The transformative potential of engaging in science inquiry and design-based challenges: the ATSE Wonder of Science Challenge

Tomas, Louisa, Jackson, Cliff, and Carlisle, Karen (2013) The transformative potential of engaging in science inquiry and design-based challenges: the ATSE Wonder of Science Challenge. In: Proceedings of the Annual conference of the Australian Science Education Research Association. p. 45. From: 44th Annual ASERA Converence, 2-5 July, 2013, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Well-documented declines in student participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools are regularly linked to perceived inadequacies in both the science curriculum and teachers' self-efficacy for teaching science inquiry. In 2012, the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering (ATSE) Wonder of Science Challenge pilot focused on these concerns. Students in 15 schools across northern Queensland, Australia, were provided with a design- or inquiry-based research problem. The Challenge required student teams to conduct research and present their findings at a regional student forum. This paper presents a case study of the experiences of one primary teacher – Mr Matthews – and his students. Analysis of interview and survey data revealed improvements in students' attitudes towards science-related careers, increased motivation and ownership of the inquiry process, and developed depth of science knowledge and understanding. For Mr Matthews, his participation in the Challenge enhanced his confidence in developing his students' science inquiry skills, and he reported plans to transform his teaching and assessment practices. Evidence from the case study suggest that the design and inquiry underpinnings of the Challenge created a transformative space to support and enhance students’ move from participation in teacher led-school science to making a 'shared' contribution to their science learning experiences.

Item ID: 38335
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: science teaching, science inquiry, student science projects, scientists in schools, science teachers' self-efficacy, science challenge
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 23:30
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy @ 60%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 10%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130303 Education Assessment and Evaluation @ 30%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement @ 20%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930301 Assessment and Evaluation of Curriculum @ 70%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development @ 10%
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