Journal of Research in Science Education
Online ISSN : 2187-509X
Print ISSN : 1345-2614
ISSN-L : 1345-2614
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Review Paper
  • —Focusing on Research by McNeill et al.—
    Shinichi KAMIYAMA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 193-205
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study was to analyze the papers of McNeill et al., who are studying teachers’ beliefs about introducing arguments into science classes, to examine factors that influence teachers’ beliefs about teaching argumentation, and to uncover insights that can be used in the education of teachers who introduces argumentation into their science classes in Japan. Three papers were examined: Pimentel & McNeill (2013), Katsh-Singer, McNeill, & Loper (2016), McNeill, Katsh-Singer, González-Howard, & Loper (2016). In this study, teachers’ beliefs about introducing argumentation into their classes are discussed using the seven belief categories from Katsh-Singer et al. (2016). In this study, factors that influence beliefs can mean the reason why the teacher has a strong belief, or the reason why the teacher does not have a strong belief. As a result of analyzing and examining questionnaire surveys, interview results, and considerations for the subjects described in each paper, it became clear that the following three factors affect teachers’ beliefs about argument instruction. (1) Students’ backgrounds, including student experience, academic ability, awareness, and home environment (2) Teacher values related to classes, instruction, and evaluation (3) Teachers’ experience in teaching argumentation. The results of the study suggest that future work is needed to develop teacher education research in order to more effectively introduce argumentation into science education in Japan. For this purpose, it is necessary to broaden the scope of the study to include elementary school teachers and pre-service teachers, and to compare the results with the factors affecting the beliefs about argumentation that were found in this study.

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Original Papers
  • —Focusing on the Nexus Approach Related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—
    Miho ISHIKAWA, Katsuhiro KATAHIRA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 207-217
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) is an international set of goals and targets that, taken together, aim to create a sustainable society by 2030. The SDGs consist of 17 goals and 169 targets, and a pledge that no one will be left behind. To implement the SDGs, we must make a decision and generate new scientific knowledge for a sustainable society because the issues related to the SDGs are affected by people’s interests. Therefore, all countries and all stakeholders must, acting in collaborative partnership, have the will to implement this plan if it is to be successful. The approach best suited to achieve the SDGs is designated as trans-disciplinary, which is to advance science while creating a sustainable society. This approach can connect people’s decision-making with the creative knowledge, however, we need to recognize that science should advance with purpose toward creating a sustainable society. In this paper, we investigated whether lower secondary school students could relate science to a sustainable society using a nexus related to SDGs. Nexus refers to the relationship between multiple issues. The results of our study reveal that students were able to recognize the need for scientific advancement in a sustainable society. However, some students do not transition effectively from inter-disciplinary to trans-disciplinary, as they do not ask scientific questions for creating a sustainable society.

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  • Ryugo OSHIMA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 219-228
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study aims to determine Grade 7 students’ awareness of experimental planning activities, which provides autonomy for students in designing an experiment. A ‘recipe approach’ is often used in many science lessons, and in this kind of lessons students are passive, basically just following the instructions given by a teacher although they are expected to engage in active mental work. A teaching method for students to work more actively is expected to be developed, however, it is doubted that, if the students conduct an experiment more actively, it will necessarily follow that they will learn more effectively from the activity. In our exploratory survey, students were asked to plan an experiment on a simple phenomenon, ‘Hook’s law’, and to conduct their experiments following their own plans. Students’ responses to the questionnaires after the lessons were analyzed, and the findings are below: 1. both positive awareness, for example, being satisfied with the activity, and negative awareness, for example, anxious and difficult attitude toward the activity, occurred to students at the same time, and 2. students recognized the purpose and procedure of the experiment and the importance of an experimental planning activity.

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  • Yasushi OGURA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 229-240
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Science taught in schools is often perceived as less important for students’ future daily lives than other subjects. Science is not sufficiently recognized by students as necessary learning for them to acquire a level of scientific literacy that everyone needs to learn to use in their daily lives and a wide variety of careers. This research aims to improve students’ awareness of science as scientific literacy by utilizing core science teachers to continuously work on systemic reforms that improve science lessons throughout their schools, and to clarify how those refinements would positively influence students’ achievements in science learning. As a result of continuing to work at 12 public elementary and lower secondary schools in Saitama Prefecture from 2016 to 2018, students’ awareness of scientific literacy was improved throughout the schools that participated in the program, and the influences of changing awareness of scientific literacy on students’ achievements in science learning, as well as gender differences, became apparent. It is suggested that the training and utilization of core science teachers would be an effective means to improve the practice and dissemination of science lessons that improve awareness of the importance of scientific literacy, as well as scientific literacy itself, in elementary and lower secondary schools.

