Active learning has been promoted as a key for national educational reform from elementary to higher education for the past few years. However, MEXT is replacing it with the phrase “independent, dialogical, and deep learning” in the new National Course of Study with a view to articulating more clearly the intention of the present reform. We can say the idea of deep active learning advocated by Matsushita et al. (2015) has had some impact on the attention to deep learning by MEXT. The purpose of this paper is to explore deep active learning in science education focusing on the practice and research of conceptual change, which have been trying to combine deep conceptual understanding with dialogue in the classroom. First, we reviewed Hypothesis-Experiment-Instruction as a representative practice of deep active learning in the history of Japanese science education and identified three problems. Then we showed that we can find some solution to them in recent conceptual change research. Finally, by examining several assessment methods related to conceptual change, we proposed that Toulmin’s argument model would be effective to guide and assess the product as well as the process of conceptual change.
We examined the effect on the listening side’s learning motivation in debate by using tablet terminals with synchronous CSCL for visualization of thinking. The following points became clear. 1. Listeners’ concentration is maintained at a high rate, concentrating on the speaker or the description on the screen. Aggressive behavior is increased, such as expressions of consultation and feelings about the discussion, while passive behavior is reduced. 2. The listening side hopes for a learning environment that visualizes thought, because it enables them to refer to the others’ opinions and convey their opinions to the others, and the usability of edutab. 3. The type of tool that the listeners use does not significantly make a difference to the number of comments.
The purpose of this study was to investigate how findings in science education findings play a key role in the improvement of science lessons for secondary school students. Japanese university students created a science lesson on tomography for Singapore students as part of the TWINCLE program. We investigated the change of lesson plans, PowerPoint slides, teaching materials and worksheets on the topic of tomographic visualization before and after the lesson with our Singapore counterparts. The results of this study show three key points: 1. The process of improvement of the science lesson became a form of active learning for the university students. 2. The university students’ lesson plans and teaching materials were revised according to the context so as to find the location of blood clots present in blood vessels. 3. The revised hands-on activity exposed secondary school students to a more “authentic” application of the concept of tomography.
PISA offers a framework for assessing scientific knowledge, which consists of knowledge of and about science. In Japan, traditional education has tended to emphasize the knowledge of science. However, Japanese government will revise the national curriculum in order to foster the more innovative persons in five years time. The next generation of curriculum will aim to promote more active learning and scientific methods or mindsets, but it will be difficult to advance the reform because of the lack of suitable teaching methods, contents or materials on knowledge about science developed in Japan, or even world-wide. In this situation, we developed a two-day inquiry-based hands-on program, and used it to assess participants’ scientific knowledge. We showed that participants in the program can acquire knowledge of science, especially in the stem cells research field. On the other hand, we found the limitation that participants could not increase their knowledge about science under the PISA framework. This suggests that longer or higher-frequency programs may be needed for students to acquire knowledge about science. Moreover, in order to assess students’ knowledge about science, simple but effective qualitative evaluation methods need to be developed, in parallel with improving quantitative evaluation methods.
We propose new Problem/Project Based Learning (PBL) prior learning materials using Manga Case Methods. The proposed method consists of Manga Case, question sets, and a table of questions and abilities. With the table, PBL instructors can choose question sets to improve the PBL abilities that learners lack. We conducted experiments on prior learning with the proposed method with 22 first-year university students specializing in management who have never taken any PBL classes. We used two types of question sets, each designed to improve different PBL abilities. We compared questionnaire results to confirm the effect of these experiments. The results show that the proposed method improves a series of PBL abilities like “ability to identify challenges” and “ability to evaluate and utilize information.” The proposed method improves PBL abilities by changing the question sets and was found to improve PBL abilities in a three-hour workshop (1.5 hours of 2 units).
In this article, we describe attempts to incorporate active learning in a teaching design suitable for practice in basic science subjects in high school. This teaching design adopts an active learning model; in the first half of the lesson, students learn how to think scientifically through lectures to foster scientific thinking skills and reasoning skills, and then they perform these thinking and reasoning skills using given information/data. The lessons use teaching materials developed in line with this teaching design; analysis of the results demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach.
The TWINCLE program is a teacher internship program which aims to enhance mutual understanding of foreign cultures and to develop students’ ability to succeed in overseas internships. In this study, reports written by students who participated in the program were analyzed by a text mining method to evaluate the changes in their ideas about the development and practice of the teaching materials. The results indicate that the students’ attitudes towards science classes changed from ‘simple lecture oriented classes’ to ‘problem-solving learning oriented classes’. Therefore, participating in the TWINCLE program is an effective way to change the students’ image of the science class.
