Fossil materials with photographs, which are evidence of evolution from the Paleozoic to the Cenozoic Era, are published in science textbooks for lower secondary school first graders. However, there is no explanation of “how all living things have evolved”; only the results of evolution are enumerated. On the other hand, there are many misunderstandings concerning “evolution”, and many previous studies have pointed out the misconceptions that are persistently retained. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to examine to what extent the evolutionary concepts of lower secondary school students were formed by the lesson we developed. Specifically, we set up “essential questions” on evolution every hour in the lesson, and we prepared “performance tasks” to be expressed via “pictures” and “sentences” as the summative assessment. Furthermore, before and after the students created the performance tasks, we gave them opportunities to rethink and revise them through active learning. In other words, the elements of formative assessment such as mutual peer assessment were added to the teaching and learning process. Our analysis based on the performance tasks and the results of our questionnaire survey showed a certain effectiveness in fostering understanding of the evolutionary concepts in the lower secondary school students.
The scientific concepts of children are constructed through experience and interpretation, both of which are a very important viewpoints in science education. This study focuses on Living Environment Studies, the preliminary phase of science learning. Based on the roles and tasks of Living Environment Studies expected in the new Curriculum Guidelines (“Courses of Study”), it clarifies what the learning of Living Environment Studies, which should develop into science learning, should be like. Therefore, in this study, classes were given and verified from the two perspectives below. (1) Development of a teaching/learning model for Living Environment Studies classes which are aimed to develop into Science learning. (2) Formulation and verification of evaluation indices of Living Environment Studies as a viewpoint for fostering the scientific qualities and capacities of children. Through the development and verification by practicing class-work, it was made clear that the children’s awareness, which would lead to science, emerges under the situations intentionally set by the teacher. It also became clear that the teacher can clarify the viewpoints for extending the children’s awareness of the scientific ideas by formulating evaluation indices as viewpoints for observing and assessing children’s awareness.
We designed a science lesson based on the frameworks of Integrative Assessment. These frameworks were based on the proposal of Crisp (2012). The frameworks are 1) Provide students with opportunities to make judgements about their own learning and performance, 2) Provide opportunities to define standards and expectations, 3) Provide them with opportunities to analyze their approaches to responding to a problem, 4) Provide them with opportunities to integrate feedback into their learning, 5) Provide opportunities to engage with a meaningful task, 6) Provide opportunities for assessment of the constructed knowledge. After our lesson was trialed in an elementary school science class, results indicated that: (1) The teacher supported pupils’ learning with diagnostic assessment, formative assessment and summative assessment. (2) Pupils solved the problem via self-assessment and peer-assessment. (3) Pupils were able to construct knowledge about the nature of air. The proposal of Crisp (1997) was thus confirmed to be a useful paradigm for the sound designing of science lessons.
The main purpose of this study is to devise an evaluation sheet for examining the changes of elementary school students’ understanding about the position of the heart before and after the observation of an anatomical model of the human body which is one of the permanent exhibits in a science museum. The main findings of this study were as follows; 1) before the observation, about 40% of 263 students who answered the evaluation sheet had the incorrect concept that the heart was in the left side of the chest; 2) after the observation, the number of the students who had the incorrect concept decreased to less than 10%; and 3) Although the students who understood the position of the heart correctly before the observation was about 20%, after the observation the proportion of students who correctly understood the heart’s position increased to about 60%. Based on these results, we reviewed the evaluation sheet from the five points (constructions and contents of the evaluation sheet, ways of observation, ways of display of the permanent exhibits, the anatomical model, and connections to school science) in order to evaluates its utility.
The main purpose of this study is to evaluate whether 2nd grade (before learning) and 3rd grade elementary school students (after learning) have acquired scientific knowledge about the morphology of insects by using free writing and drawing methods as evaluation tools. The main findings of this study were as follows; 1) none of the 2nd grade students and about 30% of the 3rd grade students explained insect morphology scientifically; 2) about 95% of the 2nd grade students explained morphology of insects from particular insects’ or other creatures’ examples unscientifically because they lacked knowledge about intension and extension of the insect’s concept; 3) in 3rd grade students’ case, about 40% of pupils’ scientific explanations were based on proposition A (a body of insects makes up head, thoracic, and abdomen), whereas only 1% of their scientific explanations were based on proposition B (insects’ thoracic has six legs); and 4) in both 2nd and 3rd grade students, a small percent explained insect morphology by contrasting their differences with human bodies. Based on these results, we suggested some perspectives to consider in order to reconstruct current teaching and learning methodology with regard to insect morphology.