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Teaching Children Science Book Cover
Teaching Children Science: A Project-Based Approach, 2/e
Joe Krajcik, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Charlene Czerniak, University of Toledo
Carl Berger, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Key Terms

5-e model  An instructional model that has five stages-engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation.
accommodation  A permanent change in an individual's mental structure.
accountability  Responsibility for performance or learning.
action research  A process of asking questions, making plans, carrying out the plans, and analyzing and making use of what was learned.
active engagement  Students ask and refine questions related to phenomena; they predict and explain phenomena; and they mindfully interact with concrete materials. Active engagement, then, is both mental and physical.
adaptation  An individual's attempt to create an accurate view of the world so that she can continue the process of development.
affective factors  Factors related to emotion such as curiosity, excitement, persistence, enthusiasm, flexibility, skepticism, and open-mindedness.
analogy  A comparison between seemingly unlike things points out a similarity between them, and thus infers that they might be alike in other ways as well.
analytic rubrics  A scoring guide that measures artifacts, performances, or portfolios in a quantitative manner by assigning (or taking away) points for specific traits, dimensions, or criteria that are present (or missing).
analyze  To examine a concept or process in detail to better learn more about it.
anecdotal records  Written notes that describe student behaviors made at or near the time that the behaviors occurred.
anxiety  Uneasiness and apprehension.
apply  To make use of something; in this case, make use of scientific understandings.
archival data  Data that scientists collected in the past and then stored for future use.
artifacts  Products that illustrate what one has learned.
assessment  Any method used to judge or evaluate an outcome or help make a decision.
assimilation  An individual fitting new information into existing mental structures or schemes.
atmosphere  The prevailing tone or mood of the classroom.
attestations  Testimonials about a student's work prepared by someone other than the student, such as the teacher, a parent, or a peer.
attitudes  Opinions or feelings.
authentic assessment  Measures meaningful understanding by stressing open-ended answers rather than a single "correct" one.
authentic tasks  Tasks that have meaning for the child beyond the classroom.
base groups  Groups of students who work together on a project.
behavior tree  A diagram in which the teacher and students establish the goals that need to be met during a specific activity and set ground rules that need to be followed to meet the goals.
benchmark lessons  Teacher-directed classroom activities that present concepts, principles, or skills that students need in order to understand the work of a project.
bidirectional zone of proximal development  The fluctuations among group members-sometimes members are the teacher and sometimes they are the learner.
body-kinesthetic intelligence  Intelligence where learners use movement in learning.
calendar  Timetable of dates of events and lessons.
cause and effect questions  Questions that provide opportunities for students to make inferences about how one variable affects another variable.
challenges  A situation or difficulty that tests one's ability to do something.
checklists  A list of items for consideration.
children's literature  Books or other publications intended for a children's audience.
classroom assessments  Assessment used to help teachers evaluate students' progress during a unit of study.
classroom management  Organization or control in a classroom.
classroom organization  Relationships or structure in a classroom.
classroom rules  Governing procedures or conditions in a classroom.
climate  The prevailing conditions or feelings.
clinical interviews  Classroom interviews with students.
coaching  Providing suggestions to help the student develop knowledge or skills.
cognitive load  Amount of work in acquiring or using knowledge.
cognitive roles  Roles that require a specific type of thinking or specialized knowledge.
collaborate  To work with another person or group on a science topic.
collaboration  The act of working with another person or group to accomplish something in a science classroom.
concept  An idea or central principle.
concept mapping  The process of making visual representations of the relationships among concepts.
concept maps  Visual representations of the relationships among concepts.
concepts  An idea or basic understanding.
conceptual knowledge  Knowledge of interrelationships, principles, theories, and models.
conceptual models  Models that link the unfamiliar to the familiar by using metaphors and analogies.
concrete operations  A phase of development where children develop the ability to apply logical thought to problems they come across in their environment.
conferences  A meeting of a professional organization, usually lasting several days.
consequences  The result that follows an action.
construct meaning  Create understanding.
content knowledge  The central concepts, principles, and theories in an area of study.
contextualization  Anchoring questions in the lives of learners and creating them to deal with important, real-world questions.
contextualized  Knowledge cannot easily be separated from the situation in which it is developed.
continuous data  Data when the intervals between the data have meaning.
