Re-conceptualizing the Scientific Inquiry Geoscience Education Literature in Context of the K-12 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Practices

Wednesday 2:45pm Northrop Hall: 340


Nancy Price, SUNY College at Plattsburgh
Aspects of science practice as related to inquiry have been included in the discussions of K-12 education from the earliest stages of standards development. However, only recently with the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have specific aspects of scientific practice been defined and required. The NGSS define grade-specific learning targets of eight Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions & Defining Problems; Developing & Using Models, Planning & Carrying Out Investigations; Analyzing & Interpreting Data; Using Mathematics & Computational Thinking; Constructing Explanations & Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; and Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information. In an effort to re-conceptualize past research in light of these, a review of the geosciences scientific inquiry literature was conducted, with references coded by the type of article, grade level, practice(s) they address, and the assessable learning targets/competencies.

Inquiry-focused geoscience publications were strongly represented by the practices most commonly associated with the "nature of the geosciences", such as Developing & Using Models in the understanding of systems models. Publications coded by more than one practice revealed "practice pairs" that are common in the geosciences. For example, the pairing of Analyzing & Interpreting Data with Obtaining, Evaluating, & Communicating Information shows that the organization of data on maps to reveal relationships is important in both interpreting and communicating spatial information in the geosciences. Pairing also shows areas where the distinction between two practices is blurred, indicating places where students might have trouble learning these in the context of the geosciences. Most notable is the pairing of Analyzing & Interpreting Data and Using Mathematics & Computational Thinking because some large datasets are best investigated using computational programs. Finally, the absence of pairing between practices and the underrepresentation of some practices in the literature (e.g., Asking Questions) show areas where further research is needed.

Presentation Media
Re-conceptualizing the Scientific Inquiry Geoscience Education Literature (Acrobat (PDF) 4.9MB Jul27 17)