It is not enough that students are provided with activities or experiences in the classroom, no matter how engaging or educationally sound they may inherently be. Without the interaction between students and teachers who are prepared to listen, guide and help resolve discrepancies, there will be little learning at best and incorrect conceptualizing at worst.
The strategies used by the teacher are of utmost importance, then, to the student's acquisition of aerospace concepts” It is important to note that, though what a teacher knows about aerospace is important, what she or he knows about directing children's learning is equally important. Interaction with a teacher who assists students in thinking about what they have done, who helps them examine and evaluate the process under consideration and who shares the joy of discovery with them, will provide students with some of the most meaningful moments of their schooling.
Included in the following is a description of the three types of lessons to be found in the Guide, an outline of teacher verbal skills, a section on concept attainment strategies and a checklist of problem-solving practices teachers can use to help make the activities of this guide even more meaningful and useful for students.
Though there are many ways to present a lesson, most of the lessons in this guide will be presented in one of the following three teaching styles:
Definition: This model involves the presentation by the teacher facts, concepts, generalizations, theories, skills, etc., which students are expected to learn. In general, it involves the teacher intermediary between students and the scholars in the field of science who generate conclusions in some form. This model is quite often justified as being most efficient in the teaching/learning time.
Purposes: To achieve content goals, to develop specific science related skills (metric system, use of equipment, graphing and other data collection skills, etc.) to gain knowledge of facts and explain phenomena.
Features: High teacher talk, large group instruction,.little student interaction, frequent displays and exhibits or demonstrations.
Teaching Skills: Instructional procedures are characterized by such things as lecturing, recitation, use of audio-visual materials, students reading of textural materials and teacher demonstrations.
Definition: This approach involves channeling student's activities so that they proceed through some or all the inquiry elements relating to a problem which a scientist has already completed. The basic idea is to lead students through inquiry, enabling students to generate independently, conclusions, concepts, generalizations, etc., similar to those of the scholar. In general, the intellectual problems to be inquired into and the elements of the inquiry are selected by the teacher, thus the term "guided" discovery.
Purpose: To achieve process goals, to gain working understanding (as opposed. to verbal understanding) of concepts, principles and generalizations and to produce understandings and users of scientific procedures.
Features: Frequent discussion sessions, laboratory work, student to student interaction.
Teaching Skills: Instructional procedures are characterized by selection of appropriate problems, motivating students, structuring activities, building students' actions and leading large group and small group discussions.
Definition: This model involves the teacher as a facilitator who assists, rather than directs, student inquiry into intellectual problems which, in many cases, the students themselves have selected. The problems and inquiries may or may not have been taken up previously by scholars. Thus, the approach is much more open-ended and the results less predictable than in the guided inquiry approach. The students choose their own problem, their own inquiry strategies, and rather than teach the students elements of a predetermined inquiry strategy, the teacher encourages student experimentation and recognizes possible failure in the use of particular strategies.
Purpose: To provide opportunities to identify problems and for the application of understanding concepts and problem solving skills in the investigation of those real world or contrived problems.
Features: Discussions of real world problems, individual and small group work, laboratory and out of school work.
Teaching Skills: Instructional skills are similar to those in guided inquiry. ey require, however, more flexibility and responsiveness to students than any of the teaching models. A type of creative improvisation on the part of the teacher is required,
A model of the three strategies may look like the following:
[p19 matrix of teaching styles]
4. Adapted from Joyce, B., Weill, M. Models of teaching (2nd ed.) Inglewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1980.
TEACHER VERBAL SKILLS IN SCIENCES
QUESTIONING SKILLS If a goal of science is to further develop students' higher thought processes through discovery-inquiry techniques, the types of questions and problems students are presented with becomes a very important consideration. Recall and memory-type questions (lower-order questions) have a very definite place in all science areas but it is primarily the open-ended, divergent and probing questions (higher-order questions) which allow students the opportunity to use ideas rather than just remember them.
Higher-order questions are questions which require students to evaluate, infer, hypothesize, compare, apply a concept or principle, solve a problem, perceive cause and effect, project themselves into historical situations, and draw up new ideas.
Some Guide Lines for Effective Questioning
Try to use more open-ended, divergent questions in contrast to convergent closed questions.
1. What did you observe? vs How far did your plane fly? 2. Tell me about your kite. what shape is your kite? 3. What happened in your Did you find out if you experiment? were right? 4. what objects are in your Is the rudder in your system? system? Try not to continually establish a T-C T-C T-C question and response pattern. It turns into an interrogation session not a discussion. The teacher is always forced to ask another question and the burden of thinking is on the teacher. Little child-child interaction will result. Questions which can be answered by a "yes" or "no" are directive and tend to limit possibilities for the children to express other ideas.
