Although understandings of scientific inquiry (as opposed to conducting inquiry) are included in science education reform documents around the world, little is known about what students have learned about inquiry during their elementary school years. This is partially due to the lack of any assessment instrument to measure understandings about scientific inquiry. However, a valid and reliable assessment has recently been developed and published, Views About Scientific Inquiry (VASI; Lederman et al. , Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51, 65-83). The purpose of this large-scale international project was to collect the first baseline data on what beginning middle school students have learned about scientific inquiry during their elementary school years. Eighteen countries/regions spanning six continents including 2,634 students participated in the study. The participating countries/regions were: Australia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, England, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Mainland China, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States. In many countries, science is not formally taught until middle school, which is the rationale for choosing seventh grade students for this investigation. This baseline data will simultaneously provide information on what, if anything, students learn about inquiry in elementary school, as well as their beginning knowledge as they enter secondary school. It is important to note that collecting data from all of the approximately 200 countries globally was not humanly possible, and it was also not possible to collect data from every region of each country. The results overwhelmingly show that students around the world at the beginning of grade seven have very little understandings about scientific inquiry. Some countries do show reasonable understandings in certain aspects but the overall picture of understandings of scientific inquiry is not what is hoped for after completing 6 years of elementary education in any country.
If we wish to integrate modern science such as nanotechnology into the school science curriculum, we need to find the natural insertion point of modern science with the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. However, integrating nanoscale science and technology (NST) essential concepts into the middle school science curriculum is challenging. The current study was designed to identify the insertion points of the eight NST essential concepts in the middle school science and technology curriculum. Middle school science and technology teachers underwent a course that included all eight NST essential concepts, aiming to help them understand the NST essential concepts in depth. Then, they were asked to identify a natural insertion point in the existing science and technology curriculum for each of the NST essential concepts. To support research validation, two different groups of teachers participated in two sequential stages of the study (the identification stage and the validation stage). The teachers in the identification stage identified the insertion points of all eight NST essential concepts in the subjects of the science and technology curriculum, which reflects the relevance of the NST concepts from the teachers' perspective in terms of pedagogical level. The majority of the identified insertion points were validated in the second stage. Forty-two insertion points of the NST essential concepts were suggested to be integrated in middle school science and technology curriculum. All the insertion points that were suggested in the identification stage were confirmed in the validation stage. Another 11 new insertion points were added at the validation stage. The connections to the different scientific subjects in the curriculum are as follows: 19 insertion points were suggested by the teachers in the chemistry part of the chemistry curriculum, 12 in the life science, four in the physics-energy, and seven in technology-systems and products. The results present the opportunity to expose middle school students to contemporary science using the existing science and technology curriculum. The study serves as an example of integrating NST concepts into a middle school science curriculum in Israel, but it can be applied in other science curricula worldwide, taking into consideration the topics included in each curriculum.
Regular high-school chemistry teachers view gifted students as one of several types of students in a regular (mixed-ability) classroom. Gifted students have a range of unique abilities that characterize their learning process: mostly they differ in three key learning aspects: their faster learning pace, increased depth of understanding, and special interests. If gifted students are to develop their abilities and potential, and learn optimally in a regular classroom, the teaching must be adjusted to meet their special needs. Chemistry high-school curricula have built-in potential to cater to the special needs of gifted students. Chemistry learning entails laboratory work and comprehension of abstract concepts. In the classroom, the interactions between teachers and students are core events that trigger other class events. In the present study the interactions between teachers and gifted students in a regular classroom, which are specific for chemistry teaching, were studied. Two general categories of interactions with gifted students were found to be unique to the chemistry classroom: (1) interactions involving laboratory work and (2) interactions involving the challenge of teaching chemistry content. We found that since gifted students master abstract chemistry concepts quickly and with minimum scaffolding, no interactions regarding this aspect were reported. Gifted students do not need all the instruction time teachers usually devote to explaining abstract concepts in chemistry, concepts that are considered difficult for other students. The present study indicates the essential need of enhancing chemistry teachers' knowledge regarding teaching gifted students in the chemistry classroom. This includes knowledge about how gifted students learn in general, and its adaptation to the chemistry classroom and the chemistry laboratory according to academic and curricular needs of the gifted students.
