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Krist, Christina; Schwarz, Christina V.; Reiser, Brian J. – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2019
Mechanistic reasoning, or reasoning systematically through underlying factors and relationships that give rise to phenomena, is a powerful thinking strategy that allows one to explain and make predictions about phenomena. This article synthesizes and builds on existing frameworks to identify essential characteristics of students' mechanistic…
Descriptors: Logical Thinking, Heuristics, Epistemology, Middle School Students
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Chin, Doris B.; Blair, Kristen P.; Wolf, Rachel C.; Conlin, Luke D.; Cutumisu, Maria; Pfaffman, Jay; Schwartz, Daniel L. – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2019
Educators aim to equip students with learning strategies they can apply when approaching new problems on their own. Teaching design-thinking strategies may support this goal. A first test would show that the strategies are good for learning and that students spontaneously transfer them beyond classroom instruction. To examine this, we introduce…
Descriptors: Problem Solving, Learning Strategies, Teaching Methods, Design
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Sullivan, Florence R.; Wilson, Nicholas C. – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2015
This case study examines the role of playful talk in negotiating the "how" of collaborative group work in a 6th-grade science classroom. Here we develop and test a Vygotsky-derived hypothesis that postulates playful talk as a mechanism for identity exploration and group status negotiation. Our findings indicate that students utilized the…
Descriptors: Case Studies, Cooperative Learning, Grade 6, Science Instruction
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Abrahamson, Dor – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2012
Some intensive quantities, such as slope, velocity, or likelihood, are perceptually privileged in the sense that they are experienced as holistic, irreducible sensations. However, the formal expression of these quantities uses "a/b" analytic metrics; for example, the slope of a line is the quotient of its rise and run. Thus, whereas students'…
Descriptors: Teaching Methods, Mathematics Instruction, Middle School Students, Thinking Skills
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Roschelle, Jeremy; Bakia, Marianne; Toyama, Yukie; Patton, Charles – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2011
Linking research to a compelling societal interest can build financial commitments to research, bring increased attention to findings, and grow support for scaling up impacts. Among many compelling societal interests that learning scientists can cite--such as increasing the quality of life, preparing citizens to make decisions in a complex world,…
Descriptors: Educational Research, Relationship, Economic Progress, Quality of Life
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Penuel, William R.; Gallagher, Lawrence P. – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2009
This study compared the efficacy of 3 approaches to professional development in middle school Earth science organized around the principles of Understanding by Design (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998) in a sample of 53 teachers from a large urban district. Teachers were randomly assigned to a control group or to 1 of 3 conditions that varied with…
Descriptors: Units of Study, Earth Science, Faculty Development, Teacher Competencies
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Ford, Michael J. – Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2005
Descriptions of disciplinary practices can suggest visions of authentic classroom activities. Designing activities that are effective, however, requires an additional framework for identifying a discipline's generative resources -- that is, those learning targets that enable students to make disciplinary sense and progress in subsequent…
Descriptors: Learning Activities, Experiments, Class Activities, Activity Units