T - Did your rocket fly well‘? C - No.
id it fly? es. It would be better to say id it fly far? something like, "Tell me No. something about how your How far did it fly? rocket worked after you ot far. changed it?
If you want to know something specific ask for an answer d establish the mind-reading game. directly. Don't fish around an If you ask an open-ended question, accept the divergent responses ' d answer. You will get. Don't search for your preconceive
T - what did you observe C » Some have propellers. T about the airport? - I'm glad someone men= C - It has lots of planes. tioned propellers. T ~ Yes. How many propellers are C - Some are commercial and some there on a plane? ` are private planes. C - 3. T - Fine. T ~ Really? C » They make a lot of noise. C ~ 4. T ~ I see. C ~ 2. C - Some have double wings. T - what do you think? T - Anything else? C - I wasn't looking at the propellers! Be careful not to use too many fill-in-the-blank type questions. It promotes guessing for the right answer. T - This part of the plane is aluminum and . Avoid making statements and putting them in the form of a question. T - The rockets all have the same essential shape, don't they?
RESPONSES (TO PUPIL COMMENT OR ANSWER! SKILLS
Teachers need to develop a repertoire of responses to the comments and responses children make. Initially children need great deal of praise and encouragement. No one response should be used for every occasion. As the teacher and children contin to work with the materials, the teacher should try to make more neutral or fewer responses to the children's comments in order promote more interaction between the children.
Examples of responses
I see. That's an interesting idea. Thank you. O.K. Repeat answer Alright. what evidence do you have that Fine.
Any distinct pattern you may establish and any deviation from that pattern negative response.
T - Tell me about this object? (roc C - It's round. T - Good.
Can you show us? Silence Do you agree with Jon's How could we find out? That's a possibility. I don't agree.
ish may be expected by a may be misunderstood as
idea? child a
It's tall. Good. It has two engines¢ Good. It has two stages. It has two stages. Well, maybe it has
C. Be aware of the positive
It wi'|`| Yes: bu
it. ree _ negative type res
ponse you can make
Be aware of responses made by children that may be a clue to the teacher that she has been giving too many or too much reinforcement or positive approval.
Child answers questions in question form. Example C - It is going to crash? Child looks at teacher for approving eye. (The teacher should try to focus her attention on the object itself, instead of the child's face.
A. Wait time after a teacher question
If the students are being required to think more because of the use of higher order questions, the period of time that a teacher should wait for students to construct a response to a question should increase.
If for example, more than one pattern can be imposed on a h f objects, the student requires more time to process eap o J alternatives and decide which orderings are meaningful for him or her at that point in time.
Ask a question and follow it by silence. How long can you wait before you find it uncomfortable for you? Practice that skill.
Many children have learned to out-wait t times teachers answer their own question for the children.
what shape is your object? No response _ It's kind of Hke a bird, ‘isn't it? Yup.
Wait time before a teacher response-- Research shows that teachers tend to wai
he teacher because some s and do all the thinking less than a second
after a question is asked by them or a response is given to their question before the teacher responds again. The period of time a teacher waits before replying to a student response should in~ crease in order to promote higher level thinking on the student's part. Also, since the student may "open" with a variety of potentially acceptable responses, the teacher needs to hear what the student really said. If the teacher shifts the ground for dis= course with his/her next response, then the student often learns to monitor the teacher rather than the system of objects.
MORE ON VERBAL SKILLS
In general you should hear yourself asking these types of question How well did we do this?" "where can we get information? what is the problem" "what would happen if .... ." How are they alike? Different?" "Was our plan good?" what can we do to make it better?" "Where can you find.... ' How could you make a ..... " "Can you demonstrate .....
If your children are using higher order thinking ski"l`Is, you should hear these kinds of questions from them:
If that's true, why ..... "How could that happen?" Where did you find that information?" "How do you know that's true?
I understand that but, why .... ' "Can we try that again?
