P1019: Enacting NGSS on the ground: Learning ‘the physical setting’ through student inquiry research
Time and time again engagement and exploration in physical science becomes relegated to demos and teacher-initiated laboratory practices where cookbook experiments are how students learn physical science content. This approach neglects the situated realities of most urban students and oftentimes disengages them from the learning of physical science content. This presentation will exhibit a participatory research methodology for physical science teachers to adopt in teaching ‘The Physical Setting’. Breaking away from traditionally exhibited notions of scientific research as an observation of physical phenomena, collected over periods of time, and then analyzed for patterns, this methodology takes a social science inquiry approach to the idea of learning physical science. Through phenomenological and narrative methods, students engage in the process of identifying internalized questions of physical phenomena based on their every day experiences. Amalgamation of these questions lead to categorization of topic areas of interest for investigation and, therein, subsequent participants of inquiry. Students then enact their research-based process of interviewing community members of interest, transcribe these interviews, and begin analysis of these participants’ conceptual understandings of the content. These analyses require students to (1) know the content or, if they don’t know the content, (2) research the answers to their questions, which is then used to generate de-briefing sessions with the participants involving model-based demonstrations of the content, informative simulations, and/or explicit examples where participants’ understandings don’t fit with reality. This presentation will provide examples of this process, along with applicable variations, with particular emphasis on the NGSS’s ‘The Physical Setting’.