control variables  Variables that are held constant during an investigation.
convergent  To come from different directions and reach the same conclusion.
create  Produce something; imagine.
creativity  Use one's imagination to develop a new idea or product.
criterion-referenced tests  Tests that grade all students according to a single set of preestablished standards.
cross-links  Links that show the interrelationships among the concepts included on the map.
curiosity  Eagerness to learn or know something in science.
current data  Data collected in the recent past.
curriculum integration  A blending of subject areas such that the separate parts are not discernible.
demonstration  Show or display how something works.
departmentalized  Schools that are organized in a manner that teachers are separated by subject area (teach only their subject area).
dependent variable  Variable that changes as the result of the conditions of the investigation or the "it changed" variable.
descriptive questions  Questions that focus on finding out about the observable characteristics of phenomena.
descriptive statistics  Statistics such as differences, averages, and ranges that help a student make sense of data.
designing  How a student will structure an experiment in order to find an answer to his/her question.
digital cameras  Cameras that take pictures in digital format and can be used as a data collection device by students.
digital divide  Lack of technology access by needy and at-risk students.
digital libraries  Various documents saved in digital format that can be accessed through the World Wide Web.
discrepant event  An event that goes against what students expect and thus provides an open-ended question to stimulate student thought.
discrete data  Data that can be divided into categories and when the intervals between the data have no meaning.
discussions  Talk between or among members of the class and teacher.
divergent  Distinctly separate or increasingly different ideas.
division of labor  A process that occurs when students collaborate, negotiate, compromise, and interface with others to investigate a driving question.
downtime  Time between activities.
drawing  A picture of something made with pencil, pen, markers, etc.
driving questions  Problems that serve to organize and guide instructional tasks and activities.
dropouts  Students who lack interest in an activity or who fail to be motivated to complete it.
duped  Trick or persuade someone to do something for you.
elaboration  A stage in the 5-E model where students can gain a deeper understanding of the concept by engaging in additional activities related to the concept.
embedded  Lodged in instruction.
engagement  A stage in the 5-E model where students develop understanding about a concept by engaging in concrete experiences with materials.
equality  The quantity or level of knowledge or ability that members bring to a group.
equilibration  The process of an individual modifying his/her mental structures to fit new experiences he/she encounters.
essay  A short written assignment where students explain or interpret something.
ethical  Scientific moral conduct that is not harmful to living organisms or the environment.
evaluate  To judge or assess.
evaluation  A stage in the 5-E model where students' learning is assessed.
explanation  A stage in the 5-E model where the teacher introduces formal vocabulary or students verbalize understanding about the explorations in which they have been involved.
exploration  A stage in the 5-E model where students develop understanding about a concept by engaging in concrete experiences with materials.
explore  Make an investigation.
factual knowledge  Knowledge of facts and details.
faded  A process where the support must decrease over time.
feasibility  Driving questions that can be carried out by students to perform investigations and are developmentally appropriate.
feedback  Instructional help and information given to a student by teachers or other students for the purpose of improving one's academic work.
fish-bone model  A diagram that lists tasks leading to a goal.
flexible  Open to change.
formal interviews  Structured interviews.
formal operations  A phase when the child becomes able to apply logical thought to all types of problems-including ones he/she cannot actually experience directly.
formative assessments  Day-to-day assessments used to help teachers evaluate students' progress during a unit of study and make decisions regarding curriculum and instruction.
goals  A benchmark that one wants to achieve.
grading  An interpretation or judgment made from data collected and recorded, thus an extension to evaluation.
ground rules  Basic rules or guidelines.
guide  A person who is leading students in the right direction.
hierarchical  To arrange in a ranked order.
higher order  Thinking that requires in-depth analysis or detailed thinking.
high traffic areas  Areas of a room that have a high number of people present or passing through.
holistic rubrics  Rubrics that measure the overall quality of an artifact, performance, or portfolio.
home groups  Groups that are used for critiquing work and supporting each other; may be used the entire school year.
hypermedia  Media that has links to other documents or that has links to other parts of the same document.
hypotheses  Questions stated in testable form that specify how the independent variable will influence the dependent variable.
independent variable  Variable that is purposefully changed by the investigator or the "you changed it" variable.