Facebook is the most commonly used Social Network Site (SNS) in the world. In this paper we explore students' attitudes towards the use of SNSs as a platform for learning chemistry and provide recommendations based on students' preferences regarding what should be done in the Facebook groups and what the teachers should not do (Thou shall nots) in an educational Facebook group with their students. We evaluated the extent to which students use SNSs in general and their attitudes toward the presence of a medium for learning chemistry in their SNS in particular. We found that the active Facebook groups for learning chemistry are perceived overall as a contributing experience for students' learning, and there was a positive correlation between the chemistry learning activity in the groups and the attitudes of students toward using Facebook groups for learning chemistry. Both parameters have gradually increased over the two-year study period.
Recent efforts in the science education community have highlighted the need to integrate research and theory from science communication research into more general science education scholarship. These synthesized research perspectives are relatively novel but serve an important need to better understand the impacts that the advent of rapidly emerging technologies will have on a new generation of scientists and engineers including their formal communication with engaged citizenry. This cross-national study examined postsecondary science and engineering students' (n = 254 from five countries: Austria, Finland, France, Israel, and USA) perspectives on the role of science communication in their own formal science and engineering education. More broadly, we examined participants' understanding of their perceived responsibilities of communicating science and engineering to the general public when an issue contains complex social and ethical implications (SEI). The study is contextualized in the emergent technology of nanotechnology for which SEI are of particular concern and for which the general public often perceives conflicting risks and benefits. Findings indicate that student participants' hold similar views on the need for their own training in communication as future scientists and engineers. When asked about the role that ethics and risk perception plays in research, development, and public communication of nanotechnology, participants demonstrate similar trajectories of perspectives that are, however, often anchored in very different levels of beginning concern. Results are discussed in the context of considerations for science communication training within formal science education curricula globally.
The goal of this research was to examine how Israeli chemistry teachers at high school level use Facebook groups to facilitate learning. Two perspectives were used: Teachers' TPACK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) and the self-efficacy beliefs of chemistry teachers for using CLFG (chemistry learning Facebook groups). Three different case studies were chosen and qualitative and quantitative research tools were used to learn about the teachers' self-efficacy beliefs and knowledge. More specifically, a validated questionnaire for measuring teachers' self-efficacy beliefs for using Facebook and for integrating Facebook into teaching was developed. We show that the initial beliefs (not based on a real acquaintance of Facebook) were replaced by more realistic efficacy-beliefs after the teachers started to work with the CLFG and that the technological support provided to each teacher, together with their mastery experience, supported the development of strong self-efficacy beliefs regarding the use of CLFG. Teachers' TPACK was investigated by analyzing their interviews and the interactions in their CLFG. We found that the notion regarding what constitutes learning in the CLFG had not changed during the experiment but rather, the teachers knew better how they can facilitate this leaning. In addition they better integrated links to videos and visualizations that supported understanding abstract chemistry concepts. Interestingly, the intervention that was conducted did not influence teachers' perceptions of learning; however, it was found to serve as an additional tool for supporting their self-efficacy beliefs by providing vicarious experience for the teachers. We therefore recommend performing a longer intervention in the future.
Responsible Research and Innovation has become a core concept in many of the Horizon 2020 programs. In this article the concept of RRI is discussed in context of secondary education, and the interpretation used within the project "Irresistible" is introduced. In the article several ways in which RRI can be incorporated in science classrooms are discussed, connected to the teaching of contemporary research taking place in universities as well as recent innovations coming from industry. The presented modules are designed in groups in which teachers work together with researchers, science educators and science center experts. As one of the educational approaches used in the modules, students created exhibits in which both the scientific content as well as the RRI concepts related to the content are demonstrated for the general public. These exhibits have been very successful as a learning tool.
