Promoting Understanding of Three Dimensions of Science Learning Plus Nature of Science Using Phenomenon-Based Learning

by Maryam Saberi, Ministry of Education of Iran; & Noushin Nouri, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Abstract

The utilization of phenomenon-based learning (PhBL) for science instruction remains limited despite its alignment with the goals outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) due to the lack of exemplary materials and inadequate training opportunities for teachers. The aim of this article is to illustrate the steps of the PhBL method by providing an exploratory learning experience as it was implemented in a preservice setting. In this study, we provide an innovative perspective by illuminating how this kind of instruction can be used as a context to explicitly discuss the three dimensions of learning (i.e., Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Crosscutting Concepts; NGSS Lead States, 2013) as well as the nature of science (NOS). Using PhBL to teach NOS is an answer to the concern of teachers who think teaching NOS would take time from their content teaching. Hopefully, this article provides a comprehensive guideline for science educators to facilitate the inclusion of PhBL in their science methods courses and use it to clarify the three dimensions of NGSS and the incorporation of NOS within these dimensions for preservice teachers.

A 20-year Journey in Elementary and Early Childhood Science and Engineering Education: A Cycle of Reflection, Refinement, and Redesign

by Cody Sandifer, Towson University; Pamela S. Lottero-Perdue, Towson University; & Rommel J. Miranda, Towson University
Abstract

Over the past two decades, science and engineering education faculty at Towson University have implemented a number of course innovations in our elementary and early childhood education content, internship, and methods courses. The purposes of this paper are to: (1) describe these innovations so that faculty looking to make similar changes might discover activities or instructional approaches to adapt for use at their own institutions and (2) provide a comprehensive list of lessons learned so that others can share in our successes and avoid our mistakes. The innovations in our content courses can be categorized as changes to our inquiry approach, the addition of new out-of-class activities and projects, and the introduction of engineering design challenges. The innovations in our internship and methods courses consist of a broad array of improvements, including supporting consistency across course sections, having current interns generate advice documents for future interns, switching focus to the NGSS science and engineering practices (and modifying them, if necessary, for early childhood), and creating new field placement lessons.