P532: Targeting content knowledge and scientific reasoning development in nonscience majors’ chemistry

Author: Justin H. Carmel, Miami University, USA

Co-Author: Yasmin Jessa and Ellen J. Yezierski, Miami University, USA

Date: 8/5/14

Time: 4:00 PM4:20 PM

Room: MAN 122

Related Symposium: S15

While the improvement of critical-thinking skills is a clear goal of liberal education and many core courses, the measurement of growth in the area is multi-faceted. Moreover, the skills that are deemed as “critical thinking” can vary by discipline, so a narrower focus is needed. Scientific reasoning (SR) offers this narrower focus of skills and is a subset of critical thinking that is both applicable to science and easily measured. The development of classroom interventions to target the development of SR is informed by a learning-cycle framework in which students build content knowledge in small groups of 4-5 students. To demonstrate the difference between instruction including the interventions and traditional lecture, classes were videotaped and rated using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol to determine the degree to which student-centered instruction is exhibited. Content outcomes between groups of students who used the interventions and those who did not were also measured. Results of the observations and assessments along with a detailed description of the classroom materials will be presented.

P83: Uncovering students’ incorrect scientific reasoning patterns

Author: Justin H. Carmel, Miami University, USA

Co-Author: Ellen J. Yezierski, Miami University, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: LTT 103

Related Symposium: S13

According to Piagetian theory, college-age students should be able to exhibit a full range of formal operational reasoning skills; however, a large number of students still have trouble reasoning through questions above a concrete level. A small group of students (N=24) participated in a one-on-one interview in which they were audiotaped as they talked through their thought processes while solving items on a well-known test of formal reasoning: the Lawson Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning (LCTSR). If students wrote anything to help explain their thought process, it was captured through use of a Livescribe Pen. The LCTSR includes items that assess 6 reasoning skills: conservation of mass/volume; proportional, probabilistic, correlational, and hypothetico-deductive reasoning; and the control of variables. Students were selected to represent a range of scientific reasoning ability based on a pretest score on the LCTSR. Previous work on students’ incorrect patterns on proportional reasoning items has been published, but other reasoning types have yet to be explored. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and student responses were analyzed to determine patterns, similarities, and differences. Students’ incorrect reasoning patterns will be presented and contrasted with correct ideas to suggest instructional implications.