The high-school chemistry curriculum is loaded with many important chemical concepts that are taught at the high-school level and it is therefore very difficult to add modern contents to the existing curriculum. However, many studies have underscored the importance of integrating modern chemistry contents such as nanotechnology into a high-school curriculum. When students are exposed to nanotechnology, they perceive chemistry as more relevant to their life, more modern than the chemistry they usually study at school, and consequently, their continuous motivation to study chemistry and related subjects increases. In the current study we identified topics in the high-school chemistry curriculum in Israel into which the essential nano-scale science and technology (NST) concepts can be integrated. Insertion points for all 8 NST essential concepts were found. We discuss the importance of ways by which chemistry educators can implement the results for updating the chemistry curriculum, thus making it more modern and relevant to the actual chemistry research that is conducted.
This study focused on teachers' transfer of a variety of teaching methods from a teaching module on nanotechnology, which is an example of a topic outside the science curriculum, to teaching topics that are part of the chemistry curriculum. Nanotechnology is outside the science curriculum, but it was used in this study as a means to carry out a change in the way chemistry teachers teach. The participants in the study included nine high school in-service chemistry teachers. Three research tools were used: (1) semistructured interviews that were conducted with the teachers, after they had finished teaching their nanotechnology module, and follow-up semistructured interviews that were conducted 2 years after the teachers had taught the nanotechnology module , and teachers' assessment and evaluation of their own teaching method, determining how the nanotechnology modules influenced the students who learned according to this program. The data collection process continued for 5 years. Most of the teachers indicated that they continued teaching the nanotechnology module that they designed and all of them stated that they integrated the unique teaching methods into their teaching of chemistry. High efficacy beliefs were built based on the self-evaluation process that was part of the teachers' professional development program. Teaching self-efficacy beliefs and organization efficacy beliefs was found to contribute to teachers' sustainable changes. The findings in the current research are only limited to the topic of nanotechnology; however, we believe that similar results can be obtained for any modern scientific topic that is outside the high school science curriculum. We suggest that more research should be done to determine whether the same findings emerge by using the same approach but on another topic.
We examined how social network (SN) groups contribute to the learning of chemistry. The main goal was to determine whether chemistry learning could occur in the group discourse. The emphasis was on groups of students in the 11th and 12th grades who learn chemistry in preparation for their final external examination. A total of 1118 discourse events were tallied in the different groups. We analyzed the different events that were found in chemistry learning Facebook groups (CLFGs). The analysis revealed that seven types of interactions were observed in the CLFGs: The most common interaction (47 %) dealt with organizing learning (e.g., announcements regarding homework, the location of the next class); learning interactions were observed in 22 % of the posts, and links to learning materials and social interactions constituted about 20 % each. The learning events that were ascertained underwent a deeper examination and three different types of chemistry learning interactions were identified. This examination was based on the theoretical framework of the commognitive approach to learning (Sfard in Thinking as communicating. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008), which will be explained. The identified learning interactions that were observed in the Facebook groups illustrate the potential of SNs to serve as an additional tool for teachers to advance their students' learning of chemistry.
The goals of this study are to map applications of nanotechnology that are recommended to be taught in high-school science and to identify the 'need-to-know' essential nanoscale science and technology (NST) concepts for each of the selected nanotechnology applications. A Delphi study using a community of experts was used to address these goals. Five nanotechnology applications that should be taught in high-school science were found to be important and reached a consensus by the Delphi-study experts: (1) nanomedicine, (2) nanoelectronics, (3) photovoltaic cells, (4) nanobots, and (5) self-cleaning. It was found that teaching these five nanotechnology applications should be based on all seven NST concepts, and therefore, these applications can be used as an appealing context for teaching the essential NST concepts. The different recommendations between the two communities of experts emphasize the importance of involving teachers and scientists in the process of designing a scientific curriculum. Identifying the applications of nanotechnology that should be taught in high-school science and identifying the connections between the applications and the essential NST concepts constitute an important step that supports designing a context-based nanotechnology program before it is integrated into a high-school science curriculum.
One of the challenges, nanoscience and technology (NST) encounters is education. Dealing with this challenge resulted in many educational programs, curricula, and modules in the area of NST. However, in order to establish an adequate basis for developing the educational aspect of NST there is a need to determine the NST concepts that should be taught. To address this issue, it is required to map the essential concepts constructing NST and to design suitable educational programs upon these concepts. In this chapter we review studies that were conducted to address this need.