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  • Kosaku KAWASAKI, Hiroshi UNZAI, Daiki NAKAMURA, Yuta ISHIKAWA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 241-249
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    In this study, we aimed to clarify whether utilizing teaching methods based on the theory building process is effective in fostering “need for cognition”, increasing curiosity and motivation in elementary school science students. We practiced teaching in the fifth grade of elementary school using such a teaching method. The following data was obtained from the results of our in-class practice. First, many students described how they enjoyed the activities of explaining, predicting, and testing hypotheses during learning. Second, the questionnaire survey revealed that the average need for cognition score improved among the participating students.. From these facts, it was concluded that utilizing a teaching method based on the theory building process was indeed effective in fostering a need for cognition, increasing student curiosity and motivation.

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  • —Case Study of Practice of “Properties of Sound” in Grade 3 of Elementary School—
    Daijiro GOTO, Ichiro WADA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 251-262
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study was to elucidate the process of resolving inconsistencies between cultural artifacts constructed in the community and the concepts of science, and to develop a framework for science lesson design to promote the resolution process. Garrison’s (2016) community of inquiry (CoI) framework is a community theory of a purposeful and personally meaningful learning environment, consisting of cognitive, social, and teaching presences. These are used in science classes to analyze case studies. The lesson practiced for the study was the “Properties of Sound” unit in the third grade of elementary school. The case analysis reveals the process by which the principles of practice in the teaching presence work, while addressing the social and cognitive presences to resolve the discrepancies between cultural artifacts and scientific concepts. In this study, (1) the principle of practice in the teaching presence is that by acting on the social presence, expression of thought is promoted, consensus building is achieved, and cultural artifacts are constructed. (2) The principle of practice in the teaching presence is that the concept is refined by acting on the cognitive presence, and scientific concepts based on evidence are constructed. (3) The assessment of the discrepancies between cultural artifacts and scientific concepts will enable the principles of facilitation and the principles of direct instruction to function, and scientifically relevant cultural artifacts will be constructed to eliminate the discrepancies. A science lesson design framework was developed through this lesson design, based on the CoI framework that was verified to work effectively in practice.

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  • —A Case Study of Practice “Dissolution” in Grade 5 of Elementary School
    Noriaki SAITO, Hiroshi ENDO, Ichiro WADA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 263-275
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study was to reveal the process of appropriation based on combining metacognition, cognition, and affection in science learning. Utilizing the perspective of the relationship among metacognition, cognition, and affection (McCombs, 1988), we attempted to examine appropriation in detail. Additionally, we focused on the expectancy-value theory (Wigfield & Eccles, 1992) to identify the important affective elements in appropriation. From these viewpoints, we analyzed the appropriation process in elementary school science classrooms. Results of our analysis of the practice indicated that: (1) Expectancy-value could be classified into four patterns: (a) expectancy caused by cognition of others - attainment value, (b) expectancy caused by cognition of others - intrinsic value, (c) expectancy caused by cognition of the self - attainment value, (d) expectancy caused by cognition of the self - intrinsic value. (2) Appropriation correlated with metacognition of expectancy, value, and cognitive state. In the process, expectancy and value produced motivation to appropriate the others’ idea, and indeed, the children did so. (3) If there was a lack of combining cognition, expectancy and value, children did not properly appropriate the others’ idea.

