Now showing 1 - 10 of 25
  • Publication
    Examining Learning Through Modeling in K-6 Science Education
    (2015-01-01) ;
    Zacharia, Zacharias C.
    Despite the abundance of research in Modeling-based Learning (MbL) in science education, to date there is only limited research on MbL practices among K-6 novice modelers. More specifically, there is no information on how young/novice modelers’ modeling enactments look so that researchers and educators have an idea of what should be expected from these novice/young modelers while engaged in MbL. Our purpose in this study was to investigate the ways in which K-6 novice modelers can engage in MbL in science, in rich modeling contexts, which feature various modeling media and tools. Using data from a variety of contexts, modeling means and tools and different student ages, we seek to develop, from the ground up, detailed descriptions of the modeling practices that K-6 students follow when involved in MbL. While using the modeling phases (e.g., construction of a model, evaluation of a model), along with their associated practices, as described in the literature for older learners and expert modelers as our basis, we followed ground research approaches to develop the descriptions of student-centered MbL. Our findings revealed that novice modelers enact certain MbL phases in a different manner than those described in the literature for older learners and/or expert modelers. We found that not only do the content and context of the various modeling phases differ, but also the sequence of these modeling phases and their associated practices, are different from those already described in the literature. Finally, we discuss how rich descriptions of MbL discourse can ultimately inform teachers and researchers about ways in which learning in science through MbL can be supported.
  • Publication
    Investigating pre-service elementary teachers' epistemologies when talking about science, enacting science and reflecting on their enactment
    (1/12/2010) ;
    Tzialli, Dora
    ;
    Zacharia, C. Z.
    We described and compared 94 pre-service elementary teachers' epistemologies during three different activities: one semi-structured interview, an asynchronous on-line discussion about a physics problem and their reflection on the discussion of the second activity. Using discourse-based analysis, we analyzed the data in terms of the teachers' underlying epistemologies and findings revealed significant differences across the three activities. This suggests that (a) teachers' epistemologies might be better understood as finer grained cognitive resources whose activation is sensitive to the context, unlike most research which views them as coherent and stable cognitive structures, and that (b) the research community is far from settling the debate as to what particular approaches should be used to assess or study personal epistemologies. Depending on the context and the manner of investigation, students and teachers may "show" different epistemological understanding.
  • Publication
    Investigating how graphical and textual computer-based programming environments support student inquiry in science during modeling
    (1/12/2011)
    Zacharia, Zacharias C.
    ;
    In this paper we investigate the ways that a graphical and a textual Computer-based Programming Environment (CPE) support student inquiry in science during scientific modeling. We analyzed the conversations of 78 sixth-graders (39 students per CPE group) that took place during the construction of models, as well as, student-constructed models specifically looking for ways that CPEs support student scientific inquiry. Our findings showed that CPEs enable students to develop models of physical phenomena and operationally define physical entities and physical properties, which provides students with a commonly shared language for communicating and understanding each others' ideas in science. We also found that programs in CPEs produce a computer microworld that is a structured environment learners can use to explore and manipulate a rule-generated universe, subject to particular assumptions and constraints that serve as representations of aspects of the natural world. Microworlds can also provide learners with opportunities to manipulate realities in ways that learners cannot do with physical objects. Implications from this study suggest productive features for computer-based tools that can be embedded in web-based learning platforms for supporting students' inquiry and science learning.
  • Publication
    Implementing a lesson plan vs. attending to student inquiry: The struggle of a student-teacher during teaching science
    (1/12/2010) ;
    Santis, M.
    ;
    Tzialli, Dora
    Despite calls for student-centered, inquiry-based instruction in science, science teacher preparation remains mostly teacher-centered, with the underlying assumption that novice teachers need to form a teaching identity before attending to their students' inquiry. In this paper, we use the idea of framing to analyze a 42-minute science lesson of a senior kindergarten student-teacher. Findings suggest that the student-teacher struggled for balance between teaching science as implementing a lesson plan, and as attending to her students' inquiry. We use this evidence to suggest that novice teachers can attend to students' inquiry as early as in their student-teaching experience, which suggests additional pressure on the need for preparation in teaching science. Thus, the role of science methods courses should be to help students understand the different interpretations of teaching within the different frames and provide them with strategies for entering more productive frames during teaching.