The internet has influenced all aspects of modern society, yet likely none more than education-opening new possibilities for how, where, and when we learn. Nanoscience and nanotechnology have developed over a similar time frame as the rapid growth of the internet and thus the use of the internet for nanoscience education serves as an interesting paradigm for internet-enabled education in general. In this chapter we give an overview of use of internet in nanoeducation, first in terms of available resources, then by describing the technological, philosophical, and pedagogical approaches. In order to illustrate the concepts, we describe as example a for-credit nanoscience curriculum which the authors developed recently as part of an international team.
The current study aims at better understanding the factors that promote and hinder chemistry teachers in teaching a gifted student in their regular chemistry class. In addition, it provides evidence of ways that teachers perceive a professional development course dealing with a gifted student in a mixed-abilities science classroom. Eighty-four photonarratives were collected from 14 chemistry teachers that participated in the course about teaching a gifted student in a regular classroom(41 promoting, 43 hindering factors). Factors that concern chemistry education specifically as well as general practices were raised by the teachers. The teachers were asked to "take a picture" (namely, of an external object or person); they considered most of the factors to be internal factors that are dependent on themselves and therefore concluded that they have the power to influence them. The internal factors can be addressed in the PD course; however the external factors should be managed by the school principal and district educational administration.
Responsible research and innovation (RRI) stands at the center of several EU projects and represents a contemporary view of the connection between science and society. The goal of RRI is to create a shared understanding of the appropriate behaviors of governments, business and NGOs which are central to building trust and confidence of the public and other stakeholders in research and innovation. In this paper we describe a 4.5 hour lesson, "The Story of Lead,'' which was developed for teaching RRI to high school chemistry students, based on the historical story of lead. The lesson is part of a larger module. The lesson connects the chemistry curriculum, related to the scientific aspects of lead, to the 6 RRI dimensions. We describe the progression of the lesson, provide relevant links and teaching materials, and present responses of teachers, after they tried out the lesson. The RRI dimensions are compared to prior work done in the field of Socioscientific Issues (SSI). Based on this evidence, we suggest that the lesson can be a good introduction to the topic of RRI in chemistry classrooms.
The present research is part of a longitude research study regarding the questioning behavior of students in the inquiry chemistry laboratory in Israel. We found that students who were involved in learning chemistry by the inquiry method ask more and higher-level questions. However, throughout the years, we have observed that differences between the two groups of students, control and the inquiry, have been reduced. The results of our study indicated that the gap between the Jewish and Arab students regarding their questioning ability is minor and inconsistent. If we assume that the source of this difference lies in the culture and different standards for teachers' qualifications in the two sectors, our current results suggested that the differences between chemistry teachers in the two sectors are now diminished. Teachers from both sectors utilized the inquiry program as part of their teaching repertoire, and the students in the two sectors learned the inquiry skill of asking questions.
Nanoscale science and technology (NST) is an important new field in modern science. In the current study, we seek to answer the question: What are the essential concepts of NST that should be taught in high school'? A 3-round Delphi study methodology was applied based on 2 communities of experts in nanotechnology research and science education. Eight essential concepts in NST were identified. Each concept is accompanied by its explanation, definition, importance and includes subcategories that compose it. Three concepts emerged in the Delphi study, which were not identified before: functionality, classification of nanomaterials, and the making of nanotechnology. Differences between the concepts suggested by the 2 communities of experts were found. The results of this study serve as a tool to examine different nanotechnology programs that were reported thus far and to make recommendations for designing a NST program for high school students that includes the essential concepts.
Nanotechnology has been recognized in the 21st century as a new and modern science field. It is therefore necessary to update school science by integrating nanotechnology-related concepts into curricula for students in order to prepare an educated workforce and a responsible generation that will make scientifically literate decisions. The current study examines a unique way to address the teaching of the concept "the making of nanotechnology," one of eight essential concepts of nanotechnology that should be taught in high school and at the undergraduate level, which were identified by a recent study. The concepts' definition and explanation are presented. The main goal of the study is to learn how students' participation in a one-day nanotechnology conference "NanoIsrael 2014" 1 influences their perceptions regarding the concept "the making of nanotechnology". We compared students who had previous knowledge of nanotechnology and those who lacked it. The results of the study showed that the students' participation in the conference influenced their emotional perspectives, their knowledge concerning nanotechnology, as well as their curiosity and interest in science. The conference also influenced the students' motivation and future plans. Differences between the two groups were found mainly regarding their understanding of the basic concepts of nanotechnology.
