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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Model-Based Reasoning is Not a Simple Thing": Investigating Enactment of Modeling in Five High School Biology Classrooms
by Gaytán, Candice Renee, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2017, 183; 10602659
Abstract (Summary)

Modeling is an important scientific practice through which scientists generate, evaluate, and revise scientific knowledge, and it can be translated into science classrooms as a means for engaging students in authentic scientific practice. Much of the research investigating modeling in classrooms focuses on student learning, leaving a gap in understanding how teachers enact this important practice. This dissertation draws on data collected through a model-based curricular project to uncover instructional moves teachers made to enact modeling, to describe factors influencing enactment, and to discuss a framework for designing and enacting modeling lessons.

I framed my analysis and interpretation of data within the varying perceptions of modeling found in the science studies and science education literature. Largely, modeling is described to varying degrees as a means to engage students in sense-making or as a means to deliver content to students. This frame revealed how the instructional moves teachers used to enact modeling may have influenced its portrayal as a reasoning practice. I found that teachers’ responses to their students’ ideas or questions may have important consequences for students’ engagement in modeling, and thus, sense-making.

To investigate factors influencing the portrayal of modeling, I analyzed teacher interviews and writings for what they perceived affected instruction. My findings illustrate alignments and misalignments between what teachers perceive modeling to be and what they do through instruction. In particular, teachers valued providing their students with time to collaborate and to share their ideas, but when time was perceived as a constraint, instruction shifted towards delivering content. Additionally, teachers’ perceptions of students’ capacity to engage in modeling is also related to if and how they provided opportunities for students to make sense of phenomena.

The dissertation closes with a discussion of a framework for designing and enacting lessons for engaging students in modeling. I draw on examples from this study to provide context for how the framework can support teachers in engaging students in modeling. Altogether, this dissertation describes how teachers facilitate modeling and why varying enactments may be observed, filling a gap in researchers’ understanding of how teachers enact modeling in science classrooms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Passmore, Cynthia
Commitee: Gouvea, Julia, White, Tobin
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Science education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Enactment, Instructional moves, Model-based reasoning, Modeling, Models
Publication Number: 10602659
ISBN: 978-0-355-46106-0
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