Presentation - Utah State University

Reification of Five Types of
Modeling Pedagogies with
Model-Based Inquiry (MBI)
Modules for High School
Science Classrooms
Todd Campbell
Associate Professor Science Education
Utah State University
Presentation Overview
What is Modeling and MBI
Literature Supportive of
Investigations in Modeling
5 Types of Modeling Pedagogies
Modeling Pedagogies Exemplars
Past and Future Modeling Research
This presentation focuses on Modeling Research
Dr. Phil Seok Oh-Science Educator-Visiting Scholar at Utah State University
from Gyeongin National University of Education, Korea
Mr. Drew Neilson-Science Teacher-Former Masters Student & Co-Researcher
Current research presented (Invited Chapter)
Campbell, T., Oh, P.S., & Neilson, D. Reification of Five Types of Modeling
Pedagogies with Model-Based Inquiry (MBI) Modules for High School Science
Classrooms. Next Generation Learning Science: Reform, Research and Results an
edited book by Sense Publishers
It has been declared that doing science is aptly described as making,
using, testing, and revising models.
Modeling has also emerged as an explicit pedagogical practice in
science education reform efforts (e.g. Framework for K-12 Science
Education-National Research Council [NRC], 2011)
Modeling is conceived as a central practice for science learning that can
allow “students to be themselves within a culture of scientific inquiry”
(Johnston, 2008, p. 12),
support the development of explanations extracted from evidence, and
engage students in scientific argumentation through sharing,
comparing, and deciding between competing models.
What is the purpose of modeling and what is MBI?
The purpose of modeling is to describe, explain, predict, and
communicate with others a natural phenomenon, an event,
or an entity. (Shen & Confrey, 2007, p. 950).
Model-Based Inquiry is a process in which students “explore
phenomena and construct and reconstruct models in light of
the results of scientific investigations” (Oh & Oh, 2011).
An Example of Student Model
A Pathway We Have Used for MBI
Literature Supportive of Investigations in Modeling
Modeling in Science
Situating modeling in science education begins to make
sense by considering the roles modeling plays in the work
of scientists.
In science, models serve to describe, explain, and predict natural
phenomena and communicate scientific ideas to others (Buckley &
Boulter, 2000; Oh & Oh, 2011; Shen & Confrey, 2007).
Literature Supportive of Investigations in Modeling
Modeling in Science
Examples in the work of Scientists
Gilbert, Boulter, and Rutherford (1998) shared how Newton used a
model of white light composed heterogeneously of colors to
enable a full range of explanations surrounding the behavior
of light.
Justi and Gilbert (1999) also provided evidence of how and when
scientists used models and modeling as ideas about chemical
kinetics evolved and became more sophisticated.
Literature Supportive of Investigations in Modeling
It can be seen that models help bridge the gap between observed
phenomena and theoretical ideas about why those phenomena
occur (Morrison & Morgan, 1999; Oh & Oh, 2011).
Modeling in Science Education
The same principle applies to science learning: using models in
science classrooms is beneficial because models support
constructing and reasoning with students’ mental models.
Literature Supportive of Investigations in Modeling
Modeling in Science Education
Gobert and colleagues (Gobert, 2005; Gobert & Clement, 1999;
Gobert & Pallant, 2004) showed, for example, that the process of
modeling the interior of the earth and its dynamic movements was
helpful both for enhancing students’ understanding of the
spatial and causal aspects of plate tectonics and for fostering their
perceptions of the nature of models.
Literature Supportive of Investigations in Modeling
Modeling in Science Education
Examples Cont.
Penner, Lehrer, and Schauble (1998) engaged third-grade children in
building, testing, and revising models of the human elbows and found
that with modeling even young students better understood the
mechanics of the human body.
Modeling in Science Teacher Education
In addition, models and modeling have shown their promises in
science teacher education programs as well (Akerson et al., 2009;
Schwarz & Gwekwerere, 2007; Schwarz & White, 2005; Windschitl &
Thompson, 2006).
Current State and Gaps
A Conceptual Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2011)
suggests, “Modeling can begin in the earliest grades, with
students’ models progressing from concrete ‘pictures’ and/or
physical scale models … to more abstract representations of
relevant relationships in later grades” (p. 3-9).
However, it has been reported consistently that model-based
teaching is not widely implemented in schools and that, when
implemented, it is likely missing some important aspects of
scientific modeling (Khan, 2011).
Timeliness of Research
In agreement with Louca et al. (in press), we recognized the need of a
project to provide teachers with conceptual, as well as practical
guidance that helps them apply scientific modeling
successfully in their classrooms.
Such a project was actually realized thanks to the recent proposal of five
modeling pedagogies (Oh & Oh, 2011).
This work continues Oh & Oh’s (2011) work by further
developing the five pedagogies by examining these five
practices actualized in classrooms to offer practical guidance
for applying scientific modeling successfully in classrooms.
