar with the NGSS)

How are Models Being Used?

Article 1 - Tips for Using Models

Scan the following two studies, paying particular attention to the abstracts and concluding summaries

File:Case Study Student Centered Use of Models.pdf

File:Student generated diagrams for learning science.pdf

Implementing NGSS in the Classroom

Video - Developing Models Part 1

Video - Developing Models Part 2

Video - Developing Models Part 3

2. Discussion

Consider your contributions to the discussions from lesson one and two. Have you used or described visualization tools being used in a student-centered or a teacher-centered manner? If models have been used more by the teacher than the student, how can putting models in the hands of the students help them gain a deeper understanding of scientific principles? Are there times when a teacher-centered approach to visualization tools might be more effective? Post your answers to these questions in the discussion tab for this page using the headings as in prior discussions. Reply to a minimum of two of your classmates' posts.

3. Student-centered Pedagogy

Using the internet or other educational resources, find a video or lesson plan that demonstrates student-directed use of a visualization tool. Post a link to the resource along with a brief summary on the Student-centered Pedagogy Resource page View the resources posted by your classmates and provide a one paragraph analysis for two resources in which you discuss what elements of the lesson you think are effective as well as any changes you would make to improve the lesson.

Advance to Lesson 4


1. MAISA Science. (2013, Sep 15). Developing and using models in the next generation science. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1N6ojOmj0M

2. MAISA Science. (2013, Aug 14). How to read the NGSS. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjbhTAUCj4U

3. (n.d.). Tips for teaching modeling in science. Harvard Graduate School of Education. Retrieved from https://www.cfa.harvard.edu/smg/Website/UCP/classroom/modeling.html

4. Jackson, S., Stratford, S. Krajcik, J., & Soloway, E. (1995). Model-It: A case study of learner-centered design software for supporting model building. University of Michigan. Retrieved from http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Elliot_Soloway

5. Golbert, J. & Clement, J. (1999) Effects of student-generated diagrams versus student-generated summaries on conceptual understanding of causal and dynamic knowledge in plate tectonics. Journal of Research in Science Teaching 36(5), 39–53.

6. NSTA. (2015, May 12). Developing and using models of atomic structure part 1: What NGSS looks like in the classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp5IkeCnaZE

7. NSTA. (2015, May 12). Developing and using models of atomic structure part 2: What NGSS looks like in the classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJl9zrjyPGY

8. NSTA. (2015, May 12). Developing and using models of atomic structure part 2: What NGSS looks like in the classroom. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kkPFnaAj6w


1. Courtesy of Kentucky Teachers.org