Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Developing and Using Models

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Developing and Using Models

Article excerpt

It's an honor to serve as guest editor for this issue of The Science Teacher (TST), which focuses on the theme "Developing and Using Models." In the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), developing and using models is identified as an important scientific practice, a powerful way to make sense of the world. While there are many types of models, this issue emphasizes models that students develop and use to explain phenomena. Beyond constructing explanations, engaging students in developing models can also support other important scientific practices, especially as students consider how well their models are internally logical, motivate investigation, correspond to data analysis, and focus argumentation.

Unfortunately, most teachers and students have not traditionally used models in these ways. We called on researchers and teachers who have developed important model-based instructional strategies to help us make this issue of TST a kind of primer for engaging students in modeling experiences. Each feature article illuminates a particular aspect of those experiences we have found to be important. The articles represent a range of science disciplines to make the issue useful to all high school science teachers.

The first feature focuses on the importance of grounding modeling instruction in scientifically rich, often complex natural phenomena in physics classrooms (Campbell, Neilson, and Oh, p. 35). This helps students begin to coordinate their existing knowledge of science principles into models that help explain the phenomena. The second article, highlighting a biology unit on natural selection, examines how modeling can serve as an anchor as discourse shifts from analyzing and interpreting evidence to developing explanations to engaging in argument from evidence (Passmore et al. …

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