Learning About Vs. Figuring Out

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Learning About Vs. Figuring Out

Molly Fox
• What do you see as the difference between “learning about” a science idea and “figuring out how and/or why” something works (in science)?

Learning about a science idea implies that students will be told the general knowledge about the idea.  For example, they are told the facts about force and motion.  They might talk about examples of force and motion and watch videos.  They are “learning about force and motion.”  Figuring out how a science idea works is starting with the phenomena.  The starting point is meant to raise questions.  Then students build their science knowledge to make it meaningful.  They are “wondering how fore and motion work.”

• Which of these two ideas (learning about or figuring things out) best represents the most recent research on how students learn science today?  

Figuring things out best represents the most recent research.  Almost all of the articles for this class have mentioned students’ curiosity and using this to generate questions.  Learning about science does not give space for questions.  It’s all the answers- just given to a student with no meaning.

• Why might the idea of "figuring things out" be included in a section on "How Students Learn Science"?  Support your answer/argument with examples and/or evidence.

Figuring things out is included with how students learn science because this is what the NGSS are.  Students are no longer given a cookbook experiment to repeat the steps and be told the facts they were supposed to learn.  In Tara Mathewson’s article she stated that now students see a natural phenomenon to spark curiosity.  Then this leads to inquiry to make sense of it.  This is figuring out science instead of just learning about it.