- Frame instruction in accordance with a learning progression that systematically mines students’ intuitions and emergent ideas.
- Develop children’s conceptual understanding and explanatory power in the context of scientific knowledge-building practices.
- Design instruction to problematize key ideas within the children’s participation in scientific practices.
- Maximize the power of children’s reasoning within these practices by concentrating their inquiry on a single domain, and particular organisms within that domain that they study in-depth. (p. 3).
Designing a Learning Progression about the Conceptual Underpinnings of Evolution
- Design the learning progression such that it supports increasingly powerful explanations, from the children’s perspective. We view this principle as crucial for several reasons, including: (a) conveying the power and purpose of science, (b) providing a basis for preferring subsequent explanations, and (c) fostering children’s interest in the discipline. Most primary school science curricula violate this criterion, with content that will only prove to have explanatory power when linked to concepts reserved for older grades.
- Focus the learning progression on the issue of the fit of organisms to their environment. This issue underlies evolutionary theory and, on a radically different level, accords with young children’s interests in why things are the way they are and the origins of things. Thus, it is a strategic focus for conceptualizing steps in a learning progression, building from children’s incoming ideas toward increasingly powerful explanations.
- Focus on biological systems at the level of organisms, populations of organisms and their environment, and change at the level of microevolution. This focus reduces the complexity and scope of changes over time that the children need to consider. Nevertheless, it enables development and application of such core ideas as biodiversity, structure/function, limiting factors, survival advantage, natural selection, and change over time. Key understandings relegated to later grades include elaboration of an ecological perspective, the cellular level, and the origin of species.
- Build knowledge of phenomenology before explanation thereof. The learning progression is designed to build increasingly powerful explanations in a way that can be supported by children’s increasingly rich knowledge of the phenomenology to which they are applying these explanations.
- Build the progression in a way that addresses core buggy conceptions and capitalizes on fruitful preconceptions.
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Interview Protocol and Data Collection
“Maybe the cheetahs long before…long before…didn’t catch that much animals. And then, then they didn’t have any more, that much energy to run. So then that’s why the cheetahs can’t run real fast, long before. And now the cheetahs are fast and they catch animals and has more energy.”
- LP30. Some specific function of the organism that enables it to live under particular environmental condition… no specification of structure.
- LP3A. Some structure of the organism enables particular function or behavior of the organism
- LP3B. Some structure of the organism enables organism to live under particular environmental condition(s).
- LP3C. Some structure of the organism enables particular function or behavior of that organism that enables it to live under particular environmental condition(s).
2.2. BEAR Assessment System and Item Response Theory
3.1. The Initial Unidimensional Model
3.2. Developing the Two-Dimensional Learning Progression via Coding Book Development
“And then when they give babies, the babies will get eaten. And then when they try to hide, there’s only a very little bit, so only 1 guppy might survive and the other 2 might get eaten and then 1 gives off babies there might be a little more but there’s still going to be way more gray and black guppies.”
It’s kind of like the sparrows, they adapt to where they’re living, like this gazelle, it can run up to 40 or 50 mph maybe, I’m not sure, so the cheetahs that can run 20mph, it couldn’t catch its prey, if it couldn’t catch its prey, it would die out because it couldn’t catch its prey and it wouldn’t have food. (Interviewer probes) There could be some fast ones in a cheetah herd and if a fast one, like the sparrow, if the fast one married a fast one, it would have a fast child. If that fast one married a fast one, they would have an even faster one, and if that even faster one married an even faster one, they would have an even fasterest cheetah. And so eventually there was a really fast-running cheetah and since that cheetah could survive more easilier because they can run faster, that kind of cheetah would be adapted to live in there and so there will be more and more of that and eventually the slow-running cheetah would die out.
3.3. The Multidimensional IRT Model: Confirming the State-Process Model
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- OTTER QUESTIONS
- Reasoning for why it lives thereWhy do you think otters live there? [point to picture as you say this][Wait for response]What are other reasons why otters they live there?What are other reasons why you think they live there? [Probe for three reasons]
- Reasoning about where else it could or couldn’t liveDo you think the otters could live in other places too?If no:
- Why not? Why couldn’t live anywhere else?
- What’s another reason you think they could just live there?
Is there a place they couldn’t live?Why couldn’t they live there?What might be another reason they couldn’t live there?
