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Learning Progression-Based Teaching Strategies in Environmental Science: Teachers' Successes and Struggles in Implementation


"The study presented here is part of a larger project to develop and use learning progression frameworks (NRC, 2007, 2012) to teach core strands of environmental science to secondary school students. We investigated 16 secondary science teachers' views and practices when implementing one of three learning progression-based environmental science units: biodiversity, the carbon cycle, or the water cycle. We asked: (1) How did teacher participants make sense of the learning progressions for secondary students' reasoning about biodiversity, the carbon cycle, or the water cycle? (2) How did these teachers understand teaching strategies aligned to learning progressions (LPTSs) and how they might use such strategies to elicit, respond to, and build on their students' ideas? (3) How did they actually implement these LPTSs in their classrooms? (4) How did the related professional development activities help or hinder teachers in their understanding and implementation of these teaching strategies? We began our qualitative analysis by purposively selecting four exemplary teacher participants from our sample of 16 teachers. We looked across these four teachers' interviews, responses to surveys and written reflections, and video records of their classroom instruction to identify successes and struggles in implementing LPTSs. We close with recommendations for ways to better align teaching strategies with learning progression ideas."