Five Modeling Pedagogies
5 Modeling Pedagogies
It should be emphasized that the five modeling pedagogies are not
exclusive to each other, as two or more modeling activities can be
combined to address a single science topic.
As an example, students may learn both geocentric and heliocentric
models of celestial motions by exploratory modeling (e.g., they can
change planet positions in computer models and see how the planets are
observed from the earth) and then participate in evaluative modeling to
select an adequate model explaining a certain astronomical phenomenon
(e.g., phase change of Venus).
Authors Collaboration
2008Campbell &
NeilsonInquiry More
enacted in Mr.
yearlong physics
2010-Dr. Oh
joined to
develop 5
Our collaboration is described as continuous effort to explore and
build up model-based inquiry (MBI) in high school science classrooms.
Modeling in Mr. Neilson’s Classes
Generally speaking, Mr. Neilson’s physics lessons are structured
in a cyclic modeling frame.
That is, in his high school science classrooms, students are given
opportunities to develop models to explain scientific
phenomena, design investigations to test their models, and
revisit their models for improvement.
This instructional cycle involves central facets of all the five
modeling pedagogies, even if some may be emphasized more
explicitly than others in a certain module.
Modeling in Mr. Neilson’s Classes
We have provided the effectiveness of Mr. Neilson’s MBI
instruction in other research reports (Campbell, Zhang, &
Neilson, 2010).
More data has recently been collected from Mr. Neilson’s classrooms
in the form of video-recordings.
This data contains four science lessons from two different classes in
which the Electrostatic Energy module was applied (see Campbell &
Neilson, in press for additional details about the Electrostatic
Energy module).
Modeling in Mr. Neilson’s Classes
In this research, these videotapes, as well as documentation of the
other modeling modules were analyzed to reveal how Mr.
Neilson has facilitated modeling for his students.
This will help reify the five modeling pedagogies so that teachers of
science can be offered informed practical guidance for better
modeling instruction.
Modeling Pedagogies in Practice: Electrostatic Energy
From the electrostatic energy module, it was revealed that Mr.
Neilson’s students were engaged in expressive modeling for a
fairly long period of time.
The task assigned to the students was to create models with
which they could explain some phenomena about static
To trigger student modeling, Mr. Neilson provided science
demonstrations related to static electricity and allowed the
students to suggest new demonstrations by changing variables.
Expressive Modeling
The electrostatic phenomena demonstrated by Mr. Neilson
became the subjects to be explained through expressive
modeling by students.
However, Mr. Neilson did not merely ask students to come up with
models. Instead, he first emphasized that one purpose of
scientific modeling is to explain phenomena.
On several occasions during his demonstration, Mr. Neilson stated, for
example, “You’re going to be creating your model. Remember,
your model should explain why you’re seeing what’s
happening, as well as what’s really happening” or simply,
“Your model should explain these phenomena.”
Expressive Modeling
Mr. Neilson presented scientific models so that his students would
base their models on the canonical or normative knowledge
of science.
The static electricity phenomena studied in Mr. Neilson’s classroom
were those that are fundamentally explained by scientific ideas of
electrons and their interactions with other electrons,
subatomic particles and materials.
Therefore, the teacher consistently reminded the students to
connect their models to what scientists know about the
atomic structure and the movement of electrons.
Mr. Neilson:
We talked yesterday about the atom, that in the nucleus the charges that
are there are what?
Mr. Neilson:
What, positive charges? What else is in the nucleus?
Mr. Neilson:
Electrons are on the outside. … Would you say they have more protons
than electrons, more electrons than protons or equal numbers generally,
Mr. Neilson:
Equal numbers. What do we call that situation?
Mr. Neilson:
Neutral, right. Is that what you said?
Yeah, I said stable.
Mr. Neilson: Yeah, stable. … That’s what atoms are. To really explain what’s
happening here you might have to look at this model of atoms. That’s what I
mean by looking at small (details?). You might actually have to talk about
these things.
Expressive Modeling
In the excerpt, Mr. Neilson’s last utterance demonstrates how he reveals
his desire for students to stay close to the scientific ideas about
electrons and use them in generating their own models.
It should also be noted that Mr. Neilson encouraged students to
express their models in alternative forms of representation,
rather than writing out lengthy explanations.
Expressive Modeling Cont.
He told students repeatedly, “draw your model” , “illustrate that”,
and contended, “picture and diagrams are much better than a
bunch of words.” He also indicated as well, “the purpose of this
model [is] … visualize”, and frequently referred to a model as
“mental picture” or “your vision”.
The models represented with various semiotic resources, such as
diagrams, graphs, and three-dimensional figures. This multiple
modality enables a model to fulfill its functions of describing
complicated phenomena and communicating abstract ideas
(Oh & Oh, 2011).
