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SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM Committe e on How People Learn, A Targ eted Report for Teac hers M. Suzanne Donovan and John D. Bransford, Editors Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu
ntE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS . 500 Eildh stress N.W. . Washlng~n, D.C. 20001 NOT CE The project that is the subject of this ¢port was approved by the Govern- ing Board of the National Research Council, whose members am drawn from the counci s of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the in aitute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the nape t wed chosen for their special competences and with Regard for appropriate balance This study was supported by Award No R215U990024 between the Nationa Acad- emy of Sciences and the U.s. Department of Education. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations ezpnessed in this publication am those of the author s) and do not necessari y reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. Llbrary of Congress CamlogJng-in-Publlcatlon Dam National Research Council (U.s ) Committee on How People Learn, A Targeted Report for Teachets. How students learn: history, mathematics, and science in the c assnoon1 / Committee on How People Learn, A Targeted Report for Teachets; M. Suza me Donovan and John D. Btansford, editors. p. cm. "Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education." Includes bib lag aphical references and index. ISBN 0-309 07433-9 (hardcover)ISBN 0-309-08948-4 (pbk.) ISBN 0-309 08949-2 (pbk.)ISBN 0-309 08950-6 (pbk.) 1. Learning. 2. Class oom management. 3. Curriculum planning. 1. Donovan, Suzanne. 11 Bransford, John 111 Title LB1060.N38 2005 370.15'23 dc22 2004026246 Additional copies of this Report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334- 3313 (in the Washington metropolitan a¢a); Internet, http://www.nap.edu printed in the United States of Amenca Copy ight 2005 by the Natkmal Academy of Sciences All rights reserved Suggested citation: National Research Counci . (2005). How Students Learn: Science in the Classroom. Committee on How People Learn, A Targeted Report for Teachets, M.S. Donovan and J.D. Bransford, Editors. Division of Behavioral md Socia Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Notion on Srienre, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Shier Ices is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating soci- ety of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering Research, dedi- cated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general we fare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that Sequins it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The NatlonalAcademyofEngineeringwas established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members. shanag with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal govemrrent. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineer- ing prog ams aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the supenor achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wu f is presi- dent of the National Academy of Engineenng. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the ¢sponsibi ity given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the fede al government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy s purposes of furthenng knowledge and advising the federal govern- ment. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the pnocipal ope Sting agency of both the National Acad- emy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineenng in providing services to the govemment, the public, and the scientific and engineenng communities. The Council is administered joint y by both Academies and the institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. A berts and Dr. Wm. A. Wu f am chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.nedional-nendemies.or9
v COMMITTEE ON HOW PEOPLE LEARN: A TARGETED REPORT FOR TEACHERS JOHN D. BRANSFORD (Chair), College of Education, University of Washington SUSAN CAREY, Department of Psychology, Harvard University KIERAN EGAN, Department of Education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada SUZANNE WILSON, School of Education, Michigan State University SAMUEL S. WINEBURG, Depattment of Education, Stanford University M. SUZANNE DONOVAN, Study Director SUSAN R. MCCI TCH EN, Research Associate ALLISON E. SHOUP, StniorProjectAssutant ELIZABETH B. TOWNSEND, Senior Project Assistant
vii Preface This book has its roots in the report of the Committee on t)evelopments in the Science of Leaming, How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School (National Research Council, 1999, National Academy Press). That report presented an illuminating review of research in a variety of fields that has advanced understanding of human learning. The report also made an important attempt to draw from that body of knowledge implications for teaching. A follow-on study by a second committee explored what research and development would need to be done, and how it would need to be communicated, to be especially useful to teachers, principals, supennten- dents, and policy makers: How Peop/e Learn: Badging Research and Prac- tice (National Research Council, 1999). These two individual reports were combined to produce an expanded edition of How People Learn (National Research Council, 2000). We refer to this volume as HPL. The next step in the work on how people learn was to provide ex- amples of how the principles and findings on learning can be used to guide the teaching of a set of topics that commonly appear in the K-12 culliculunl. This work focused on three subject areas history, mathematics, and sci- enceand resulted in the book How Students Learn: History, Mathematics, and SO once in the Classroom Each area was treated at three levels: elemen- tary, middle, and high school. This volume includes the subset of chapters from that book focused on science, along with the introduction and concluding chapter for the larger volume. However the full set of chapters can be found on the enclosed Cl). t)istinguished researchers who have extensive experience in teaching or in partnering with teachers were invited to contribute the chapters. The
