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Student-constructed Models to Support Science Learning

Kimberly O'Dell, Clinton Elementary School, in Clinton TN


One of the 8 scientific and engineering practices outlined in the K-12 Science Framework, which our new TN Science Standards are based on, is the practice of developing conceptual models. The practice of modeling aids students in visualizing and understanding scientific phenomenon, as well as developing possible solutions to engineering problems. In this workshop, teachers will experience first hand, through a series of hands-on activities, how developing conceptual models will meet the goals of the Framework. This workshop will begin by demonstrating how to use models to assess a student's current understanding and misconceptions of a system under study. Participants will use models to develop and explore questions and explanations. As understanding deepens, the models will be changed to reflect the new understanding. Participants will understand how to use diagrams, physical replicas, mathematical representations, analogies, and computer simulations to communicate findings. This will be connected to the evolution of scientific knowledge over time. Participants will come away with practical ways to use grade appropriate models, as well as rubrics to assess their progress. 

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