This paper describes the rationale and the implementation of five laboratory experiments; four of them, intended for high-school students, are inquiry-based activities that explore the quality of water. The context of water provides students with an opportunity to study the importance of analytical methods and how they influence our everyday lives. It also provides an opportunity to expose students to scientific methods (e.g., inquiry) and behavioral responsibility that could influence their future lives as citizens. The inquiry-based activities consist of two parts. In the preliminary experiment, an analytical technique was introduced and the students learned analytical skills. On the basis of these, preliminary experiments, the students designed inquiry-based laboratory experiments involving relevant questions and decision making. Students explored parameters concerning water quality from different sources and had an opportunity to evaluate the data critically and to answer questions such as the following: Should we drink bottled water or tap water? How is the water quality monitored? What does water contain? The experiments involve qualitative and quantitative analyses of water salinity, water hardness, and the presence of organic compounds (volumetric versus spectrophotometric analysis of chloride in water), as well as determining water hardness by EDTA complexometric titration and water filtration.
Nanotechnology has been touted as the next industrial revolution' of our modern age. In order for successful research, development, and social discourses to take place in this field, education research is needed to inform the development of standards, course development, and workforce preparation. In addition, there is a growing need to educate citizens and students about risks, benefits, and social and ethical issues related to nanotechnology. This position paper describes the advancements that have been made in nanoscale science and nanotechnology, and the challenges that exist to educate students and the public about critical nanoscience concepts. This paper reviews the current research on nanotechnology education including curricula, educational programs, informal education, and teacher education. Furthermore, the unique risks, benefits and ethics of these unusual technological applications are described in relation to nanoeducation goals. Finally, we outline needed future research in the areas of nanoscience content, standards and curricula, nanoscience pedagogy, teacher education, and the risks, benefits, and social and ethical dimensions for education in this emerging field.
The goal of this research was to examine the change in the skills, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) and self-efficacy beliefs of chemistry teachers regarding video editing and using YouTube videos in high-school chemistry lessons, as a result of a professional development program that focused on editing YouTube videos and the accompanying teaching pedagogy. Sixteen experienced chemistry teachers participated in a professional development course regarding video editing skills and the use of videos in chemistry teaching in Israel. Research tools consisted of (1) a pre-post questionnaire, (2) interviews with teachers, (3) an analysis of the videos they edited (which were part of the course assignment), and (4) follow-up interviews conducted ten months after the end of the course. It was found that teachers improved their skills and developed a unique TPACK that combines videos with chemistry teaching needs. Self-efficacy beliefs were found to be high for most of the teachers: they all trusted in their ability to integrate videos in their chemistry teaching but not all of them were confident in their video editing skills.
Discussions held in the chemical education community have generated a variety of reports and recommendations for reforming the chemistry curriculum. The recommendations refer to teaching chemistry in the context of real-world issues. This has been suggested as a way to enhance students' motivation. It is suggested that real-world problems emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of chemistry and the relevance of chemistry to the students' lives. An attempt was made to incorporate these recommendations into the teaching of chemistry by teaching analytical chemistry together with environmental chemistry. A unit incorporating analytical chemistry in an environmental context was developed, in which the students learn concepts of a specific environmental issue. The unit "I Have Chemistry with the Environment", consisting of two modules, was developed on the topics of drinking-water quality, and the greenhouse effect. The research questions focus on the change in the attitudes and perceptions of the students toward chemistry and environmental issues, after learning the environmental unit. The results indicate that the students underwent a significant change in their awareness of environmental issues. All the students mentioned that the unit influenced their everyday-life perceptions of environmental issues and that their awareness of environmental issues increased. Another important finding was that more students found that learning the "I Have Chemistry with the Environment" unit encouraged them to learn chemistry. They indicated that they especially appreciated the feeling that they could discover things by themselves. Clearly, the students found that learning the unit was relevant to chemistry learning as well as to their personal lives. Researchers believe that such a program may promote education for sustainable development.
