Learning Progressions for Principled Accounts of Processes in Socio-ecological SystemsInteractive Poster Symposium at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, Garden Grove, CA, April 17-21, 2009Website: http://edr1.educ.msu.edu/EnvironmentalLit/index.htm
Plan for this Poster Symposium • Introduction (15 minutes) • Poster discussion (60 minutes) • Conclusion (15 minutes). The discussants (Richard Duschl and Joe Krajcik) and audience members will share thoughts.
Overview of Introduction • What’s old: Continuing goals, frameworks, and methods • What’s new in our models and frameworks • Hypothesis: Alternate learning trajectories and teaching experiments • What’s new in our results: Introductions to posters
What’s Old Continuing Models, Frameworks, and Methods
Definitions • Environmental science literacy is the capacity to understand and participate in evidence-based discussions of socio-ecological systems. • Learning progressions are descriptions of increasingly sophisticated ways of thinking about or understanding a topic
Development and Validation: An Iterative Process • Develop initial framework • Develop assessments (e.g. written tests, interviews) and/or teaching experiments based on the framework • Use data from assessments and teaching experiments to revise framework • Develop new assessments….
What’s New Models and Frameworks
What Progresses? • Discourse: “a socially accepted association among ways of using language, of thinking, and of acting that can be used to identify oneself as a member of a socially meaningful group” (Gee, 1991, p. 3) • Practices: inquiry, accounts, citizenship • Knowledge of processes in human and environmental systems
Discourse: Force-Dynamic and Scientific Reasoning • Informal (Force-dynamic) reasoning (cf. Talmy, Pinker) • Events or processes happen because actors use their powers or abilities to achieve their purposes • Actors have needs that enable them to achieve their purposes • Scientific (principled or model-based) reasoning • Events or processes happen in hierarchically organized systems at multiple scales • Processes and systems conform to principles, including conservation of matter and energy, genetic continuity, etc.
Force-dynamic Accounts Actors With Abilities And Purposes In Settings (results that achieve purposes of actors) (needs or enablers) A complete force-dynamic explanation describes actors, enablers, purposes, settings, and results
Example of Scientific Accounts Systems Following principles At multiple scales (energy input) (energy output) (matter output) (matter input) A complete scientific explanation describes processes constrained by principles in systems at multiple scales
Practices of Environmentally Literate Citizens Discourses: Communities of practice, identities, values, funds of knowledge Explaining and Predicting (Accounts) What is happening in this situation? What are the likely consequences of different courses of action? Investigating What is the problem? Who do I trust? What’s the evidence? Deciding What will I do?
Knowledge: Processes in Socio-ecological Systems (Loop Diagram on Handout)
Linking Processes: Example for Carbon (on handout) Black: Linking processes that students at all levels can tell us about Red: Lower anchor accounts based on informal cultural models Green: Upper anchor accounts based on scientific models
Levels of Achievement • Level 4: Successful qualitative model-based reasoning about processes in socio-ecological systems (high school standards). • Level 3: “School science” narratives of processes in systems (middle school standards). • Level 2: Force-dynamic accounts: actors achieve their purposes through hidden mechanisms (elementary standards). • Level 1: Force-dynamic accounts: actors achieving their purposes when their needs are met
LEVEL 4. Causal Reasoning Pattern: Successful Constraints on Processes Across Scales LEVEL 3. Causal Reasoning Pattern: Unsuccessful Constraints on Processes LEVEL 3. Causal Reasoning Pattern: Successful Constraints on atomic-molecular processes with limited details LEVEL 2. Causal Reasoning Pattern: Hidden Mechanisms involving changes of matter or energy LEVEL 2. Causal Reasoning Pattern: Macroscopic changes of matter/energy constrained by conservation laws LEVEL 1. Macro Force-dynamic Causation Structure-first Learning Trajectory Principles-first Learning Trajectory Alternate Learning Trajectories
Approaches to Teaching • Structure first: Focus on structure and function; principles are mentioned, but not emphasized • Principles first: Engaging students in principled reasoning by consistently using reasoning tools that embody principles
K-12 Teaching Tools for Carbon • Process tool: embodies conservation of matter and energy at different scales • Powers of 10 chart: embodies scale principle • Molecular models: embody conservation of matter (atoms) principle • PowerPoint presentations that use tools
Using Knowledge and Practice When Making Decisions in Citizen Roles Beth A. Covitt, Edna Tan, Blakely K. Tsurusaki, Charles W. Anderson When presented with a socio-ecological issue, how do students… • Investigate and explain the issue, and predict consequences of possible actions? • Decide what to do? • Draw on values and resources including those associated with in and out-of-school Discourses?