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  • —Evaluation of the Trial Lesson on Principles of Electric Motors in a Philippines High School—
    Yasushi SAKAKIBARA, Zyukko MAENO, Masakazu KITA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 277-286
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Prior to the introduction of the trial lesson on principles of electric motors to a high school science class in the Philippines, the students lacked understanding of the relationship among the direction of electric current, the magnetic field, and the force induced. There were few students who understood the mechanism that motors rotated. The devised lesson plan utilized an electric swing and a coil (clip) motor as teaching materials that students could use in their experiments to promote their interest and enhance their understanding beyond textbook study. The coil motor successfully elicited the students’ interest in electromagnetic phenomenon since the coil rotates. However, this teaching material alone did not increase their degree of understanding of the scientific principle targeted in the lesson, as it is visually difficult to identify the direction of electric current that a coil creates when wound up many times. Thus, an electric motor of the electric swing type was developed for this study, and the effectiveness of this teaching material was evaluated in a trial lesson in a high school science class via inquiry-based study. The findings are as follows: 1) This lesson was useful to enhance students’ understanding of the direction of electric currents and magnetic fields. 2) This lesson was fun for the students; while not too difficult, the lesson encouraged students’ critical/analytical thinking. 3) This lesson effectively promoted understanding of the direction of physical force necessary to push the electric conductor in a magnetic field. 4) This lesson was useful to help students understand the reason that the electric motor continues to rotate.

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  • Shintaro SATO, Tatsuya FUJIOKA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 287-297
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    In elementary school safety instruction, “It is necessary to acquire the ability to evaluate the situation adequately, to consider what is required to realize a safe life, to collect essential information, and to make appropriate decisions and act (thinking, judgment, and According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology(MEXT)).” For this study, we developed a science teaching material in line with this aim to systematize school safety in science classes. The teaching material was developed assuming a disaster caused by heavy rain, the lesson was implemented in the fifth-grade unit, “Working of flowing water and change of the land,” and its educational effects were examined. The results of the practice revealed that, based on the acquired knowledge and skills related to natural disasters, and through lively discussion activities utilizing the teaching material, the students could appropriately evaluate their own safety situation and confirm necessary information, to prudently select their own actions. Additionally, it was suggested that knowledge-based situation judgment and discussion are indispensable for proper consensus building for action selection.

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  • —Trial Toward Generalization and Simplification—
    Sumiaki NAKANO
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 299-307
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The flow of an electrolyte solution can be observed when electrochemical reactions occur at electrodes under a magnetic field. This phenomenon is due to the Lorentz force working on ions involved in the electrochemical reactions. To date, several investigations have been conducted on the use of this phenomenon as a visual educational tool to promote understanding of the Lorentz force. However, there remain many problems to be solved regarding the aspects of generality and simplicity. For this study, a new visual educational tool was devised and, subsequently, its practical usefulness was confirmed through a preliminary experiment and verification classes. As a result, it was confirmed that the new visual educational tool can be made using aluminum as the electrodes and a sodium chloride solution as the electrolyte solution. By utilizing these materials, it is possible to efficiently foster a deeper understanding of the Lorentz force among students.

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  • —Through Goal Setting and Self-assessment Activities Using Radar Charts—
    Takashi NAKAYAMA, Kento MOMOHARA, Hiroyoshi KINOSHITA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 309-320
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study is to devise a teaching method that can proactively enhance children’s critical thinking ability in order to achieve the goals set by the students themselves in the study of science, and to verify the effectiveness of the method through class practice. Therefore, in learning about the topic “combustion mechanism” (11 hours in total) with a class of 30 children in the 6th grade, first, a radar chart was used to grasp the actual state of the students’ critical thinking ability, and let the students determine their own concrete goals of the learning by themselves. After that, we set an experimental task based on the questions posed by the children, and then repeated the self-evaluation activities while conducting the experiment. In addition, during the course of learning, we held an individual meeting with the teacher. As a result of the effect verification, the instruction method devised demonstrated that children improved their critical thinking abilities, with a focus on the reflective thinking and goal-oriented thinking set by each child as a goal. It became clear that the teaching method contributed to the increase in critical thinking ability while fostering independence.

