Implementing a context-based environmental science unit in the middle years: Teaching and learning at the creek
Engaging middle-school students in science continues to be a challenge in Australian schools. One initiative that has been tried in the senior years but is a more recent development in the middle years is the context-based approach. In this ethnographic study, we researched the teaching and learning transactions that occurred in one 9th grade science class studying a context-based Environmental Science unit that included visits to the local creek for 11 weeks. Data were derived from field notes, audio and video recorded conversations, interviews, student journals and classroom documents with a particular focus on two selected groups of students. This paper presents two assertions that highlight pedagogical approaches that contributed to learning. Firstly, spontaneous teaching episodes created opportunities for in-the-moment questioning by the teacher that led to students’ awareness of environmental issues and the scientific method; secondly, group work using flip cameras afforded opportunities for students to connect the science concepts with the context. Furthermore, students reported positively about the unit and expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to visit the creek frequently. This findings from this study should encourage teachers to take students into the real-world field for valuable teaching and learning experiences that are not available in the formal classroom.
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|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Keywords:||context-based science, middle years, curriculum, teaching, environmental science|
|Subjects:||Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Science Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy (130212)
|Divisions:||Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
|Copyright Owner:||Copyright 2015 Australian Science Teachers Association|
|Deposited On:||12 Oct 2015 23:32|
|Last Modified:||18 Oct 2015 19:34|
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