A nanotechnology module was developed for ninth grade students in the context of teaching chemistry. Two basic concepts in nanotechnology were chosen: (1) size and scale and (2) surface-area-to-volume ratio (SA/V). A wide spectrum of instructional methods (e.g., game-based learning, learning with multimedia, learning with models, project based learning, and storytelling and narratives) was implemented to support students' understanding. Students' interviews and the content of students' final projects were used and analyzed to learn how using a variety of teaching methods influenced students' understanding of basic concepts in nanotechnology. In addition, the study examined which methods enhance students' understanding and which do not, according to students' perceptions. Students felt that most of the teaching methods facilitated their learning, with the exception of two activities: the Hungarian cube, and nano effect simulation; these two activities were very abstract and confused the students. Finally, we formulated recommendations regarding methods for teaching nanotechnology in the future.
In this paper we describe the learning process of a group of experienced chemistry teachers in a specially designed workshop on molecular symmetry and continuous symmetry. The workshop was based on interactive visualization tools that allow molecules and their symmetry elements to be rotated in three dimensions. The topic of continuous symmetry is a new field of study that provides a quantitative description of the distance of a specific structure from perfect symmetry. Using novel online tools, teachers were able to perform these calculations with the emphasis on the chemistry, rather than on the mathematics of the calculations. Our results show that even a very basic knowledge of symmetry and continuous symmetry opens up new ways of thinking about and looking at molecules. The addition of visualization tools creates a deeper understanding of molecular structure. Moreover, even though molecular symmetry is not a mandatory part of the chemistry high-school curriculum in Israel, familiarity with concepts of symmetry can help teachers understand and explain other topics, such as chirality and the polarity of molecules. Our results indicate that highly advanced content can influence the way teachers think, understand and teach. This experience can shed light on curriculum choices for teachers' education.
In order to help teachers to bring their students into contact with the frontiers of chemistry, a special program for enhancing chemistry teachers' content knowledge as well as their pedagogical knowledge was launched at the Weizmann Institute of Science. The program, which was specifically designed for the chemistry teachers, consists of three stages, in which the teachers attended (1) the course lectures, together with the regular M.Sc. students, (2) a 'Follow-up' tutoring lesson, which was prepared especially for them by one of the staff scientists and was aimed at elaborating on the course lecture, and (3) a workshop coordinated by a researcher from the science teaching group, in order to apply the scientific knowledge to the educational field. The model reduced the teachers' anxieties resulting from taking academic scientific courses; they gained modern and advanced scientific content knowledge, and succeeded in applying it in their teaching.
The study describes the process of adopting new curriculum materials, which had been developed in the PARSEL project in several European countries, into the local educational science classroom of another country. The goal of the PARSEL project was to raise the popularity and relevance of science teaching by enhancing students scientific and technological literacy and by identifying suitable teaching/learning materials, based on relevant context-based educational approaches. All PARSEL materials are organized in a website and are freely accessible by science teachers around the world. In order to increase the teachers ownership towards the new materials, a "bottom-up" approach that included a teacher workshop for modifying the PARSEL modules for the needs of teachers was implemented. The teachers used the modified modules in their classes and reflect upon the whole process, after it was completed. Data have been collected using various research tools, such as, teachers questionnaires, teachers interviews and teachers focus group interviews. The results indicate that the "bottom-up" process increased teacher ownership towards the PARSEL modules and helped the teachers to align their teaching with the philosophy and the teaching style of the PARSEL project. It was also indicated that the students found the modules to be popular and interesting. (Contains 1 figure and 3 footnotes.)
This paper describes the implementation of an open-ended inquiry experiment for high-school students, based on gas chromatography (GC). The research focuses on identifying the level of questions that students ask during the GC open inquiry laboratory, and it examines whether implementing the advanced inquiry laboratory opens up new directions for students' questions. We found correlations between students' achievements and the level of their inquiry questions, and showed that the GC open-ended inquiry laboratory engaged students with different abilities and helped them deepen their understanding in various ways, according to their different levels.