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Using Students' Design Tasks to Develop Scientific Abilities Documents

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Using Students' Design Tasks to Develop Scientific Abilities 

written by Xueli Zou

To help students develop the scientific abilities desired in the 21st century workplace, four different types of student design tasks--observation, verification, application, and investigation experiments--have been developed and implemented in our calculus-based introductory courses. Students working in small groups are engaged in designing and conducting their own experiments to observe some physical phenomena, test a physical principle, build a real-life device, solve a complex problem, or conduct an open-inquiry investigation. A preliminary study has shown that, probed by a performance-based task, the identified scientific abilities are more explicitly demonstrated by design-lab students than non- design lab students. In this paper, detailed examples of the design tasks and assessment results will be reported.

Published November 12, 2007
Last Modified December 1, 2010

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