5. Adapted from: Staley, F. A comparison study of the effects of pre-service teachers presenting one or two micro-teaching lessons to different sized groups of peers on selected teaching behaviors and attitudes in an elementary science methods course (Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1971). Dissertation Abstracts International, 1972, 2301-A. 43 - 7. 23
coNcEPT AUAINMENT STRATEQIES5 Concepts are words or phrases that define certain classes of objects, events, situations, or systems. For example, one class or category of objects is TRIANGLE: closed figures that have three straight sides forming three angles are TRIANGLES. I have a concept of TRIANGLE if, whenever I come across a three-sided, closed figure whose sides are made up of straight lines (no matter what color), I mentally say, "TRIANGLE." Conceptual understandings are rather nice things to have because concept understanding: ~ 1. reduces the complexity of the environment (I can "store" all those various sizes and colors of three-sided, closed figures , under TRIANGLE) 2. reduces the necessity of constant learning (If I run into a blue one, I‘ll still know it‘s a TRIANGLE). When students understand a given concept, they are able to show us their understanding in various ways. If students have a concept of SPACECRAFT, students can:
A. Offer a lucid definition of the concept by listing (or identifying in some way) all the critical attributes that collectively define the concept (parrotin back a textbook definition doesn't necessarily tell us anything!g. For example, a student might say, "A spacecraft is a device that can have people in it or no people in it. what makes it a spacecraft is that it is made (1) to orbit the earth or (2) to fly outside the earth's atmosphere."
B. Identify an example of the concept and explain why this item is an example. For instance, a student might offer, "The Space Shuttle is a spacecraft because it (1) orbits the earth with a crew of two to six people. Even if it could orbit without people aboard it would still be a spacecraft because it orbits the earth."
C. Identify non-examples of the concept and explain why they are non-examples. Here a student might say, "A cruise missile is not a spacecraft. It can fly very far and very high but (1) it doesn't have enough energy to get into orbit or (2) the structural stability to withstand the lack of air pressure out of the atmosphere."
D. Identify those attributes that are critical to the concept from those that are true about the concept but are incidental to a definition of the concept. For example, a student might say, "The Space Shuttle is shaped like a rocket and it has wings which let it glide back to earth but that's not important to deciding whether it's a spacecraft or not." 6. Adapted from: Porter, L., et al. The skills infusion laboratory handbook for inservice facilitators. Berkley, MI: Skills Diffusion Laboratory, Berkley Schools, 1981. pp C18-21. 24
LEARNING CONCEPTS WITHOUT INSTRUCTION
In order for a child to arrive at an understanding of a concept, it is essential that s/he work through certain steps; for example, in developing a concept of airplane the child:
experiences an example of the concept and is cognizant of the attributes of this particular example (jet airplane and its attributes)
hears the concept label (the word) for this example ("airplane“)
experiences other, somewhat dissimilar, examples (propeller, float, glider, etc.) of the concept and is cognizant of their attributes
hears the same concept label applied to these examples (airplane)
"sorts out" the critical attributes from the incidental ones in order to discern those that are essential to a definition of the concept (throws out "wheels," "fuel tank," "engine," while keeping "wing," "stabilizer," "fuselage," and such.) `
6. organizes the language necessary to communicate a lucid definition (if language ability allows) of the concept.The definition ought to include the critical attributes of the concept. LEARNING CONCEPTS IN SCHOOL
It is clear that some concepts are learned, or, at least, partly learned, through random experience ("family," for example). Formal schooling, then, provides instruction designed to broaden, to make more complete, the students' understanding of the concept until it is a rich, full understanding. ~ Other concepts are generally introduced in a formal educational setting (triangle, square, goods and services, economic interdependence, technology). It is formal education that build students' understandings of these kinds of concepts and one of the most effective and most efficient strategies for teaching to an understanding of a specific concept is Hilda Taba's CONCEPT ATTAINMENT strategy. Taba's strategy is an instructional strategy that reflects the naturally occuring mental processes theorized to account for how we build conceptual understandings. It is a strategy designed to teach specific concepts; it is a strategy that provides students with an opportunity to "discover" the critical attributes of the concept, to "discover" the concept's meaning.
Essentially, Taba's CUNCEPT ATTAINMENT strategy has eight steps: The first step requires the teacher to provide the concept label
¢ indicating that the lesson's objective is to learn the concept's definition. “At the end of this lesson you will be able to tell me what a spacecraft is. You'll be able to define it and/or give me examples of spacecraft and you will have discovered for your- selves the meaning of spacecraft; I won't have to give you a dictionary definition because you‘ll be able to give me yours."
2. The second step requires the teacher to provide examples of the concept and for each example . . .
Ask focused questions concerning each of the examples. For example "what does this craft do?" "How far from the earth's atmosphere can this craft fly?" Ask similar questions about each example in order for students to note what is the same about all the examples of spacecraft that you present. -
Provide non-examples of the concept and for each non-example
Ask the same focused questions in order for students to note how the non-examples are different from the examples. Check for understanding by requesting that students provide addition al examples of the concept.
7. Check for understanding by requesting that students list_the critical`attribute(s) of the concept.
8. Provide opportunities for students to use their new learning in a variety of ways in order to retain their understanding of the concept.