Discourses: Mark is an athlete and member of a family concerned about healthy eating. These communities provide funds of knowledge about nutrition, which is something Mark values highly. Mark, The Wrestler, Decides About Purchasing Strawberries Explaining and Predicting Mark traces food to factory, but not further… “they probably just factorize that and it’s not really polluting anything, making yogurt.” Investigating Mark seeks info about nutrition. He trusts product labels. DecidingChose food based on family values and athlete identity.
Discourses: Michael participates in fishing and environmental behaviors with family. These practices and identity, as well as some school science, impacted his reasoning about issue. Michael, The Fisherman, Decides About A Bottled Water Issue Explaining and Predicting Michael used knowledge of connected human and natural systems to reason about the issue and predict impacts on fish and ecosystem. Investigating Michael actively sought info from multiple sources and trusted sources based on reputation and bibliography. DecidingDrew on scientific Discourse and family-related values to decide to use precautionary principle.
Validation of a Multi-Year Carbon Cycle Learning Progression A closer look at progress variables and processes Lindsey Mohan, Jing Chen, Jinnie Choi, Yong-Sang Lee, Hamin Baek, & Charles W. Anderson Research Questions: Q1: Are there patterns in the way students account for matter and energy? Do they tend to score the same, higher, or lower on one or the other dimension? Q2: How consistent are students in terms of their accounts of processes? Are there patterns that indicate students understand some processes more or less than others?
Validation of a Multi-Year Carbon Cycle Learning Progression A closer look at progress variables and processes Latent Distribution of Persons Item Threshold Difficulties
Understanding of Carbon Cycling: Interview with US and Chinese StudentsHui Jin, Li Zhan, Charles W. Anderson • Six focal events that contribute to global warming: Tree growth; Baby girl growth; Girl running; Tree decaying; Car running; Flame burning • Investigate students’ explanations of the focal events to interpret their underlying reasoning patterns.
Finding: Performance Patterns in the Data • American and Chinese data indicate similar patterns in two aspects of performance--naming and explaining: • Naming: the performances of naming the relevant science statements, principles, concepts, and facts. • Explaining: the performances of constructing qualitative explanations based on different ways of reasoning.
Comparison • American and Chinese students’ explaining performances were very similar, with a majority of each group at level 2 -- relying primarily on hidden mechanism reasoning. • Naming performances were aligned differently for American and Chinese students. Students in both groups showed more level 3 and 4 naming performances than explaining performances, but the difference was much larger for Chinese students.
Chinese and American Learning Progressions Do students in other countries under different science education systems still share similar patterns in their development of scientific knowledge and practice?Chinese students’ learning progression of carbon cycling in socio-ecological systems
Wright maps for American and Chinese students’ responses Level 4: Model-based accounts Level 3: “School Science” Narratives Level 2: Causal Sequences of Events with Hidden Mechanisms Level 1:Separate Macroscopic Narratives Wright map for Chinese students Wright map for American students
Distribution of American and Chinese students’ responses among levels • American and Chinese students’ responses are distributed similarly across levels. For both groups, only a small proportion of students’ responses reach level 4. • More Chinese high school students gave level 3, level 4 responses. More American middle school students gave level 3 responses. • Both American and Chinese students shift toward higher levels from middle school to high school. The percentages of middle school students’ responses at each level The percentages of high school students’ responses at each level
Secondary Students’ Accounts of Carbon-transforming Processes Before and After Instruction Research questions • How do students’ accounts of carbon-transforming processes in socio-ecological systems change as a result of instruction? • How are changes in students’ accounts of carbon-transforming principles related to differences in instructions?
Pre-test Are college students prepared to understand ecosystem carbon cycling? • 8 professors at 8 institutions used our diagnostic questions clusters • DQCs asked questions about • Photosynthesis, • Transformation, • Oxidation • Questions posed at various scales from atomic-molecular to ecosystem. Proportions of students using scientific, informal, or a mixed form of reasoning when asked questions about matter and energy
There is a “hidden curriculum” in Biology • - So familiar to biologists that they are hardly aware that they use it • - Assumed by biologists to be also understood by students • Not understood by students • Hidden curriculum has to do with Principles • Conservation of matter • Conservation of energy • Ability to trace matter and energy across scales • Princples-First Teaching Approach • Fewer details about structure and process • Make principles explicit and central • Give students practice using tools that embody principles for each process • What can we do to help faculty and students uncover the hidden curriculum?
