IBSE and How Children Learn

Report
Wynne Harlen
Fibonacci European Training Session, March 21st 2012
Agenda
 IBSE and why it is important
 Why start at the primary level
 What we know about how children learn
 The importance of skills
 Implications for pupils activities
 Implications for teachers’ activities
 Implications for CPD
Defining inquiry-based science education
 IBSE means students progressively developing key
scientific ideas through learning how to investigate and
build their knowledge and understanding of the world
around. They use skills employed by scientists such as
raising questions, collecting data, reasoning and
reviewing evidence in the light of what is already known,
drawing conclusions and discussing results. This learning
process is all supported by an inquiry-based pedagogy,
where pedagogy is taken to mean not only the act of
teaching but also its underpinning justifications.
(IAP 2011)
Why IBSE
Some possible reasons:
1. To provide more future students of science who will
become scientists and technologists?
2. To give provide scientific literacy for all students
whether on not they will continue to study science?
3. To develop skills of inquiry that can be used in
other areas besides science?
4. To give students sound understanding of scientific
concepts?
5. To ensure students know key scientific facts?
6. To promote life-long learning?
2 important answers to ‘Why IBSE ?’
 Current views of learning
 active participation of learners
 first hand experience
 emphasis on value of talk, dialogue, reflection
 Current views of what students need to learn
 scientific literacy
 learning how to learn throughout life
Why IBSE? Reason 1
 IBSE is consistent with current views of how
learning takes place, that is that:
 children work things out for themselves from an early
age (eg from repeated actions)
 they often arrive at ideas that conflict with scientific
ones because they are based on young children’s
necessarily limited experience and reasoning
 seen from the children’s point of view they are
reasonable
 these ideas cannot be easily replaced by giving the
‘right’ answer
Why IBSE? Reason 2
 IBSE is consistent with current views of what
students need to learn in preparation for the modern
world:
 A grasp of the ‘big ideas’ which enable active
participation in science and technology-related
decisions (‘scientific literacy’)
 A basic understanding of what science is, how it works
and its strengths and limitations
 Ability to continue learning, developing awareness and
understanding of the process of learning, through
reflection on what has been learned and how.
Why start at the primary level?
 Children are developing ideas about the world around
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them whether or not they are taught science (Piaget,
Osborne and Freyberg, SPACE)
Their ideas result from (limited) reasoning and may be
‘unscientific’ but need to be taken seriously
Moving towards more scientific ideas means using the
skills of scientific inquiry
Attitudes (towards science and of science) develop early
Developing and changing science skills and ideas
contributes to developing habits of learning and
reflection.
What we know about how children learn
Evidence collected by Piaget and later by others
 children work things out for themselves from an early
age – from repeated actions
 they often arrive at ideas that conflict with scientific
ones because they are based on young children’s
necessarily limited experience and reasoning
 seen from the children’s point of view they are
reasonable
The rain cycle
Inside the incubating egg
Or…
Seeing the bottle
‘your eyes sort of work like a light’
How students are learning in an inquiry
classroom
 Learners making sense of new experiences for (not
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by) themselves
Being active in constructing knowledge through their
mental and physical activity (not passive receivers)
Linking new experiences to past ones
Testing ideas and reconstructing their own ideas
Using ideas from others
A framework for learning through inquiry
New experience/question
Possible explanation
Prediction
Plan and conduct
investigation
Interpret data
Conclusion
Alternative
ideas
Existing idea
Bigger
idea
New experience/question
Possible explanation
Alternative
ideas
Existing idea
New experience/question
Possible explanation
Prediction
Plan and conduct
investigation
Interpret data
Alternative
ideas
Existing idea
New experience/question
Possible explanation
Prediction
Plan and conduct
investigation
Interpret data
Conclusion
Alternative
ideas
Existing idea
Bigger
idea
The role of inquiry in learning science: two
caveats
 Not all learning in science involves inquiry
 Conventions, names, etc are best taught directly
 But when understanding is the aim, then inquiry is
the appropriate approach
 Not all use of inquiry skills in science is scientific
inquiry
 The content on which inquiry skills are used must
enable the development of science concepts
 For genuine inquiry, learners don’t know the answer to
the question or problem they are investigating.
Inquiry in action: classroom prerequisites
 Materials and equipment appropriate for the activities and age
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of the pupils
Access to secondary sources of information
Classroom arranged for pupils to work in groups
Giving sufficient time is for discussing pupils’ ideas, clarifying
the question being investigated, collecting data, discussing
what has been done and found out
Pupils have note books or folders for keeping their records
Pupils are taught techniques for using equipment, including
measuring instruments, safely and effectively
Pupils are helped to use appropriate scientific terms and
representations
Tolerance and mutual respect are encouraged
Pupils’ work is displayed in the classroom.
Inquiry in action: experiences of learners
 Pursuing questions which they have identified as their own even if
introduced by the teacher
 Raising further questions which can lead to investigations
 Making predictions based on what they think or find out
 Taking part in planning investigations with appropriate controls to
answer specific questions
 Carrying out investigations
 Gathering evidence by observing real events or using other sources
which enables them to test their predictions
 Considering how their results answer the investigation question
 Trying to explain their results
 Collaborating in group work
 Talking to each other or to the teacher about what they are observing or
investigating
etc
Inquiry in action: teachers’ activities
 Asking for pupils’ own ideas
 Helping pupils to express their ideas clearly
 Giving pupils positive feedback
 Encouraging pupils’ questions
 Involving pupils in planning investigations with
appropriate controls
 Ensuring pupils check their results
 Helping pupils to keep notes and systematic records
etc
Rationale for the diagnostic tool
 This is the thinking that has been built into the
Fibonacci Diagnostic tool
 Over to Susana

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