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  • —A Case Study of “Magnetism Generated by Electric Currents”
    Norikazu HIRAKU, Shoju TONISHI
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 321-328
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study is to help improve teaching strategies in primary science education. One strategy is to encourage advance understanding of the outline of the learning content by having the students read the text before the lesson, because the preceded context enables them to more easily understand the contents immanent in the lesson. Another strategy is to enable the children to form hypotheses before engaging in experiments. In order to allow for the formation of hypotheses through prior knowledge, the “basic experiments” were placed before the learning procedures of the textbook which contains the experiments. A practical study of “Magnetism Generated by Electric Currents” using this strategy was carried out in a 5th grade class in elementary school. The results of the study are following; 1. Armed with the prior context, the children could behave competently in the lesson. They could easily find their learning problem in the scientific text and they also understood the purpose and meaning of the experiments shown in the textbook. 2. The prior knowledge from “basic experiments” enabled the children to think more logically and more readily form hypotheses. Formulating hypotheses by themselves helped make their experiments more meaningful. The cyclic interpretation between “basic experiments” added in this study and the experiments from the textbook made the students’ understanding of the magnetism caused by electricity more certain.

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  • Enhancing Students’ Understanding through Essay Questions
    Naoki MIYAMOTO
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 329-348
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study aimed to clarify the current status and issues surrounding the data interpretation capabilities of students, and to suggest tasks for teaching data interpretation skills based on those findings. The students in the study were found to have difficulties in distinguishing independent and dependent variables in graphs, understanding them, finding patterns and trends, and then providing reasoning in the selective problem. On the other hand, the students were found to be able to demonstrate more effective capabilities in distinguishing independent and dependent variables in tables and figures, understanding them, finding patterns and trends, and then providing reasoning, distinguishing independent and dependent variables in graphs, understanding them, finding patterns and trends, and then providing reasoning, and formulating data in figures and tables as mathematical expressions and then generalizing them, in the description-style problem. Suggested tasks to improve students’ data interpretation skills are as follows: to discuss reasoning based on the causes behind patterns and trends found during data interpretation, to teach metaunderstanding of the data interpretation concept of including anomalous data, to use graphs with two patterns or trends on the same graph and provide reasoning based on combination of these patterns, to teach what the term “in general” means in data interpretation, and to teach metaunderstanding of the data interpretation process of converting tabular data into graphs and then deriving relations, or, in other words, the concept of this process of data interpretation.

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  • Takekuni YAMAOKA, Shinichi OKINO, Shinji MATSUMOTO
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 349-359
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    According to Okino and Matsumoto (2011), metacognitive support is defined as “Identification of the naive conception,” “Identification of the acquisition process of the naive conception,” and “Connection and collation of the naive conception and the scientific concept.” It provides step-by-step support to teaching strategies. This study is concerned with the first two definitions, and, accordingly, two core questions were prepared and practiced. Question 1 assumes metacognition as “Identification of the naive conception,” and question 2 assumes it to be “Identification of the acquisition process of the naive conception.” To make this practice more effective and easier to follow step-by-step, two worksheets were created for two different classes. In Class A, the “TPSQ” worksheet reflected question 1 and asked students to think about whether a new question had arisen. Class B used the “TPS” worksheet, which does not discuss the creation of new questions, to reflect question 2. In addition, the survey was conducted in advance, after the classes, and after a delay. There were two notable results: (1) Class A, which had discussed the generation of new questions, tended to have longer memory retention times; and, (2) there was a tendency for the students in Class A to try to describe the new questioning while considering the results of the entire experiment. Therefore, in this study, metacognitive support was confirmed to be more effective if the question that arises is considered and written in the “clarification of the simple conception” stage.

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  • Takayuki YAMADA, Masahiro OHTANI, Yoshihiro OGAWA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 361-371
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    The purpose of this study is to confirm that “recognition of the usefulness of learning science” mediates “interest in science” and “consciousness of scientific inquiry”, and ultimately affects “confidence in understanding scientific knowledge”. It assumes a causal model and examines its validity. In order to achieve this purpose, we first prepared a questionnaire consisting of 30 items, referring to Kusaba (2011) and Tachikawa (2013). Next, a questionnaire survey was conducted targeting 36 students in the 3rd grade of lower secondary school. The results of factor analysis were extracted based on the following six factors: 1, “understanding the meaning of experiments (R)”, 2, “verification of experimental methods”, 3, “visualization of experimental results”, 4, “recognizing the usefulness of learning science”, 5, “interest in science”, and 6, “confidence in understanding scientific knowledge”. Furthermore, from the results of multiple regression analysis and path analysis, factor 1, “understanding the meaning of the experiment (R)”, factor 3, “visualization of the experimental result,” and factor 5, “interest in science” were revealed to be covariant and positioned at the initial stage of a causal model. It is not only considered that these three factors are organically related, but the results also suggested the possibility of interdependence, that strengthening one factor improves the other factors. In addition, it became clear that these three factors mediate factor 4, “recognizing the usefulness of learning science”, and have direct and indirect influences on factor 6, “confidence in understanding scientific knowledge”. From the above, in order to give students “confidence in understanding scientific knowledge”, we should, at the introduction stage of any science lesson, evoke “interest in science” or “understanding the meaning of the experiment (R)” and “visualization of the experimental result”. We were thus able to obtain confirmation and suggestions that support the possibilities for instruction such as emphasizing the importance of science and “recognizing the usefulness of learning science”.