BUT FIRST . . . Before a teacher can utilize the concept attainment strategy, s/he needs to have identified the CRITICAL ATTRIBUTES OF THE CONCEPT about to be taught. It is not always easy, but it is essential that the teacher have firmly in mind a lucid definition of the concept, the critical attributes of the concept that form the definition, and mental images of examples of the concept.
Teachers can use the concept attainment strategy at those points in a unit where some common word meanings are necessary for a clear understanding (a meaningful understanding) of the objects, behaviors, events, or situations that are being studied. For example, if students are involved in a study of aerospace, there are some basic terms that must be understood before real, meaningful comprehension of the unit can take place - "action/reaction," "micro-gravity," "exploration," "interpreting data," come to mind. Quick verbal definitions from the teacher, written textbook or dictionary definitions WILL NOT insure meaningful understanding of concepts such as these. No one can guarantee that the concept attainment strategy will result in perfect understanding either, but the probability that a students will develop real understanding of concepts is considerably increased.
AN INVENTORY OF PROBLEM-SOLVING PRACTICES
An inventory of problem-solving practices can be used by a teacher in making an appraisal of the extent to which he or she provides for the suggested item under the various elements in problem solving By making a self~analysis of practices in regard to this objective, teachers should be able to locate their strengths and weaknesses. This would provide a reliable basis for improving classroom practices
Inventory of Problem-Solving Practices
Directions: Check your response to each of the proper space at the right. A.. SENSING AND DEFINING PROBLEMS: To what extent do you: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10. help pupils sense situations involving personal and social problems? help pupils recognize specific prob- lems in these situations? ' help pupils in isolating the single major idea of a problem? help pupils state problems as definite and concise questions? help pupils pick out and define the key words as a means or getting a better understanding of the prob- lem? help pupils evaluate problems in terms of personal and social needs? help pupils to be aware of the exact meaning of word-groups and shades of meaning of words in problems involving the expression of ideas? following items in the g Often Occasion Seldom Never ally present overview lessons to raise significant problems? permit pupils to discuss possible problems for study? encourage personal interviews about problems of individual interest? _ a,
7. Sund, R., & Trowbridge, L. Teaching science by inguirz in the secondary school (Znd ed.). Coiumbusz Merriii, 1973.
B. COLLECTING EVIDENCE ON PROBLEMS
hat e 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.
xtent do you: provide a wide variety of sources of information? help pupils develop skill in using reference sources? help pupils develop skill in note taking? help pupils develop skill in using aids in books? help pupils evaluate information pertinent to the problem? provide laboratory demonstrations for collecting evidence on a problem? help pupils to develop skill in in terviewing to secure evidence on a problem? ~ provide controlled experiments for collecting evidence on a problem? provide for using the resources of the community in securing evidence on a problem? ` provide for using visual aids in securing evidence on a problem? evaluate the pupils' ability for collecting evidence on a problem as carefully as you evaluate their knowledge of facts?
C. ORGANIZING EVIDENCE ON PROBLEMS
To what e 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. »7.
extent do you: help pupils develop skill in arranging data? help pupils develop skill in making graphs of data? help pupils make use of deductive reasoning in areas best suited? provide opportunities for pupils to make summaries of data? help pupils distinguish relevant from irrelevant data? provide opportunity for pupils to make outlines of data? evaluate the pupil‘s ability to or- ganize evidence as carefully as you evaluate their knowledge of facts?
Often Occasion- Se1dom Never a11y
To what extent do you: D. INTERPRETING EVIDENCE ON PROBLEMS: help pupils select the important ideas related to the problem? ‘ help pupils identify the different relationships which may exist be- tween the important ideas? help pupils see the consistencies and weaknesses in data? help pupils state relationships as generalizations which may serve as hypotheses?» evaluate the pupils' ability for interpreting evidence as carefully as you evaluate their knowledge of fact? E SELECTING AND TESTING HYPOTHESES: To what extent do you: help pupils judge the significance or pertinence of data? help pupils check hypotheses with recognized authorities? help pupils make inferences from facts and observations? » help pupils devise controlled experiments suitable for testing hypotheses? help pupils recognize and formulate assumptions basic to a given hypothesis? help pupils recheck data for; possible errors in interpretation? evaluate the pupils' ability for selecting and testing hypotheses as carefully as you evaluate their knowledge of facts? F FORMULATING CONCLUSIONS: To what what extent do you: help pupils formulate conclusions on the basis of tested evidence? help pupils evaluate their conclusions in the light of the assumptions they set up for the problem? help pupils apply their conclusions to new situations? evaluate pupils' ability to formulate conclusions as carefully as you evaluate their knowledge of_facts? Often Occasion Seldom Never ally I 29