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Title: It's Okay to be Wrong: Recognizing Mechanistic Reasoning During Student Inquiry
Authors: Russ, Rosemary
Hutchison, Paul
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: International Society of the Learning Sciences
Citation: Russ, R. & Hutchison, P. (2006). It's Okay to be Wrong: Recognizing Mechanistic Reasoning During Student Inquiry. In Barab, S. A., Hay, K. E., & Hickey, D. T. (Eds.), The International Conference of the Learning Sciences: Indiana University 2006. Proceedings of ICLS 2006, Volume 2 (pp. 641-647). Bloomington, Indiana, USA: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Abstract: Recent reforms in science education place emphasis on engaging students in inquiry similar to that of research scientists. In their attempt to assess this goal, many educators and researchers evaluate student inquiry based on how well their conceptual understanding aligns with canonical knowledge. Such assessments fail to recognize other more valuable aspects of inquiry. We assert that mechanistic reasoning, shown by the history and philosophy of science literatures to be vital in the construction of scientific knowledge, is a more appropriate dimension along which to measure the quality of inquiry. We present a coding scheme designed to identify this reasoning and use it to analyze a discussion among second grade students about why juice boxes collapse when you suck on their straws. Assessing their mechanistic reasoning in this way reveals a value and sophistication that is obscured by current measures of conceptual correctness.
Appears in Collections:ICLS 2006

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