Results for Practical work/lab work
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Kind, P. M., Kind, V., Hofstein, A., & Wilson, J. (2011). Peer argumentation in the school science laboratory – Exploring effects of task features. International Journal of Science Education, 33(18), 2527–2558.

Helping learners to engage with argumentation is one key part of science education. Lab work is another. Combining the two, therefore, would seem sensible. This study examined the effect of three different lab-based tasks on the quality of any subsequent argumentation. It found that tasks providing explicit instructions to interrogate data and justify claims were the most productive.


Sharples, M., Scanlon, E., Ainsworth, S., Anastopoulou, S., Collins, T., Crook, C., Jones, A., Kerawalla, L., Littleton, K., Mulholland, P., & O’Malley, C. (2014). Personal inquiry: Orchestrating science investigations within and beyond the classroom. Journal of the Learning Sciences. Doi: 10.1080/10508406.2014.944642

Mobile technology can be used to scaffold inquiry-based learning, enabling learners to work across settings and times, singly or in collaborative groups. It can expand learners’ opportunities to understand the nature of inquiry whilst they engage with the scientific content of a specific inquiry. This Sharples et al. paper reports on the use of the mobile computer-based inquiry toolkit nQuire. Teachers found the tool useful in helping students to make sense of data from varied settings.


Hampden-Thompson, G., & Bennett, J. (2013). Science teaching and learning activities and students’ engagement in science. International Journal of Science Education, 35(8), 1325–1343. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2011.608093

This study uses data from the 2006 PISA survey to examine the association between student engagement in science and the nature of teaching and learning activities. It also explores school and family factors. Key findings are to be expected but also surprising. For example, variety in types of activity is associated with greater engagement. However, smaller classes do not necessarily result in greater enjoyment of science!


Carlone, H. B., Huffling, L. D., Tomasek, T., Hegedus, T. A., Matthews, C. E., Allen, M. H., & Ash, M.C. (2015). “Unthinkable” selves: Identity boundary work in a summer field ecology enrichment program for diverse youth.International Journal of Science Education, 37(10), 1524–1546. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1033776

Many youth consider participation in environmental science “unthinkable.” This study challenges the view that scientific practices must be “thinkable” before engagement is possible. Over the course of a four-week summer enrichment ecology program, students addressed their fears, operated outside of their comfort zones, and productively engaged with science.


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.