Students' Use of Physical Models to Experience Key Aspects of Scientists' Knowledge Creation Process

Presented at the National Association for Research on Science Teaching, Puerto Rico, 6 April 2013

This talk was one of a related paper set emerging from a project researching how teachers teach and students learn Earth Science using physical models. Kastens’ contribution was a theory paper exploring how scientists use physical models and computational models to create new knowledge at the frontiers of science, and how classroom use of physical models both resembles and differs from scientists’ practice. A key difference is that scientists focus huge effort on examining the correspondences and non-correspondences between the behavior of the model and the behavior of the Earth System as captured in data. This is rarely a focus of classroom use of physical models—but Kastens argues that it could be, and should be, so that students will come to view models as hypotheses to be tested rather than as truths to be memorized.

The related paper set will be re-presented at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston in April 2014, as part of NARST programming aimed at bring research to practice.

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Author:
Kim Kastens (EDC), Ann Rivet, Cheryl Lyons, Alison Miller (all of Teachers College, Columbia University)
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