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  • 1.
    Manni, Annika
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of applied educational science, Child and Youth education, Special Education and Counselling.
    Näs, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Åberg, Erika
    Umeå kommun.
    Sammansatta problem i undervisning för hållbar utveckling2017In: Nordisk arbeidsmodell for undervisning for bærekraftig utvikling / [ed] Eldri Scheie, Majken Korsager, Oslo: Naturfagsenteret , 2017, p. 14-19Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 2.
    Näs, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Teaching photosynthesis in a compulsory school context: Students' reasoning, understanding and interactions2010Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    According to previous research, students show difficulties in understanding photosynthesis and respiration, and basic ecological concepts like energy flow in ecosystems. There are successful teaching units accomplished in this area and many of them can be described as inquiry-based teaching. One definition of inquiry-based teaching is that it involves everything from finding problems, investigating them, debating with peers and trying to explain and give solutions. Accordingly students need to be confronted with challenging questions and empirical data to reason about and teachers need to implement student-generated inquiry discussion since students often stay silent and do not express their thoughts during science lessons. This thesis will focus on young peoples’ understanding of the functioning of plants, students’ participation during biology lessons, and how biology teaching is accomplished in primary and secondary school.

    Two school classroom projects focusing on teaching about plants and ecology are described. Four teachers and their 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes plus two science teachers and their three 8th grade classes collaborated. Photosynthesis and respiration were made concrete by using tasks where plants, plant cells, germs, seeds and the gas exchange were used. The aim was to listen to students’ reasoning in both teaching and interview situations. Learning outcome, as described by students’ reasoning in the classrooms and in individual interviews but also by their test results, is especially focused. Student-student and student-teacher interactions have been analysed with an ethnographic approach in the classroom context.

    The plant tasks encouraged the students’ in primary school to develop scientific reasoning and the interviews confirmed that the students had learned about photosynthesis. The ecology teaching in secondary school showed a substantial understanding confirmed both by students’ oral and written reasoning. Analyses of test results and understanding as presented in interviews did not always correspond. The interviews showed the importance of letting students try to explain concepts and to correct themselves. Primary students’ reasoning and understanding about photosynthesis were in the interviews almost the same as the secondary students’. The secondary students’ questioning during the lectures showed wonderments and interest for ecology from a broader view than in the content presented by the teachers and the textbooks, but the large classes and disruptive students stole too much time from the teachers’ management in the classroom. Students’ knowledge was underestimated and their interest in ecology faded away.

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  • 3.
    Näs, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    What is going on in a classroom during ecology lessons?Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Näs, Helena
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
    Ottander, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics.
    Student reasoning while investigating plant material2008In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 177-191Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In this project, 10-12 year old students investigated plant material to learn more about plants and photosynthesis. The research study was conducted to reveal the students’ scientific reasoning during their investigation and also to establish what they already knew, what they wanted to know, and what they actually learned about plants and photosynthesis. The eleven different tasks helped students investigate plant anatomy, plant physiology, and the gases involved in photosynthesis and respiration. The study was carried out in the ordinary classrooms. The collected data consisted of audio-taped discussions, students’ notebooks, and field notes. Students’ discussions and written work, during the different plant tasks, were analysed to see how the students’ learning and understanding processes developed. The analysis is descriptive and categorised from a modified general typology of student’s epistemological reasoning. The study shows students’ level of interest in doing the tasks, their struggle with new words and concepts, and how they develop their knowledge about plant physiology. The study confirms that students, in this age group, develop understanding and show an interest in complicated processes in natural science, e.g. photosynthesis.

  • 5.
    Näs, Helena
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Ottander, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    The space shuttle: an introduction to ecology teaching2009In: The nature of research in biological education: Old and new perspectives on theoretical and methodological issues / [ed] Marcus Hammann, Arend Jan Waarlo & Kerst Boersma, Utrecht, The Netherlands: CD-beta Press , 2009, p. 297-311Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    New ways of teaching ecology are needed since teenagers do not find concepts such as food webs interesting. Inquiry-based teaching is suggested to increase the interest in science. This study has an ethnographic approach and three classes of eight graders, 70 students, were observed during two weeks of work with the inquiry-based Space Shuttle task. The classroom atmosphere and teaching situations were rendered by means of thick descriptions. Students’ reasoning was categorised and analysed. 23 audio-taped student interviews were conducted and partly used. The findings show the complex problems in teaching and learning situations that appear during inquiry-based work in a classroom environment. The working atmosphere differed from noisy to calm. Students’ curiosity, level of attainments and interest made them use three levels of reasoning in the first 40 minutes. A learning process about complexity in ecosystems started but little improvement in concept knowledge was achieved. The task encircles students’ knowledge and entices them into ecological thinking and reasoning. The teachers did classroom management and did not have time to listen and support. The students, but not the teachers, were satisfied with the task’s result. The task’s potential in ecology teaching and students’ opportunities to learn will be discussed.