inert knowledge  Understanding that is stored in the mind but that cannot be retrieved or used in appropriate situations.
inferences  Conclusions drawn from evidences or reasoning.
informal interviews  Less formal interviews that resemble teacher-student discussions.
initial observations  Introductory observations that students make of phenomena that might acquaint them with concepts, pique their curiosity, and motivate them to ask questions.
inquiry  An investigation of a scientific nature.
inquiry-based learning  Learning that focuses on developing a deep understanding of science concepts and principles by systematically exploring the world.
integrated  The crossing of subject matter boundaries.
integration  The combination of science with other subject areas.
interactive multimedia  Technologies that combines video, pictures, graphics, and text in an interactive manner to present information.
interdisciplinary  An approach that consciously applies methodology and language from more than one discipline to examine a central theme, issue, problem, topic, or experience of another.
interest  A topic of curiosity or concern to learn more about.
interpersonal intelligence  Intelligence characterized by the ability to understand and interact with other people.
interpersonal roles  Roles that help students work well among themselves.
interrelationships  Relationships between or among things.
intrapersonal intelligence  Intelligence characterized by the ability to understand oneself.
invent  To think up or make something new.
investigation centers  Areas of a room set up for students to conduct investigations on their own.
investigations  Inquiry into a topic using scientific skills.
investigation web  A process of carrying out an investigation that includes "messing about," asking and refining questions, finding information, planning and designing, building the apparatus and collecting data, analyzing data, making conclusions, and communicating findings.
journals  Recordings of personal events, experiences, and reflections.
KWL strategy  A method where students are asked to tell what they know about a topic (K), want to know about a topic (W), and have learned about a topic (L).
large-scale assessment  District, state, or national assessments used to evaluate school curriculum, school district progress, and programs; sometimes called high-stakes assessment because of the importance placed on the tests.
learning communities  A group of students using techniques to help each other learn.
learning contracts  Written agreements between the students and teacher which establish standards for completion of their work before it is begun by the student.
learning cycle model  A three-stage instructional model developed by Robert Karplus-explore, invent, and apply.
learning performances  Specification related to what achievement we expect of the students.
learning technologies  The use of computers, software, and various peripherals that support students in learning.
less content  Fewer topics to be studied, but studied more in-depth.
lesson plan  The design of a lesson outlining what will be done.
lines  A mark indicating a path.
linguistic intelligence  Intelligence characterized by the capacity to use language (written or oral).
linking words  Words written on the line of a concept map that explain or define the relationship between concepts.
listening  To pay attention to what someone is saying.
loafer effect  A phenomena that occurs when one or more group members allow others to do all the work.
logical-mathematical intelligence  Intelligence characterized by the capacity to use numbers.
lower order  Thinking that requires little analysis or detailed thinking.
managerial roles  Roles that help manage time and completion of a task.
manipulation of materials  Involving students in building apparatus, taking things apart, or handling or playing with objects.
marking critical features  A necessary or important attribute.
matching  Test items that require students to correspond premises made in one column with responses in another column.
mathematical models  Models that specify a relationship between the variables described and the behavior of phenomena.
meaning  A sense of purpose or significance.
meaningful understanding  When a learner builds relationships and connections between ideas and blends personal experiences with more formal scientific knowledge.
messing about  A way of initially engage students in exploring, manipulating materials, making initial observations, reading about phenomena, and taking things apart.
metacognitive knowledge  Self knowledge or knowledge of one's own cognition.
metaphor  A figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another, making an implicit comparison between the two.
microcomputer-based laboratories (mbls)  Software and probes that allow students to collect various types of data in real time.
microworlds  Software that combines video, pictures, computer graphics, ext, and interactivity to present to students situations that otherwise would be inaccessible or too hazardous, time-consuming, or expensive for students to explore.
model  A simplified representation of a phenomenon that suggests how the phenomenon works.
modeling  The process through which a more knowledgeable person illustrates to the learner how to complete a task.
models  Simplified representations of natural phenomenon.
model thinking  To tell out loud what one is thinking in his or her head.
multimedia documents  Documents that combine writing, illustrations, photographs, videos, audiotapes, computer applications, and other media.
multiple choice  Test items that include a stem and various options.
multiple intelligences  Forms of intelligence categorized as mathematical-logical, linguistic, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.
