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A Scientific Modeling Sequence for Teaching Earth Seasons

Abstract

"A sequence for teaching Earth seasons is described. The sequence was designed with the use of guidelines for developing scientific modeling instruction. The presented sequence of activities differs from some previously developed Earth seasons activities in its emphasis on using students' own ideas to develop and test scientific models. Throughout the sequence, students' ideas are considered and tested in light of additional evidence that is gathered through various first-hand modeling activities. Evidence for instructional effectiveness is presented using several questions from pre- and postcourse assessments administered to elementary and middle school teachers in two groups: teachers who experienced the modeling-focused sequence, and teachers who experienced instruction addressing Earth seasons that included modeling but with no specific sequence for learning. Teachers who experienced the modeling-focused sequence demonstrated larger gains on assessment questions. Several limitations to this real-world instructional example are described."

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