Clark-p - COUPLING THE BIOQUEST 3PS AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL...

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COUPLING THE BIOQUEST “3P ’S ” AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL SCAFFOLDING IN FRESHMAN BIOLOGY LABS THE FRESHMAN BIOLOGY LAB TO PROMOTE STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN THE PROCESS OF SCIENCE SCIENCE IN FRESHMAN BIOLOGY LABS. DEBORAH J. CLARK Department of Biological Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518 [email protected] DONALD P.? BUCKLEY, ALLAN W. ? SMITS Department of Biological Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518 [email protected] EDWARD R. O’CONNOR School of Health Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518 [email protected] DONALD P. BUCKLEY Department of Biological Sciences, Quinnipiac University, Hamden, CT 06518 [email protected] The freshman General Biology Lab curriculum was renovated to incorporate BioQuest’s “3P’s” philosophy. The curriculum involves hands-on, open-ended experiments and research-based simulations that promote curiosity and social setting appropriate for cooperative learning, and provide iterative experience and scaffolded learning that is reasonable in the context of the students’ social and scientific development. Student perceptions of the lab experience were compared to those of students taught in the more traditional fashion. Students in the renovated lab course perceived that the course stimulated them to learn, and improved their technical and scientific reasoning skills more than did the students in the traditional lab course. In addition, emphasis on the scientific method throughout the course resulted in improved abilities in experimental design and graphing. Introduction The 1990’s has brought a recognition of the need for all students in undergraduate institutions to be able to understand fundamental concepts in science, by experiencing firsthand both the planning and the processes by which scientific knowledge is created [1] [2]. The expected result—the “vision” described by the National Science Foundation [1]—would be students who would better understand the importance of science in society and in determining their future. Both the Boyer Commission report [3], the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium [4] and others recommend implementing inquiry-based courses in order to attain this vision. It is
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particularly important to engage college freshman in “problem-posing” [4], so as to stimulate a better understanding of scientific principles, and, more importantly, the desire to continue to advance in the study of science. Thus, the vision of the 1990’s, and now of the 21 st century, must be accomplished by making room in the lab syllabus for brainstorming on how to test a problem, performing experiments, and discussing results, rather than just following procedures set by the instructor. In addition, freshman courses should teach the students the foundations of how to learn science, on which they can build throughout their college experience. This requires the elimination of the “weeding” out mentality that is prevalent in many institutions [2]. Studies by the National Research Council [5] suggest more specific guidelines
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Clark-p - COUPLING THE BIOQUEST 3PS AND EPISTEMOLOGICAL...

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