multiple representations  Ideas expressed in more than one media including text, graphics, images, and video.
multiple resources  More than one source of information.
music  Sound from voices or musical instruments.
musical intelligence  Intelligence characterized by sensitivity to sound, pitch, and rhythm.
mutuality  The common goals of the students.
naturalist intelligence  Intelligence characterized by a person's ability to identify and classify patterns in nature.
nature of science  The historical aspects of science and idea that science is an ongoing, changing process.
network  A series of connections or branches.
nonlinear  A process that does not happen in a step-by-step, straight-line pattern .
norms  Standards of behavior.
observation  Watching someone or something carefully.
observing  Seeing or noticing.
open-ended questions  Questions structured so that students can fill in their own answer.
operational definition  A definition of a variable in terms of how the variable will be manipulated, measured, or observed.
pact  An agreement between two or more groups or individuals to complete a given amount of work with the least effort.
peer assessment  Assessment of student progress made by other students.
performance-based assessment  Methods of directly examining students' knowledge, skills, and dispositions.
physical arrangements  The location of objects in a room.
physical models  Devices or processes that behave like the phenomena.
planning  The process of students thinking about and working out how their investigation will take place, what equipment is needed, and what data do they need to collect.
portfolio assessment  A process of collecting representative samples of students' work over time for purposes of documenting and assessing their learning.
portfolios  Collections of student artifacts; can be thought of as both objects and methods of assessment. As objects, they are a place for holding materials such as papers, photographs, or drawings that are representative of students' work and progress. As methods of assessment, portfolios provide ways for teachers to continuously collect and assess student work.
positive interdependence  The linking of all group members so that one cannot succeed unless the other group members succeed.
predictions  A statement of what a student thinks will happen in an investigation .
preoperational thought  A phase characterized by the development of language and rapid conceptual development focused on mastering representations without thorough understanding.
primary data sources  Data sources developed and used by scientists.
primary-source material  References or resource materials that are original or first sources of information.
prior experiences  Experiences students learned in life before the current topic was introduced.
prior knowledge  Knowledge that students gained in life before the current topic was introduced.
probes  Electronic instruments connected to computers that allow or the collection of data including temperature, force, motion, and pH.
probing  To thoroughly examine.
procedural knowledge  Knowledge to find solutions to questions, to design an experiment, and to find and evaluate background information related to a question.
process  A series of actions or steps.
product  A book, a physical model of some kind, or a working apparatus that a student makes to demonstrate what she has learned.
productions  Documents (such items as goal statements, personal reflections, captions, and descriptions of what the items in the portfolio represent that help explain the contents of a portfolio.
professional development  Information or knowledge learned to continue improving one's skills and abilities in a career.
professional organizations  An organization of professionals in a particular field or career area.
project-based science  A teaching approach that engages young learners in exploring important and meaningful questions through a process of investigation and collaboration. Throughout this dynamic process, students ask questions, make predictions, design investigations, collect and analyze data, make products, and share ideas. As a result, students learn fundamental science concepts and principles that they apply to their daily lives.
proposition  Single relationship between two concepts on a concept map.
publications  Printed material to communicate to the members of an organization.
qualitative observations  Detailed descriptions of what is seen.
quantitative observations  Descriptions that can be counted or recorded in a numerical format.
questioning  Asking questions.
quicktrial  Experimental technique in which students try out experimental procedures to see if they work.
real choices  Choices that are meaningful and important to students.
real-time graphs  Graphs generated in real time by computer software as students collect software using probes.
receptional approaches  Transmitting information, and students receiving the information.
redirecting  To take a question or a response to a question and ask a second person to respond to the question or response.
reducing complexity  Withholding complex understandings or tasks until the learner has mastered simpler understandings or subtasks.
reflection  Thinking about alternative questions, considering possible hypotheses, contemplating a variety of answers, speculating on outcomes, deliberating on steps that can be taken, and meditating on conclusions found.
reflective  To think about the design of one's practice-such as curriculum and instruction, and ways to revise and adapt lessons.
reflective practitioners  Teachers who think about, analyze, and mentally debate what should be done to most effectively teach particular students at any given moment.
reinforcement  A reward for a behavior.