  • Publication
    How a teacher's personal reflections shape her decision making for classroom management
    (International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS), 2022-06-10)
    Pelekanou, Georgia
    ;
    We investigate how a teacher's personal reflection shapes her decision-making process in classroom management. Following open coding, we analyze the teachers' reflections seeking to identify her rationale in the decision-making process during the language arts lessons. Our findings indicated that her thinking was based on the student's behavior, the student's personality, the educational context, her own emotional perspective and condition, her pedagogical knowledge, and her reflective experience. We discuss the theoretical and methodological implications.
  • Publication
    Identification - Interpretation/evaluation - Response: A framework for analyzing classroom-based teacher discourse in science
    (1/12/2008) ;
    Tzialli, Dora
    ;
    Zacharia, Zacharias C.
    The first aim of this study was to contribute to a growing body of research in teacher-student classroom discourse, by describing, in detail, the discourse "moves" of a teacher during science conversations. Our second aim was to develop an enriched analytic framework that can account for the context, the content and the purpose of the discourse moves identified, arguing for a shift of attention in research toward the process of deciding which discourse move to use, rather than solely their description. We analyzed a total of 930 minutes of whole-class conversations facilitated by an experienced science teacher over two years of elementary science lessons. The findings revealed a repertoire of discourse moves that the teacher chose from during instruction based on the context and the epistemological properties of the student discourse content, supporting our contention for the need of a framework that can describe the nature of those choices.
  • Publication
    Kitchen Science at Home: Engaging Pre-School Children through Distance Education during Covid-19 Quarantine
    (International Society of the Learning, 2021-06-11)
    This is a case study describing the ways I engaged a group of 20 5-6,5-year-old children in an afternoon, distance, science education unit investigating snails. The study took place during the Covid-19 quarantine time in Spring 2020. The paper demonstrates the transferability of pedagogical ideas usually implemented in the face-to-face classroom. It also illustrates pedagogical ideas that were more productive to use during the online unit. Lastly, it describes the development of an online learning community that included children and parents.
  • Publication
    Pre-school children talking about the models they have constructed: An analysis of children constructed models and their presentation
    (International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS), 2020-06-19)
    Despite its proven added value, Modeling-based Learning (MbL) in science is not commonly incorporated into early grades. My purpose in this study was to provide detailed descriptions of the implementation of MbL with a group of 18 pre-K children, engaged in the study of solution of substances in water. The findings suggest that participants could successfully engage in authentic MbL activities, being able to develop a number of different models using prior knowledge and experiences, as well as a variety of features of both analogical and mechanistic reasoning. © 2020 International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS).
  • Publication
    What to look for and what to do: Novice teachers' abilities for noticing and responding to their students' in-class inquiry
    (1/12/2012) ;
    Skoulia, T.
    ;
    Tzialli, Dora
    Inquiry-based teaching requires that teachers pay attention to their students' ideas and reasoning, and adapt their instruction accordingly. We analyzed 16 80-minute science lessons from 42 pre-service elementary teachers working in groups, in order to investigate "teacher noticing and responding" (TNR) abilities relating to student inquiry. Findings suggest that the pre-service teachers were able to identify and respond to a variety of aspects of their students' inquiry, although we identified disagreements between what they responded to and what we considered important aspects of student inquiry. These findings highlight an ongoing disagreement with prior research, which suggests that teachers' TNR abilities develop with time and teaching experience. Consequently we propose a general need for a better understanding of teacher cognition and development.
  • Publication
    In Quest of productive modeling-based learning discourse in elementary school science
    (2011-10-01) ;
    Zacharia, Zacharias C.
    ;
    Constantinou, Constantinos P.
    The purpose of this study was to investigate whole classroom discourse during modeling-based learning in science, seeking to describe the discourse's characteristics, its relation to the micro-context in which it took place and to the student-constructed models, and to ascertain when it becomes productive. Additionally, we aimed to describe how whole classroom modeling discourse in science may be better supported by the teacher as well as the role of the modeling tool. In doing so, we analyzed student conversations and student-constructed models from two groups of 11- to 12-year-old students. All students used a computer programming environment, namely Stagecast Creator, as a modeling tool. Findings revealed three distinct discourse types (modeling frames): (a) (initial) phenomenological description, (b) operationalization of the physical system's story, and (c) construction of algorithms. Finally, we discuss what we consider productive modeling discourse, as well as the contributions of the software and the teacher in this respect.