PREFACE committee shaped The goals for the volume, and commentedsometimes extensivelyon The draft chapters as they were written and revised. The principles of HPL are embedded in each chapter, though There are differ- ences from one chapter to The next in how explicitly they are discussed. Taking this next step to elaborate The HPL principles in context poses a potential problem dhat we wish to address at the outset. The meaning and relevance of The principles for classroom teaching can be made clearer with specific examples. At The same time, however, many of The specifics of a particular example could be replaced with odhers that are also consistent with The HPL principles. In looking at a single example, it can be difficult to distinguish what is necessary to effective teaching from what is effective but easily replaced. Widh tills in mind, it is critical dhat the teaching and learning examples in each chapter be seen as illustrative, not as blueprints for The "nght" way to teach. We can imagine, by analogy, dhat engineering students will better grasp The relationship between The laws of physics and The construction of effec- tive supports for a blidge if they see some examples of well-designed budges, accompanied by explanations for The choices of the critical design features. The challenging engineering task of crossing The entrance of The San Fran- cisco Bay, for example, may bring The relationship between physical laws, physical constraints, and engineering solutions into clear and meaningful focus. But There are some design elements of The Golden Gate Budge that could be replaced widh 0. h e - s dhat serve The same end, and people may well differ on which among a set of good designs creates the most appealing blidge. To say that the Golden Gate Bridge is a good example of a suspension blidge does not mean it is the only, or The best possible, design for a suspension bridge. If one has many successful suspension bridges to com- pare, The design features dhat are required for success, and Those that are replaceable, become more apparent. And The requirements dhat are uni- form across contexts, and The requirements dhat change with context, are more easily revealed. The chapters in tills volume highlight different approaches to address- ing the same fundamental principles of teaming. It would be ideal to be able to provide two or more "HPL compatible" approaches to teaching the same topic. However, we cannot provide that level of specific variability in This volume. We encourage readers to look at chapters in o her disciplines as well in order to see more clearly The common features across chapters, and the variation in approach among the chapters.. This volume could not have come to life without The help and dedica- tion of many people, and we are grateful to them. The financial support of our sponsors, The U. s. Department of Education and The members of The President's Circle of The National Academy of Sciences, was essential. We
PREFACE iX appreciate both their support and their patience during the unexpectedly long period required to shape and produce so extensive a volume with so many different con tori bll tot s. Our thanks to C. Kent McGuire, former assistant secretary of education research and improvement for providing the initial grant for this project, and to his successor and now director of the National Institute for Education Sciences, Grover J. Whitehurst; thanks are due as well to Patricia O'Connell Ross, Jill Edwards Staton, Michael Kestner, and Linda Jones at the Department of Education for working with us throughout, and providing the time required to produce a quality product. This report is a somewhat unusual undertaking for the National Re- search Council in that the committee members did not author the report chapters, but served as advisers to the chapter authors. The contributions of committee members were extraordinary. In a fret meeting the comr ittee and chapter authors worked together to plan the volume. The committee then read each draft chapter, and provided extensive, and remarkably pro- ductive, feedback to chapter authors. As drafts were revised, corer ittee members reviewed them again, pointing out concerns and proposing poten- tial solutions. Their generosity and their commitment to the goal of this project are noteworthy. Alexandra Wigdor, dilector of the Division on Education, Labor, and Human Performance when this project was begun, provided ongoing guid- ance and experienced assistance with revisions Rona Bnere brought her special skills in editing the entire volume. Our thanks go to Allison E Shoup, who was senior project assistant, supporting the project through much of its life; to Susan R McCutchen, who prepared the manuscript for review; to Claudia Sauls and Candice Crawford, who prepared the final manuscript; and to Deborah Johnson, Sandra Smotherman, and Elizabeth B. Townsend, who willingly provided additional support when needed. Kirsten Sampson Snyder handled the report review process, and Yvonne Wise handled report productionboth challenging tasks for a report of this size and complexity. We are grateful for their help. This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with proce- dures approved by the National Research Council's Report Review Commit- tee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The re- view comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the in- tegrity of the deliberative process. We thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jo Boaler, Mathematics Education, School of Edu- cation, Stanford University; Mirram L. Clifford, Mathematics Department, Carroll College, Waukesha, Wisconsin; O.L. Davis, Cumculum and Instruction, The