This present study discusses STEM education and essential questions with respect to competencies emphasized in the Japanese curriculum, aiming to find out how the ideas of STEM can contribute. First, it recapitulated the competencies being discussed in the revision of the national curricula and competencies expected to be developed in STEM education. Then, by using the idea of the level of integration of thematic, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches, the study identified the competencies that can be fostered at each level as well as the roles of questions and teachers. Combining the findings and competencies emphasized in the Japanese curriculum, a framework of questions for cross-curricula activities to foster competencies, which can help students’ active learning, was developed.
Tremendous developments in science and technology have brought prosperity and an affluent lifestyle to mankind, but scientific and technological progress has also generated social issues related to the environment, security, ethics, and socioeconomic activities. Under these circumstances, a Science, Technology, and Society (STS) education that emphasizes the teaching of scientific and technological developments in their cultural, economic, social, and political contexts is required in order to cultivate human resources capable of making decisions about how to address these issues. In this study, we developed “nocobon,” a game-based teaching material for thinking on STS issues from various perspectives. “Nocobon” is a detective card game that can be played by a group of three to six people. The results of its prototype test for high school students suggest that players could acquire new knowledge and learn to think from different perspectives on STS issues through unlocking the mysteries in a series of “nocobon” cards. The results also indicate that “nocobon” could be a simple and convenient teaching material from the viewpoint of the time management.
The aim of this study is to develop a manga material which incorporates collaborative learning from the perspective active learning, and to survey its ease of use, effectiveness and whether it helps university students studying to become teachers capture the main points. This study is a pilot study for developing a learning program, Case Method Teaching Materials Using Manga, which cultivates pragmatic skills to teach active learning. The survey revealed that the users positively evaluate the material in terms its ease of use and effectiveness. However, it was found insufficient in facilitating capture of the main points in carrying out collaborative learning. This suggests that capturing the main points in carrying out collaborative learning is difficult if it is attempted through the learners’ reading of the material. Moreover, there is a necessity to modify the materials. The pilot study has therefore shown that we need to devise ways to encourage learners’ reading of the material in order to develop Case Method Teaching Materials Using Manga.
We introduced “active learning” into an experimental practice class, a registered dietitian course at a nutrition college. Active learning was conducted through (1) small group discussions before and after the experiments and (2) a presentation including evaluation of gene diagnosis (students weere to consider its purpose, effectiveness, and privacy protection issues). After the practice students statistically improved their basic knowledge of genetic modification of food materials and food labeling (a test score difference of p<0.05). The number of students who answered “genetic diagnosis is useful” and “I am willing to have genetically modified food” increased statistically (p<0.05). The number of students who answered “I would like to know my genetic characteristics” was statistically correlated with “I think genetic diagnosis is useful.” Students who answered “I am willing to have genetically modified food” were statistically correlated with “Genetically modified food is necessary.” Some students tried an entertaining role-play in their presentation to achieve deeper understanding of genetics and food. Furthermore, many students noticed their “having taken a step forward”, “improvement in critical thought”, and “development of organized teamwork skills” following the practice. These results show that introducing active learning into an experimental practice class is potentially constructive for an enhanced understanding of scientific ideas and generic skills.
In classes where students are actively involved in learning, signs of their learning appear in various ways. For this reason, it is presumed that each observer notes different things in their classroom observation. In this research, we developed a classroom observation tool called “edulog.” This tool can accumulate observation records and list all gathered data on one worksheet.6 people observed the classes using the “edulog.” It was suggested that, in a lecture style class, the observers tend to focus more on teaching, whereas in an activity-centered class, their focus is more on the learners; in addition, it was confirmed that observation viewpoints tend to vary. These results revealed that each observer had a different point of view in their observation. The above results indicate that, in classes where students are actively involved in learning, it is required to visualize and share observers’ different viewpoints, as well as the possibility of the “edulog” as a tool to be utilized in such a lesson study. It is also required in future research to develop and examine a new system of lesson study aiming to realize deep active learning.