- Where else do you think they could live?
- Why do you think they could live there?
- KELP QUESTIONS
- Reasoning for why it lives thereWhat about the kelp, this stuff. Kelp is a kind of plant that lives in the sea. Why do you think it lives there?
- Reasoning about where else it could or couldn’t liveAre there other places kelp could live?If no:
- Why not? Why couldn’t kelp live anywhere else?
- What’s another reason you think it could just live there?
Is there a place kelp couldn’t live?Why couldn’t it live there?What might be another reason it couldn’t live there?
- Where else do you think kelp could live?
- Why do you think it could live there?
- CRICKET QUESTIONSMaterials:
- Cricket with ridges
- Cricket with no ridges
- Image of fly placing eggs into cricket
- Image of island with 16 crickets with ridges on wings (chirping) & 4 crickets with minimal ridges (mute)
- Template of island with flies
- Set of 16 cricket with ridge & 16 without
|FITS 4A||Does NOT Fit 4A|
|21:54 Maybe that a long time ago, the cheetahs couldn’t run fast and then every generation the cheetah gets faster each time.|
Interviewer: What do you mean every generation the cheetah gets faster each time?
22:13 Like…it’s like a plant. Like every generation the plants get taller every time.
Interviewer: That’s such an interesting idea, how does that happen?
22:37 Maybe the cheetahs long before…long before…didn’t catch that much animals. And then, then they didn’t have any more, that much energy to run. So then that’s why the cheetahs can’t run real fast, long before. And now the cheetahs are fast and they catch animals and has more energy.
[Fits 4A because: Energy characteristic. Changes over time. Has advantage of supporting faster running & consequently better at catching prey.]
|Like since the older they got, uh, when they was 20-something miles per hour as a bike, they must have had got faster and then faster and then faster and then faster and then faster and then faster and then these ones [gestures to picture with all the cheetahs] had babies. And then these ones [gestures to same image] came up to grow and get faster.|
Interviewer: How’d they get faster?”
34:15 By their parents.
Interviewer: By their parents?
34:19 Oh, yeah by their parents
[Not 4a because: no evidence of the survival advantage of being faster.]
- LP 1. NEGLIGIBLE UNDERSTANDING OF FIT BETWEEN ORGANISM & ENVIRONMENT
- No consideration of the particular environment and/or the structures of their body or organisms’ needs as constraining where they live or what they do there or how well adapted they are.
- LP1 A: Live where they belong/where it grows (STATE DIMENSION)
- LP1 B: Live where they want to live /do what they want to do, without articulation of higher-level explanation of why (STATE DIMENSION)
- LP1 C: Live where another organism needs them to live. (STATE DIMENSION)
- LP1 D: God (STATE & PROCESS DIMENSIONS)
- LP1 E Mother Nature (STATE & PROCESS DIMENSIONS)
- LP1 F: Someone put them there (STATE DIMENSION)
- LP1 G: “I don’t know” or other expression of ignorance (STATE & PROCESS DIMENSIONS)
- LP1 H: Organisms “get used to” or “are used to” it (STATE & PROCESS DIMENSIONS)
- LP1 I: Adjust to where they live. (PROCESS DIMENSION)
- LP1 J: It’s made for... (designed for/born to) (STATE DIMENSION)
- LP1 L: Difference due to age or life cycle
- LP1 M: Difference in speed due to practice or “doing it a lot” (PROCESS DIMENSION)
- LP1 K: Change of trait due to effort or practice of the individual organism, whose increased capacity is passed on to offspring (PROCESS DIMENSION)Select Examples:LP 1a Live where it belongs/where it grows:Is there a place kelp couldn’t live?“The lake.”Why couldn’t it live there?“Because kelp doesn’t grow there.”LP1c Needs of another organism:Kelp is a kind of plant that lives in the sea. Why do you think it lives there?“Because some animals eat them.”LP1g: “I don’t know” or other expression of ignoranceI think they just were…I’m not really sure.LP1 (no subcategory)[In cheetah]“Because they never learned how to run.”“Because the new ones, they run faster and the old ones ran slower.”“Maybe, their ancestors got slower because they ate too much.”
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|State Dimension||Process Dimension|
|Level||Mean Location||Level||Mean Location|
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