Modeling in high school earth and space science
Wise, Emily Sarah
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Modeling is a key practice embedded in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and its purpose is to help students develop their ability to reason, explain, and apply their classroom learning to real world phenomena. Students often struggle to take their science content learning and use to explain complex scenarios. In this study, all teaching and learning was done via Zoom for the duration of the research period due the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to develop the skills required for modeling and to help promote engagement during synchronous class sessions, students participated in twelve weeks of virtual modeling-based instruction and synchronous classroom activities as well as two summative assessments that required them to model complex phenomena around Earth and space science. Students were asked to self-evaluate their ability to use and develop models at the beginning and the end of the research period. The data did not show that student confidence improved from the beginning to the end of the treatment, nor did student scores on the summative modeling assessments improve from the beginning to the end. Required remote learning was a new experience for all students and it proved to be a tremendous struggle for both engagement and assignment completion and submission.