About

The current MEL project builds from the foundation of our first MEL project. In that first, exploratory project, we investigated instructional scaffolds that promote critical evaluation and plausibility appraisal of controversial and/or complex Earth and space science topics. In the current MEL project, students construct their own model-evidence link (MEL) diagrams. We are calling these new scaffolds the "build-a-MEL," or baMEL for short.

First MEL project

In our initial exploratory grant for this project, we examined the use of instructional scaffolds called model-evidence link (MEL) activities to facilitate high school students' coordination of connecting evidence with alternative explanations of particular Earth and space science phenomena, as well as their collaborative argumentation about these phenomena. We also examined how high school students use these tools to construct scientifically accurate conceptions about major topics in Earth and space sciences and deepen their abilities to be critically evaluative in the process of scientific inquiry.

Four teachers, two from Clark County School District in Nevada and two from school districts in New Jersey, teamed up with the PI and Co-I in the development of these MEL diagrams, with their supporting evidence texts and evaluation instruments. The project employed a design-based research methodology and occurred over three years.

We developed four MEL activities that focus on important topics in Earth and space science:

  • Climate Change
  • Earthquakes and Fracking
  • Wetlands Use
  • Formation of the Moon

The first MEL grant was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. DRL-1316057 and was part of NSF's Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12) program.

Current Build-a-MEL (baMEL) project

The current project's research questions are:

  1. Do baMEL activities tested in multiple high school classroom settings promote critical evaluation, plausibility reappraisal, and scientifically accurate knowledge construction about controversial Earth and space science topics?
  2. How do these additional baMELs differ in promoting critical evaluation, plausibility reappraisal, and knowledge construction from pre-constructed MELs?
  3. To what extent does repeated use of both pre-constructed MELs and baMELs result in student engagement of scientific practices?

We are developing four baMEL activities that focus on important topics in Earth and space sciences:

  • Extreme Weather
  • Fossils and Earth's Past
  • Freshwater Availability
  • Origins of the Universe

The second MEL grant is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant No. DRL-1721041 and is part of NSF's Discovery Research K-12 (DRK-12) program.

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Provenance: Science Learning Research Group, Temple University
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The MEL projects are part of a larger group of projects from the Science Learning Research Group (SLRG) at Temple University.



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