Experimental Modeling
Mr. Neilson’s expressive modeling was followed by experimental
modeling in which students were to “try and test” their models. By
“try and test” Mr. Neilson meant various ways to “see if we can
recreate” target phenomena using models and find “evidence” to
adjust the models.
Experimental Modeling
In a class, he explained:
The cool thing about your model is, if it makes sense to you right now,
then that’s what ought to go down. As long as you can tell me why
…, that’s the starting point. Then, what we’ll do is, we’ll do some
tests and see if we can recreate that. If we recreate it, then we’ve
given some evidence to support your contention. … We found
evidence, and then we adjusted our model accordingly.
Experimental Modeling
As a student suggested that there might be different charges
involved when a rod was rubbed with silk or fur, the teacher asked
reflectively, “Is it conclusive that there’s two different charges?” He
then engaged the whole class in an experiment with an
electroscope to further investigate the student’s idea.
Experimental Modeling
Also, when students came up with different models to explain why two
leaves of an electroscope pushed apart and came back together with
charged rods touching the top of the electroscope, he accepted all the
ideas regardless of their accuracy and suggested, “We could test any of
these theories out”. Consequently, much of the classes that were
observed was spent with conducting new experiments
suggested by students as they “tr[ied] and test[ed]” their
The explicit purpose of Mr. Neilson’s experimental modeling was to
validate student models and generate evidence to be used for
improving the models.
Cyclic Modeling
In Mr. Neilson’s physics classrooms, expressive and experimental
modeling developed further into cyclic modeling.
The purpose of the cyclic modeling was to provide students with
continuous opportunities to test their models, collect more
evidence, and improve models by pondering the evidence.
Cyclic Modeling
Mr. Neilson explained the rationale of the cyclic modeling to his students:
What are we gonna be doing with your models as you learn more? Yeah, changing
them. I don’t like the word fixing em’. That implies you guys made a
mistake. As you get more evidence, you modify it. You make changes to
it. There’s no right answer in science. We arrive at an answer, and then maybe
new evidence shows up, and we don’t like that answer anymore, and we
change it.
We see this reflecting Mr. Neilson’s understanding of an essential aspect of
scientific models: models in science are subject to empirical and
theoretical tests and revisable as a consequence of those tests (Oh & Oh,
It is also important for students to understand the tentative nature of
scientific models, if they are to learn science by exercising scientific practices.
Cyclic Modeling
Mr. Neilson’s cycling modeling resulted in progressions of student
understanding of static electricity and their models about it.
Part A (Next Slide) is a student’s initial model, where he explains
an electrostatic phenomenon with the difference in size of atoms
between an insulator and conductor.
In his modified model, Part B (Next Slide), however, the same
student constructed his explanations using the idea of the
movement of electrons.
Notably, his new model is not only scientifically valid, but also
able to explain more phenomena related to static electricity.
Initial Student Model
Exploratory & Evaluative Modeling
The energy module did not include evidence of the use of
exploratory and evaluative modeling.
When we considered the other modules and our additional collaborating
experiences throughout the year, however, it was revealed that the
exploratory modeling was applied as well in Mr. Neilson’s physics
classrooms. For example, in teaching about centripetal force, Mr.
Neilson introduced a model airplane tied to a string and
connected to a force probe to allow students to explore
several properties of the teacher-created model and see how
changes to the model influenced these properties.
Exploratory & Evaluative Modeling
When we look further into whether the evaluative modeling was
used in the other modules implemented throughout the year, a similar
pattern as in the Electrostatic Energy module was found: evaluating
models was generally connected to the experimental
modeling that played a more central role in Mr. Neilson’s classrooms.
The model evaluation did occur as students were engaged in
investigations to determine how the data fit with their current
models, but little time was devoted to students assessing
alternative models or selecting between competing models
either presented by the teacher or developed by their peers.
It is commonly recognized in the science education community that
modeling is a significant part of science and should also be
applied to students learning of science in schools.
This research sheds light on the importance of understanding ways
scientific modeling can be translated into classroom
We have used this research to reify five modeling pedagogies
using MBI modules developed and implemented through
collaborations between science education researchers and a high
school physics teacher.
The modeling pedagogies explicated here can be used as
frameworks for teachers to select and organize student
activities in ways that are consistent with intellectual
practices of scientists and consequently, recent reform in
science education.
Looking Ahead
Examining Discourse Modes within
Modeling Classrooms
Oh, P. S. & Campbell, T. Understanding of
Science Classrooms in Different Countries
through the Analysis of Discourse Modes for
Building 'Classroom Science Knowledge'
(CSK). (Submitted November 16, 2011).
Looking Ahead
Examining Argumentation and
Explanation within Modeling
Planned Literature Review with Dr. Oh and
two Graduate Students Spring 2012
Looking Ahead
Refining and Developing
Additional Modeling Modules with
Mr. Neilson
Spring 2012
Evaluative Modeling in Buoyancy
Energy and Heat Transfer Module
References & Chapter
Please email [email protected]

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