Abstract: The student diversity in today’s science classrooms presents challenges as well as learning opportunities for students and teachers. This research examines topic-specific personal pedagogical content knowledge (pPCK) of high school teachers as it relates to addressing student diversity in their science classrooms. A narrative inquiry approach was adopted to study four science teachers’ experiences of teaching science, considering teachers’ pPCK as an accumulation of experience. Narrative data were collected through interview conversations with these teachers about their experiences of conceptualizing and teaching force and motion topics to diverse groups of students in their science classrooms. The focus of these conversations was the day-to-day practice of participant teachers about making force and motion topics accessible to diverse learners. Using pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) as a conceptual framework, the narrative data were analyzed to explore how these teachers negotiated their content knowledge and knowledge of student diversity in shaping their professional knowledge of science teaching. The findings revealed that topic-specific pPCK of participant teachers was sourced in student diversity present in their science classroom, and its development underpins various processes to connect different types of knowledge. This research suggests considering teachers’ knowledge of student diversity and how this impacts their planning and teaching of specific science content as an aspect of their topic-specific pPCK. Implications for science teacher education are included.
Abstract: In some linear algebra courses at the university level in engineering majors, the vector spaces are presented to students in an abstract way with scarce connections with other subjects and real problems. The goal of this study was to examine the effectiveness, regarding content knowledge and motivation, of a didactic proposal based on a problem based learning and the necessity principle, PBL-NP, modelling real engineering problems through homogeneous systems of linear equations, to introduce the concept of vector space. A quasi-experiment (post-test) was designed with a convenience sample composed of two groups: the experimental group, EG, amounting 33 students who were taught using the PBL-NP, and the control group, CG, composed by 79 students, taught by following an abstract approach. Inferential statistics was used to compare the learning outcomes between groups, by using as contrast variable an external test. The results show that the students in the EG group felt more relaxed and put less effort than CG students, while both groups gather the abstract concepts in a similar extent. Also the percentage who passed the course is higher in the EG compared with CG. Although both groups value positively the subject, a percentage of students in the CG group add some comments referred to the lack of practice related with real problems in the algebra courses taught with the abstract approach.
Abstract: The growing popularity of collaboration in our school and its possible educational potential has led us to carry out comparative research with 7th grade students. Using a longitudinal approach over an entire school year and using a cross-lag design, we were able to test the effects of this learning environment on science misconceptions and interest. Using two questionnaires, we were able to perform an analysis of the results showing a possible positive causal link between collaborative learning and the development of scientific conception. However, we found no direct connection between collaborative learning and interest. The analysis of the cross-lag leads us to see conceptual change as a mediator of the students’ interest in science.