Exploring multimodal scaffolds supporting middle school students’ construction of causal-mechanistic scientific explanations

Nitasha Mathayas, David E Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

Computer simulations help students visualize abstract scientific concepts. Yet their effectiveness depends upon the kinds of supports students receive. In this study, we explore the verbal and gestural supports we provided to students as they viewed a computer model of molecular conduction and constructed causal-mechanistic explanations for heat transfer. Using a complex systems and embodied approach to students’ conceptions, we conducted a cross-comparison case study of four students’ experiences with the simulation. By comparing students with richer scaffolding interactions to those with weaker scaffolds, we found that directing student attention towards causal elements in the simulation along with requesting them to gesture about the function of those elements helped students develop sophisticated explanations. We describe these cases and reveal ways these scaffolds can and cannot be enacted with the simulation. Implications for instruction and future work are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-63
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS
Volume1
Issue number2018-June
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event13th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2018: Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age: Making the Learning Sciences Count - London, United Kingdom
Duration: Jun 23 2018Jun 27 2018

Fingerprint

Scaffolds
Students
student
simulation
computer simulation
heat
Large scale systems
instruction
Heat transfer
Computer simulation
interaction
experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education

Cite this

Exploring multimodal scaffolds supporting middle school students’ construction of causal-mechanistic scientific explanations. / Mathayas, Nitasha; Brown, David E.

In: Proceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS, Vol. 1, No. 2018-June, 01.01.2018, p. 56-63.

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

@article{7b95b773be37481ab69d377b3045130a,
title = "Exploring multimodal scaffolds supporting middle school students’ construction of causal-mechanistic scientific explanations",
abstract = "Computer simulations help students visualize abstract scientific concepts. Yet their effectiveness depends upon the kinds of supports students receive. In this study, we explore the verbal and gestural supports we provided to students as they viewed a computer model of molecular conduction and constructed causal-mechanistic explanations for heat transfer. Using a complex systems and embodied approach to students’ conceptions, we conducted a cross-comparison case study of four students’ experiences with the simulation. By comparing students with richer scaffolding interactions to those with weaker scaffolds, we found that directing student attention towards causal elements in the simulation along with requesting them to gesture about the function of those elements helped students develop sophisticated explanations. We describe these cases and reveal ways these scaffolds can and cannot be enacted with the simulation. Implications for instruction and future work are described.",
author = "Nitasha Mathayas and Brown, {David E}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "1",
pages = "56--63",
journal = "Proceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS",
issn = "1814-9316",
publisher = "International Society of the Learning Sciences",
number = "2018-June",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Exploring multimodal scaffolds supporting middle school students’ construction of causal-mechanistic scientific explanations

AU - Mathayas, Nitasha

AU - Brown, David E

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Computer simulations help students visualize abstract scientific concepts. Yet their effectiveness depends upon the kinds of supports students receive. In this study, we explore the verbal and gestural supports we provided to students as they viewed a computer model of molecular conduction and constructed causal-mechanistic explanations for heat transfer. Using a complex systems and embodied approach to students’ conceptions, we conducted a cross-comparison case study of four students’ experiences with the simulation. By comparing students with richer scaffolding interactions to those with weaker scaffolds, we found that directing student attention towards causal elements in the simulation along with requesting them to gesture about the function of those elements helped students develop sophisticated explanations. We describe these cases and reveal ways these scaffolds can and cannot be enacted with the simulation. Implications for instruction and future work are described.

AB - Computer simulations help students visualize abstract scientific concepts. Yet their effectiveness depends upon the kinds of supports students receive. In this study, we explore the verbal and gestural supports we provided to students as they viewed a computer model of molecular conduction and constructed causal-mechanistic explanations for heat transfer. Using a complex systems and embodied approach to students’ conceptions, we conducted a cross-comparison case study of four students’ experiences with the simulation. By comparing students with richer scaffolding interactions to those with weaker scaffolds, we found that directing student attention towards causal elements in the simulation along with requesting them to gesture about the function of those elements helped students develop sophisticated explanations. We describe these cases and reveal ways these scaffolds can and cannot be enacted with the simulation. Implications for instruction and future work are described.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85053909098&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85053909098&partnerID=8YFLogxK

M3 - Conference article

AN - SCOPUS:85053909098

VL - 1

SP - 56

EP - 63

JO - Proceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS

JF - Proceedings of International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS

SN - 1814-9316

IS - 2018-June

ER -