The decomposition of hydrogen peroxide by manganese dioxide as a catalyst is one of the most widely used reactions for teaching different concepts of chemistry, such as oxygen generation, catalytic reactions, and reaction stoichiometry. However, the problem of waste minimization of used catalysts is not paid enough attention in educational experiments. This research investigates the effect of a clay block containing manganese dioxide. By using this clay block, it turns out that oxygen is easily collected without downward displacement of water, and an up-and-down motion of the block like “Dancing Raisins” is observed simultaneously. This phenomenon is effective for inquiry-based science as a process, for (a) posing a productive question, (b) teacher-supported brainstorming activities, (c) a written job performance, (d) class presentation and reflection on students’ learning. In addition, clay blocks containing manganese dioxide are easily collected and reused, and thus are effective in green chemistry.
Individual experiments based on microscale experiments are an effective method for the improvement of students’ thinking ability. To establish widespread microscale experiments in actual science classrooms from junior high to high school, suitable experimental instruments for electrolysis experiments were developed, characterized by safety, simplified operation and inexpensive cost. We adopted disposable color reaction plates as electrolytic bath, making the most of characteristic microscale experiments and reducing the burdens of teachers involving preparation and clearance. Operation of electrodes using carbon rods was also developed. The present experimental method should make it possible to observe clearly the phenomena, while reaction and execution of the electrolysis for three kinds of electrolyte solution takes place within hours of teaching class in high school chemistry. From a questionnaire and written responses, we found that the present teaching materials using disposable color reaction plates as electrolytic bath have made it possible to stimulate students’ interest and cultivate their scientific ability to think on the basis of individual and short-time experiments.
A thick line drawn on a sheet of paper with a pencil is electrically conductive and its resistance can be roughly estimated using a simple tester made of a light-emitting diode and lithium coin-type cells. They were used in a junior high school science class, and it was made clear that our experiment can be used when students learn how the shape of a resistor affects the value of resistance and the electric current passing through it.
In this study, a sundial simulator was developed as a new teaching tool. Our simulator is easily used with Microsoft Excel, based on the contents learned until high-school natural science in Japan, and the geometrical calculation on the celestial sphere. Comparing the actual sundial measurements with the calculation of our simulator, the calculation accuracy of our simulator was about 6 minutes in time. Our simulator also has ease of use and can be made at low cost, so it may be expected to be used in school education.
The school subject known as ‘chigaku’ (earth science) was established as one of the new scientific subjects in upper secondary schools in 1948. Since then, the numbers of students who took earth science has been lower than the other three scientific subjects, and that has been regarded as a serious issue for its value in science learning at every revision of the course of study. In this research, the author first investigates the arguments on the value of earth science education from the 1950s to the 1960s. Second, referring to the Osborne’s notion of the aims and objectives of science education, the author examines the aims and objectives of earth science education. Finally, the author argues to add ‘the pedagogical argument’ to the four arguments which Osborne proposed: utilitarian, cultural, economic, and democratic. The cultural, democratic, and pedagogical values of learning earth science should be emphasized for rethinking the aims and objective of earth science education.
The importance of collaboration between schools and museums has been pointed out recently. For this study, we developed a loan kit to promote collaboration between schools and museums in Mie Prefecture, Japan. We devised methods to make it easier for school teachers to utilize the loan kit, and examined how this loan kit was actually used in classrooms. We also analyzed what kinds of changes took place in the degree of interest in museums on the part of both teachers and students as a result of using the loan kit in classroom. The achievements and knowledge obtained from this study include; 1) completion of a loan kit containing a chicken skeleton specimen, together with worksheets and a teacher’s guide, including practical lesson examples, 2) preparation of two alternative methods and contents; one method was teacher-centered and the other was students-centered; the contents were designed to be adaptable depending on the numbers of students and classes, 3) development of a loaning system, including teacher training, 4) an increase in interest in museums observed in both students and teachers after using the loan kit in classroom.
In the science section of the Japanese course of study, there are four “fields”, i.e. “matter (particle)”, “energy”, “life” and “the earth”, and these fields consist of by many “units” containing scientific knowledge or concepts which should be understood by pupils. To classify scientific papers written by pupils, we identified the scientific knowledge or concepts used by pupils in their scientific papers. When the scientific knowledge or concept in the scientific paper were found in the unit of the Japanese course of study, we determined the papers to be related to that unit. Using 102 papers from the Japanese science contest (Shizekon) from 2006 to 2011, we found that some pupils used scientific knowledge or concepts which were scheduled to be learned later in elementary or junior high schools. Many papers (72%) were classified as the “life” field. On the other hand, only 35% of the units in “the earth” field were found in the papers examined. Most of the papers (82%) were related to two or more units or fields. Because teachers are expected to show pupils the relationships between units to improve their understanding of science, these scientific papers may be useful for teachers to develop their teaching materials.