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PERC 2012 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Critical Classroom Structures for Empowering Students to Participate in Science
Abstract: We compared contextual characteristics that impacted the nature and substance of "summarizing discussions" between a physics and a chemistry classroom in an Hispanic-serving urban high school.  Specifically, we evaluate structural components of curricula necessary to develop a culture of critical inquiry.  Through implementing the Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) curriculum in the physics course, we found that students' participation in summarizing discussions demonstrated critical thinking, critical evaluation, and use of laboratory evidence to support ideas. We then implemented a model similar to PET in the chemistry course. However, chemistry students' participatory statements lacked evidence, opposition and critical evaluation, and required greater teacher facilitation. We hypothesize that the designed laboratories and the research basis of PET influenced the extent to which physics students verbalized substantive scientific thought, authentic appeals to evidence, and a sense of empowerment to participate in the classroom scientific community. Classroom data and teacher reflections will be discussed.
Footnote: Supported by the NSF Noyce Program (DUE # 937941)
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Cultural Influences on Physics Teaching: Identifying Factors, Implementing Change

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Shelly Belleau
University of Colorado at Boulder and Mapleton Expeditionary School of the Arts