Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Valerie K. Otero

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dutro

Third Advisor

Vicki Hand

Fourth Advisor

Kevin O’Connor

Fifth Advisor

Steven Pollock

Abstract

Science education in the U.S. has failed for over a century to bring the experience of scientific induction to classrooms, from elementary science to undergraduate courses. The achievement of American students on international comparisons of science proficiency is unacceptable, and the disparities between groups underrepresented in STEM and others are large and resistant to reform efforts. This study investigated the enactment of a physics curriculum designed upon the inductive method in a high school serving mostly students from groups underrepresented in science. The Physics and Everyday Thinking™ curriculum was designed to model the central practices of science and to provide opportunities for students to both extract general principles of physics and to develop scientific models from laboratory evidence. The findings of this study suggest that scientific induction is not only a process that is well within the capacity of high school students, but they enjoy it as well. Students that engaged in the central practices of science through the inductive method reported a new sense of agency and control in their learning. These findings suggest that modeling the pedagogy of the science classroom upon the epistemology of science can result in a mode of learning that can lead to positive identification with physics and the development of scientific literacy

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