  • 6.
    Näs, Helena
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Ottander, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Benckert, Sylvia
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
    Understanding photosynthesis and respiration - is it a problem?: eighth graders' written and oral reasoning about photosynthesis and respiration2009In: Science education: Shared issues, common future / [ed] Mijung Kim, Sung Won Hwang & Aik-Ling Tan, Singapore: National Institute of Education , 2009, p. 1281-1318Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Earlier studies show that students at almost all school levels have difficulties to understand photosynthesis and respiration. However, international evaluations like TIMSS and PISA, present students’ understanding about photosynthesis and respiration without any connection to teaching and classroom context. Our research interest is to see to what extent ecology teaching develops students’ understanding of photosynthesis and respiration and how students can demonstrate their learning in both a written test and a guided interview.

     

    Ten weeks of 66 students’ ordinary ecology lessons were observed, their ecology tests were collected and 23 individual interviews were accomplished. The test results were analysed according to three categories of understanding. The interviews were analysed by how the students recalled their subject content knowledge, which rendered three types of reasoning.

     

    Both oral and written reasoning confirm a substantial learning, with more knowledge of photosynthesis than respiration. Analyses of test results and understanding as presented in interviews did not always correspond. Students with high scores in test showed problems to make a comprehensive picture of the concepts during interview, and students who tried and managed to connect concepts during the interview scored low in test. The interviews showed the importance of letting students try to explain concepts and to correct themselves. A potato gave both high and low scored students, an aha-reaction and truly satisfaction when they realised that photosynthesis and respiration were something else than a formula.

  • 7.
    Varg, Lina
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Näs, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Ottander, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Promoting continuity in science education through transition to secondary school: Findings from a formative intervention2023In: NOFA9: Education, knowledge and Bildung in a global world: Book of Abstracts, Åbo Akademi University , 2023, p. 138-138Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Student interest and learning in science has been suggested to decrease after students move to secondary school (Anderhag, 2016; Braund, 2016). One possible reason is content repetition stemming from a lack of recognition of students' previous experiences and knowledge in science (Braund, 2016). To enable discussions between teachers, we developed a professional development program in collaboration with a group of science teachers from primary (two) and secondary school (two). An educator from a local science center also participated in the project to broaden the perspective. The study was designed as a formative intervention, promoting expansive learning and transformative agency among participants (Sannino et al., 2016). We organized five events which included collaborative planning by using a tool (CoRe) to articulate the subject content to be taught (Loughran et al., 2004). Two of these events were open for other teachers to participate in. Research data was gathered through audio recordings of meeting discussions, group interviews and individual interviews with the teachers and science center representative.

    The present study explored the opportunities and obstacles to continuity in science education that surfaced during a collaboration between teachers from different grade levels. Results indicate that teachers found CoRe useful for them, since it strengthened their agency and reflexivity which was considered useful during content discussions. Further, the tool induced reasoning around the term "progression", for example whether the move from writing the photosynthesis reaction using words, to using chemical symbols represented a progression. If so, what kind of development in student understanding did this progression facilitate? The findings suggest that the meaning of progression in relation to continuity in science education needs further investigation, for example during continued collaboration in formative interventions.

    Keywords: Transitions, Science education, Content representation

    References 

    Anderhag, P., Wickman, P.-O., Bergqvist, K., Jakobson, B., Hamza, K.M., & Säljö, R. (2016). Why Do Secondary School Students Lose Their Interest in Science? Or Does it Never Emerge? A Possible and Overlooked Explanation. Science education, 100(5), 791–813.

    Braund, M. (2016). Oh no, not this again! Improving continuity and progression from primary to secondary science. The School Science Review, 362, 19–26.

    Loughran, J., Mulhall, P., & Berry, A. (2004). In search of pedagogical content knowledge for science: Developing ways of articulating and documenting professional practice. Journal 

    of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 370–391.

    Sannino, A., Engeström, Y., & Lemos, M. 2016. Formative Interventions for Expansive Learning and Transformative Agency. The Journal of the learning sciences, 25(4), 599–633.

  • 8.
    Varg, Lina
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Näs, Helena
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Ottander, Christina
    Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
    Science teaching in upper primary school through the eyes of the practitioners2022In: NorDiNa: Nordic Studies in Science Education, ISSN 1504-4556, E-ISSN 1894-1257, Vol. 18, no 1, p. 128-142Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Teachers’ own voices have been partially missing in science education research on upper primary school (age 10-12). In order to examine views and experiences of teaching science, we interviewed 14 upper primary teachers. They described science teaching as fun, mainly due to the inherent practical work. The same practical work was also identified by the teachers as the main cause of stress and was therefore conducted less frequently than desired. The data enabled construction of seven teacher roles, closely connected to both their described teaching practices and views on science education. Teachers’ accounts of their science teaching speak of a varied practice with emphasis on practical work and facts, and less articulated descriptions of work to develop students’ abilities to examine and communicate science. The results provide insights into the interactions between teacher views and teaching practices which could prove valuable for improving upper primary science education.

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1 - 8 of 8
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