A small acorn grows into a large tree. Where do you think the plant’s increase in weight comes from? Jared, the Subway man lost a lot of weight eating a low calorie diet. Where did all the fat/mass go? Question Generic Student Reponse The fat was converted into useable energy and burned up. Absorption of mineral soil via the roots Plants gain their biomass from substances absorbed through their roots Matter (in this case fat) can be turned into energy Miscon-ception Two misconceptions that would be dispelled if the student practiced “Conservation of Matter” Adapted from Wilson et al. in prep
Kristin L. Gunckel, Beth A. Covitt, Tammy Dionise, Charles W. Anderson A Learning Progression for Water in Environmental Systems What Discourses do students bring to reasoning about the distribution and quality of water in socio-ecological systems? How do they reason about: water moving through connected systems substances that mix and move with water
Water Moving Through Connected Systems No, the river can’t get to the well No, the well is too far away Yes, if the well taps an unconfined aquifer Can pumping water from a well affect a nearby river? Force dynamic reasoning: Water exists in discrete visible locations Advanced force dynamic reasoning: Agents in closer proximity have more power Model based reasoning: Water is traced through connected systems, subject to constraints
Substances Mixing and Moving with Water No, there is no way water can go back into the sky Yes, the water gets filtered before precipitation No, when the water the pollution is mixed with evaporates the chemicals that were in it will not Could polluted lake water turn Into polluted rain water? Beginning model based reasoning: Substances are traced with macroscopic description through connected systems, subject to constraints Advanced force dynamic reasoning: Agents change water using informal mechanisms Force dynamic reasoning: Water exists in discrete locations
Biodiversity:What Belongs in a Forest? Josie Zesaguli, Edna Tan, Brook Wilke, Laurel Hartley, Jonathon Schram, Courtney Schenck, and Charles W. Anderson Which plants and animals would you include and exclude in your assembled forest? Explain.Lower anchor: “Lion King” reasoning “… And the polar bear once in a while needs to go swimming the waters, and the polar bear is used to cold climate water … If it goes swimming in the water, it might not like the water because it’s not the same kind as it’s used to. It’s not the same environment.”
Middle Levels: “Nature” Reasoning “ Because it needs to live in icy water. And there’s no icy water in the forest so he went out the window … ‘cause the temperature would still be too hot in the summer for the polar bear.”
Upper Anchor: Ecosystem Reasoning “Well it is a web, so the birds eat the termites; I don’t know, the lynx might eat the birds; the moose eat the trees; the voles eat anything they can get their hands on; who knows, maybe the wolves eat the lynx; and then when all these things die it all feeds the bacteria and the bugs and the insects…”
Thank You • The posters in this symposium are the work of many people. In particular: • Lindsey Mohan, Hui Jin, Edna Tan, Jing Chen, Josephine Zesaguli, Hsin-Yuan Chen, Brook Wilke, Hamin Baek, Kennedy Onyancha, Jonathon Schramm, and Courtney Schenk at Michigan State University • Kristin Gunckel at the University of Arizona • Beth Covitt at the University of Montana • Laurel Hartley at the University of Colorado, Denver • Blakely Tsurusaki at Washington State University, Pullman • Rebecca Dudek at Holly, Michigan, High School • Mark Wilson, Karen Draney, Jinnie Choi, and Yong-Sang Lee at the University of California, Berkeley. • This research is supported in part by grants from the National Science Foundation: Developing a Research-based Learning Progression for the Role of Carbon in Environmental Systems (REC 0529636), the Center for Curriculum Materials in Science (ESI-0227557), Learning Progression on Carbon-Transforming Processes in Socio-Ecological Systems (NSF 0815993), and Targeted Partnership: Culturally relevant ecology, learning progressions and environmental literacy (NSF-0832173). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Website: http://edr1.educ.msu.edu/EnvironmentalLit/index.htm
Structure-First Teaching • Teach structures of inputs, systems, products, multi-step processes • Mention principles in teaching, but don’t harp on them • Tell stories and ask test questions that students who have learned structures but still rely on force-dynamic reasoning can answer correctly
Principles-First Teaching • Fewer details about structure and process • Make principles explicit and central • Students practice using tools that embody principles for each process • Ask test questions that students who are committed to principles but don’t remember structural details can answer correctly
process tool Name of Process: ______________ Scale: ______________ (energy input) (energy output) (matter output) (matter input)
Powers of 10 Chart Benchmark Scales: Atomic- molecular Microscopic Macroscopic Large-scale