Oliver, M. (2011). Towards an understanding of neuroscience for science educators. Studies in Science Education, 47(2), 211–235.
In this review, Oliver calls for greater cross-pollination between neuroscience research and educational practice. She argues that a richer understanding of the brain can dispel educational myths—and indeed uses research data in this paper to do so. She explores ways in which brain science can not only inform emerging theories of learning and teaching but also inspire effective educational interventions.
Berland, L., Steingut, R., & Ko, P. (2014). High school student perceptions of the utility of the engineering design process: Creating opportunities to engage in engineering practices and apply math and science content. Journal of Science Education Technology, 23, 705–720.
Researchers examined whether engineering activities and lessons can help students apply science and math content in real-world contexts and gain insights into the professional activities and goals of engineers.
Brown, B. A., & Kloser, M. (2009). Conceptual continuity and the science of baseball: Using informal science literacy to promote students’ science learning. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 4(4), 875–897.
The formal introduction of learners to scientific phenomena is accompanied by the need to reconcile what they are being taught in classrooms with their informal or pre-existing conceptualizations of the same phenomena. Reconciled formal and informal conceptualizations represent what the authors of this study refer to as “conceptual continuity,” which, they argue, is an important asset for science educators seeking to support students’ conceptual development. In this paper, authors studied the ways in which high-school baseball players expressed their understanding of how curveballs curve using both scientific and everyday language. This study will be of use and interest to ISE educators, who seek to support students’ conceptual continuities across different settings.
Maltese, A., Melki, C., & Weibke, H. (2014). The nature of experiences responsible for the generation and maintenance of interest in STEM. Science Education, 98(6), 937–962. doi:10.1002/sce.21132
Researchers Maltese, Melki, and Wiebke investigated when lasting interest in STEM is sparked and how it is maintained by comparing the remembrances of adults who did and did not persist in STEM. Both groups said that they became interested in STEM early, usually by Grade 6. Those who persisted in STEM were more likely than those who did not to say that they had always been interested in STEM. Parents and teachers were early influences for those who stayed in STEM fields.
Duncan, R. G., Rogat, A. D., & Yarden, A. (2009). A learning progression for deepening students’ understandings of modern genetics across the 5th–10th grades. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(6), 655–674.
What are the core ideas of learning genetics? How can we build coherent learning experiences to support these ideas? Learning progressions are an approach to outline how learners come to understand abstract concepts over time. This article describes a learning progression that promotes understanding of genetics from late elementary school into high school.
Talanquer, Vicente (2009). On Cognitive Constraints and Learning Progressions: The case of "structure of matter". International Journal of Science Education, 31(15), 2123–2136.
This paper provides an interesting insight into how educators can support learners in coming to understand the nature of matter. Whilst the specific focus is on students’ implicit assumptions and reasoning strategies in a particular domain, the broader discussion exploring the differences between novice and expert thinking is relevant to all educators seeking to support learners engage with new content.
Carlone, H. B., Scott, C. M., & Lowder, C. (2014). Becoming (less) scientific: A longitudinal study of students’ identity work from elementary to middle school science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(7), 836–869. doi:10.1002/tea.21150
How and why students develop productive science learning identities is a key issue for the education community (see Bell et al, 2009). Carlone, Scott, and Lowder describe the changes in the science identities of three students as they move from fourth to sixth grade. The authors discuss the processes — heavily mediated by race, class, and gender — by which the students position themselves, or are positioned by others, as being more or less competent learners in science.
Salehjee, S., & Watts, M. (2015). Science lives: School choices and ‘natural tendencies.’ International Journal of Science Education, 37(4), 727–743. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1013075
Why do some people move into science while others move away? Salehjee and Watts collected 12 personal biographies that provide rich descriptions of the different paths—direct or more wavering—that individuals follow. The implications of this study suggest that the informal science sector needs to “keep doors open” for individuals at transition points.
Jaakkola, T., Nurmi, S., & Veermans, K. (2011). A comparison of students’ conceptual understanding of electric circuits in simulation only and simulation-laboratory contexts. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 48(1), 71–93.
This article makes a case for providing multiple types of hands-on resources to support learner inquiry. More specifically, a computer simulation of an electric circuit complemented work with a real circuit to support learners’ conceptual development. When learners had the opportunity to use both simulated and real circuits, less structured guidance seemed to benefit the inquiry process.
Plummer, J.D. & Krajcik, J. (2010). Building a learning progression for celestial motion: Elementary levels from an earth-based perspective. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(7), 768–787.
This study can be used by ISE professionals as a source of ideas to guide thinking about the use of a learning progression framework for astronomy education. It is evident from the results that target instruction is necessary as it encourages students toward developing more sophisticated understandings of topics. As students can articulate their learning progressions, they can be useful in measuring students’ understanding relative to a conceptual goal. In addition, this approach connects informal learning to formal learning.