Journal directory listing - Volume 50 Number 2 (2005/October) - Science Education【50(2)】

Developing the Skills Sixth Graders Need for Constructing Scientific Explanations in Inquiry-based Learning Environments Author: Chou-En Hsieh(Yeongpyng Elementary School, Taipei County), Hsin-Jai Wu(Graduate Institute of Science Education, NTNU)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 50, No.2
Date:October 2005


Most elementary school students have difficulty in constructing scientific explanations. To develop students’ explanation skills, we designed a series of inquiry-based learning activities and provided substantial scaffolding to engage students in scientific inquiry. The purpose of this study was to understand how sixth graders develop the skills necessary for constructing scientific explanations in such inquiry-based learning environments. Eight skills relevant to students’ construction of scientific explanations were identified based on a review of the done research on scientific explanations. These include three core skills—“identifying causal relationships,” “describing a reasoning process,” and “using data as evidence”—and four related skills: “making a claim,” “using graphs to support explanations,” “using language to support explanations,” and “evaluating the quality of an explanation.” Multiple sources of quantitative and qualitative data (e.g., video recordings of learning activities, interviews, questionnaires, and pre/post tests) were collected from two science classes with a total of 58 sixth graders. The statistical results show that overall the students’ ability to construct scientific explanations was significantly improved after they did the series of inquiry-based learning activities. Among the three core skills, skill in “identifying a causal relationship” could be most easily developed while skill in “using data as evidence” was the least improved. Growth patterns in the related skills were also varied. Based on the findings, this study provides suggestions for developing students’ scientific explanation capacity. Directions for future research are also discussed.

Keywords:Inquiry, Scientific Explanation

《Full Text》

APA FormatHsieh, C.-E., & Wu, H.-J. (2005). Developing the Skills Sixth Graders Need for Constructing Scientific Explanations in Inquiry-based Learning Environments. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Mathematics & Science Education, 50(2), 55-84. doi:10.6300/JNTNU.2005.50(2).03