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Taking Science to School: Learning and Teaching Science in Grades K-8
lenging others’ perspectives and claims; and (3) coordinating bits of knowledge that can be construed as coordinating theories with evidence.
Finally, to be productively engaged in the discipline, students must make intellectual progress. Whether progress can be considered productive depends on the discipline, the specific task and topic, and where students begin. Productive disciplinary engagement encompasses the additional criteria of demonstrated change over time in student investigations, complexity of argumentation, and use of previous investigations to generate new questions, new concepts, and new investigations.
In this section, we discuss the characteristics of individuals and classrooms that play a role in shaping students’ engagement with science. These include motivation, attitudes, identity, interactions between students’ values and norms and those of the science classroom, and, finally, characteristics of instruction that foster productive participation. We note that students’ motivation, attitudes, and identity toward science develop partly as a consequence of their experience of educational, social, and cultural environments. The educational environment in particular has an important influence on how students view science, their beliefs about their own ability to do science, and whether they feel supported to participate fully in the scientific community of the classroom. Consequently, we see productive participation as partly situation or context specific rather than as a stable personality trait that does not vary across settings.
Motivation, Attitudes, and Identity
Students’ motivation, their beliefs about science, and their identities as learners affect their participation in the science classroom and have consequences for the quality of their learning. More specifically, results of both experimental and classroom-based studies suggest that students’ own goals for science learning, their beliefs about their own ability in science, and the value they assign to science learning are likely to influence their cognitive engagement in science tasks (Lee and Anderson, 1993; Pintrich, Marx, and Boyle, 1993). Motivation, attitudes, and identity encompass cognitive components, such as beliefs about oneself and about science; emotional or affective components, such as values, interests, and attitudes; and behavioral components, such as persistence, effort, and attention.
Researchers studying motivation have developed a dizzying array of theoretical frameworks, making it challenging to develop a coherent picture of motivation, attitudes, and identity and the factors that shape them. The wide array of constructs that researchers have developed in their attempts to understand the components of motivation and attitudes have been organized by reviewers of the literature into a few broad categories (for examples, see Pintrich, Marx, and Boyle, 1993; Wigfield et al., 2006; National Research Coun-