relational questions  Questions that allow students to find out about associations between the characteristics of different phenomena.
reliability  How consistently a test measures a student's performance.
reliable assessment  Assessment that provides consistent results across different trials, thus yielding similar results on different occasions.
remember  To recall something from memory.
reproductions  Documents (such as photographs of projects, videos of projects, or audiotapes of presentations) attesting to the learning process-not the actual items produced.
resources  Books, curricula, equipment, supplies, and materials.
rewards  Something desirable given in return for good behavior.
role models  Serving as an example to others.
role-playing  To pretend you are in a different situation or are a different person; to act out a situation.
safety  Protection from harm or injury.
scaffolding  A process in which a more knowledgeable person uses various techniques, such as modeling or coaching, to direct those aspects of the intellectual task that are initially beyond the capacity of the learner.
schemas  Blueprints that guide behavior and reasoning.
science  The study of the physical world.
scientific attitudes  Attitudes of openness, curiosity, skepticism, etc.
scoring rubric  A brief, written description of different levels of quality for student performance that allow one to rank or rate a level of performance.
seeking information  Finding background information essential to an investigation.
selection  Techniques requiring students to select a response from choices provided on the test.
self-assessment  To judge one's own progress.
self-monitoring  Checking on one's self.
sensorimotor intelligence  A phase where the child interacts with the environment through sensory and muscular activity.
sequencing  Breaking a difficult task into much smaller, manageable, step-by-step subtasks.
sharing  Communicating to others your ideas, plans, and progress throughout the investigation, your findings, and your final products.
sharing groups  Groups where students share information about their respective projects.
short answer  Test items that present a problem to a student that requires them to answer with (supply) a short response.
simile  A type of metaphor; makes a comparison between two things using the words like or as.
simulations  Software that allows students to explore what it might be like to manipulate variables that would otherwise be just too difficult, impossible, or unethical to do in the real world.
social constructivism  A theory of learning that holds that children learn concepts or construct meaning about ideas through their interactions with and interpretations of their world, including essential interactions with others.
socially induced incompetence  A phenomena that occurs when members of a group ostracize or disparage a student to the point that he or she feels unable to contribute to the group's work.
status differential effect  A phenomena that occurs when a high-status member of a group takes control. Higher status can be caused by many things-cliques, socioeconomic status, race, older students working with younger ones, or academic achievement.
subordinate  A lower rank or secondary importance.
subquestions  Questions that come from another, more central question.
summative assessment  Assessment of individual achievement in the form of end-of-unit tests, letter grades, and large-scale assessments.
superordinate  A higher rank or primary importance.
supply  Techniques requiring a student to construct a response to a question or problem.
sustainability  A topic that can be studied or maintained over time.
telecommunication  Students use the World Wide Web to communicate with other students in remote or distance areas.
test anxiety  Nervousness or fear of taking tests.
thematic  A unifying topic or subject transcending traditional subject boundaries.
theories  A body of rules and principles that apply to science; a conjecture or belief about a topic in science.
think critically  Be able to judge and analyze a topic.
transformational approaches  Teaching models that involve teachers supporting students to make sense of material.
transitions  The process or time period between activities.
true and false  Test items that require a student to classify an item as true or false, correct or incorrect, or yes or no.
trust-building skills  Skills or processes that help make all students feel comfortable working in small groups.
understand  To comprehend or be aware of.
using visual tools  Using pictorial prompts that help students understand their own thinking processes.
valid assessment  Assessment that is fair and allows the teacher to make accurate generalizations about a student's knowledge.
validity  Fair and accurate generalizations.
variables  The characteristics that will change in an investigation.
video  Something that has been recorded on videotape, CD, DVD, cassette, or other broadcasting medium.
video camera  A camera that records onto digital or videotape.
visualization tools  Technology tools that enable students to "see", explore, and analyze scientific data.
visual-spatial intelligence  Intelligence characterized by a person's ability to think in terms of physical space.
wait-time  Three to five seconds a teacher waits after asking a question before calling on a student.
worth  Questions that have value as rich science content and process that match district curriculum standards.
writing samples  Collection of a student's written work (poems, essays, stories, etc.).
zone of proximal development  The difference in performance between what a learner can accomplish unassisted and what he could accomplish with the assistance of a more knowledgeable or capable other.