PREFACE University of Texas at Austin; Patricia B L)odge, Science Teacher, Essex Middle School, Essex Junction, Vermont; Carol T. Hines, History Teacher, Barrel C. Swope Middle School, Reno, Nevada; Janis Lanviere, UTeach Science and Mathematics Teacher Preparation, The University of Texas at Austin; Gaea Leinhardt, Learning Research and Development Center and School of Education, University of Pittsburgh; Alan M. Lesgold, Of rice of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh; Marcia C. Linn, Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology, University of California, Berkeley; Kathleen Metz, Cognition and Development, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley; Thomas Romberg, National Center for Research in Math- ematics and Science Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Peter Seixas, Centre for the Study of Histoncal Consciousness, University of British Columbia. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they did not see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Alan M. Lesgold, University of Pittsburgh. Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authors, the committee, and the instTh~tion. John 1). Bransford, Chair M. Suzanne t)onovan, Study Director
Contents 1 Introduction M. Suzanne Donovan andJohn D. Bransford A Fish Story, 2 Learning Environments and the Design of instruction, 12 Putting the Pnnciples to Work in the Classroom, 20 Intent and Organization of This Volume, 21 Notes, 2S References, 26 Part I History (on enclosed CD; not printed in this volume) 2 Putting Pnnciples into Practice: Understanding History PeterJ Lee History and Everyday ideas, 33 Substantive Concepts, 61 History That Works, 65 Notes, 73 References, 74 3 Putting Pnnciples into Practice: Teaching and Planning Rosalyn. Ashby, PeferJ Lee, and Dents Shem fit The Reality Test, 80 Working with Evidence: Pilgrim Fathers and Native Americans, 84 Working with Evidence: The St. Brendan's Voyage Task, 119 1 31 79
X;; CONTENTS Appendrx 3A: Implicat ons for Planning, 164 Notes, 177 References, 177 4 "They Thought the World Was Hats": Applying the Principles of How People Learn in Teaching High School History Rober,TB. Barn Where to Begin? Transforming Topics and Ob ectives into Histoncal Problems, 181 U.esigning a "History-Considerate" Leaming Environment: Tools for Historical Thinking, 199 Conclusion, 209 Acknowledgments, 210 Notes, 211 References, 212 Pan 11 Mathematics (on enclosed CD; not printed in this volume) 5 Mathematical Understanding: An Introduction Karen C. Fuson, Windy Ka.7chman, and John D. Bransford Pnnciple #1: Teachers Must Engage Students' Preconceptions, 219 Pnnciple #2: Understanding Requires Factual Knowledge and Conceptual Frameworks, 231 Pnnciple #3: A Metacognitive Approach Enables Student Self-Monitonng, 236 Next Steps, 243 Notes, 246 References, 246 Suggested Reading List for Teachers, 256 6 Fostenng the Development of Whole-Number Ser se: Teaching Mathematcs in the Primary Grades Sharon Griffins Deciding What Knowledge to Teach, 259 Building on Children's Current Understandings, 267 Acknowledging Teachers' Conceptions and Partial Understandings, 279 Revisiting Queston 2: L)ehming the Knowledge That Should Be Taught, 281 How Can This Knowledge Be Taught?: The Case of Number Worlds, 282 What Sorts of Leaming L)oes This Approach Make Possible?, 302 179 217 257
CONTENTS Xiii Sumr ary and Conclusion, 305 Acknowledgments, 306 Notes, 306 References, 306 7 Pipes, Tubes, and Beakers: New Approaches to Teaching the Rational-Number System Joan Moss Rational-Number Learning and the Principles of How People Learn, 312 Instruction in Rational Number, 319 Conclusion: How Students Learn Rational Number, 341 Notes, 343 Reierences, 345 8 Teaching and Learning Functions .llindy Kalchman and Kenneth R. Koedinger Addressing the Three Principles, 359 Teaching Functions for Understanding, 373 Sumr ary, 389 Acknowledgments, 391 Notes, 392 References, 392 Other Relevant Readings, 393 Partill Science 9 Scientific Inquiry and How Peop/e Learn John D. Bransford and M. Suzanne Donovan Pnnciple #1 Addressing Preconceptions, 399 Pnnciple #2: Knowledge of What it Means to "L)o Science," 403 Pnnciple #3: Metacognition, 407 The How People Learn Framework, 411 Conclusion, 415 Notes, 416 References, 416 309 351 397 ~ ~ Teaching to Promote the Development of Scientific Knowledge and Reasoning About Light at the Elementary School Level 421 Shirley J Magnusson and Annemane Su/:livan Palinscar The Study of Light, 422 The Study of Light Through inquiry, 426 Supporting Leaming Through Cycles of investigation, 460
X;V CONTENTS The Role of Sublect-Specific Knowledge in Effective Science Instruction, 467 Conclusion, 469 Notes, 470 References, 472 11 Guided Inquiry in the Science Classroom James Minsf sell and Pamela Kraus The Unit: The Nature of Gravity and Its Effects, 477 Sumr ary, 511 Notes, 512 12 Developing Understanding Through Model-Based inquiry James Stewart, Jennifer L. Cartier, and Cynthia M. Passmore Genetics, 516 L)eveloping L)arwin's Model of Natural Selection in High School Evolution, 540 Classroom Environments That Support Learning with Understanding, 555 Summary, 561 Notes, 562 References, 563 A Final Synthesis: Revisiting the Three Learning Principles 13 Pulling Threads M. Suzanne Donovan and /ohn D. Bransford Engaging Resilient Preconceptions, 569 Organizing Knowledge Around Core Concepts, 575 Supporting Metacognition, 577 Principles of Learning and Classroom Environments, 586 Notes, 588 References, 589 Other Resources, 590 515 569 Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Contributors 591 Index 597
SCIENCE IN THE CLASSROOM