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Purposeful Engagement in Science Learning

The Project-based Approach

Kabba E. Colley

Purposeful Engagement in Science Learning provides a blueprint of how teachers and their students can engage in science learning that mirrors the way science is practiced. It is written for K–16 science educators as well as those in the informal science education sector. The framework for this book is based on the project cycle, which is consistent with the process of scientific inquiry. Chapter One reviews the historical, philosophical and psychological foundations of project-based scientific inquiry (PBSI) and the evolution of this approach in the U.S. Chapter Two examines and synthesizes the research on PBSI. Chapter Three explores how to plan PBSI and offers practical strategies for veteran and novice science educators alike. Chapter Four presents different strategies for implementing PBSI with particular emphasis on factors to consider, including the roles and responsibilities of teachers and students. Chapter Five provides selected case histories of successful PBSI. Chapter Six deals with the different methods of evaluating and assessing students’ learning in PBSI environments and provides examples of performance-based assessments suitable for evaluating students’ learning. Chapter Seven examines the relationship between PBSI, after-school programs and community involvement. Finally, Chapter Eight identifies and describes relevant resources that could be used to support and enhance PBSI. This book is organized in a way that allows science educators to address the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), while at the same time, helping students learn science in ways that are relevant to their lives.
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Chapter 1. Introduction to Project-based Science Instruction


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Chapter Overview

Project-based science instruction (PBSI) did not originate in a vacuum. Rather, it grew out of a particular historical and philosophical context. To situate this pedagogical approach in context, we will begin this chapter by examining its historical, philosophical, and psychological foundations. The chapter will then trace the history of PBSI in the United States. Various authors, researchers, and science educators have defined project-based science instruction. However, these definitions vary by context and discipline. This chapter will also examine the various definitions of PBSI with a view to providing a comprehensive working definition. The relationship between science-learning standards, nature of science, and PBSI is not well understood and warrants further discussion. This chapter will end by reflecting on this relationship with a particular emphasis on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and PBSI. ← 1 | 2 →

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