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Note
  • Ayako NAGASAWA, Harumoto GUNJI, Takashi ITO
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 373-381
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    In the learning unit, “the structure and function of the human body” of natural science in the fourth grade of Japanese elementary school, various teaching materials, including models of the human arm, are available on the market, and many models constructed by teachers and researchers are also available. However, some of these models have problems regarding the reproducibility of bones, joints, and muscles. In addition, there are many cases of muscle contraction due to the bending of the elbow joint, which is contrary to the actual causal relationship and therefore confusing for students. Finally, some of the available materials are inflexible in that they do not adequately reflect children’s ingenuity and independent activities. Therefore, the authors set out to develop teaching material models that eliminate the above-mentioned problems and propose a lesson plan that utilizes these new models. In the new models, the arm bones are represented by three pieces of square-section timber, and the elbow joint is designed to recreate the mechanism of the hinge joint by devising a method of how to connect the three pieces of wood. Using a toy “Miracle Rocket” for the muscles, we were able to express how the muscles contracted and expanded, and how they relaxed and returned to their original length. These devices cause the children to think about the positions of tendons and encourages them to clarify the causal relationship in which the arm moves due to the contraction of muscles. By using these materials, schoolchildren will be able to actively work on solving problems in pairs and in groups throughout the learning unit.

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  • —A Comparative Study of Elementary School Teachers’ and Lower Secondary School Science Teachers’ Subject Area Knowledge—
    Toyosei HIRATA, Masaru TAGA, Takenori YOSHIKAWA, Hiroshi OGAWA
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 383-389
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    This study asked science teachers at elementary schools and lower secondary schools the following question: What is the time frame in which plutonic rocks are said to “slowly” cool and solidify? The purpose of the study was to analyze the results of the survey among science teachers on how long it takes for plutonic rocks to cool and solidify, to compare their answers, and to examine their knowledge of the process. Of the total 41 elementary school teachers and 155 lower secondary school science teachers surveyed, 7.3% and 11.6%, respectively, gave correct answers. A comparative analysis between the two groups indicated no significant differences in how they answered the questions. A comparison among the lower secondary school science teachers also indicated no significant differences within that group, regardless of whether they had specialized in geology as students, or, indeed, of the textbooks they were using as teachers.

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  • —for the Four Basic Science Subjects by the National Center for University Entrance Examination from 1990 through 2014—
    Yoshiki MORIGUCHI
    2020 Volume 61 Issue 2 Pages 391-402
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Released: November 26, 2020
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS

    Essential statistical trends in test scoring and test composing have been reported with a supplemental summary of the report (Moriguchi,2016) for mark sheet-style tests in four basic science subjects (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Geology) by NCUEE (the National Center for University Entrance Examination) from 1990 through 2014. Two new parameters, “rate of occupied score (op)” and “occupied score (Mop)” are proposed as statistical gauges for subject average scores of examinees. Utilizing these new parameters, some problems in score gaps among subjects by choice of True (allot score) or False (zero score) on answer mark format were considered based on the equality of the national test, NCUEE. Although the number of answer mark boxes and score design reveal considerable gaps in physics, the allowable gap difference and the score adjustment among subjects require essentially statistical data on the pass rate of respective university examinees from NCUEE. To make the gap difference as small as possible, adjustments among subjects should be attempted at least for the number of answer mark boxes and score design because test results on respective university examination are difficult to aggregate from NCUEE data5).

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