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RiSE Center Colloquium, Monday, October 3, 2011

September 26th, 2011

Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center)
University of Maine, Orono, Maine


Jonathan T. Shemwell
Assistant Professor of Science Education, College of Education and Human Development
University of Maine

Monday, October 3, 2011
3:00 p.m.
165 Barrows Hall, Arthur St. John Hill Auditorium

“Learning scientific/mathematical principles with contrasting cases: Key ingredients of effective contrast-focused instruction”

The purpose of this study is to identify instructional methods that may be effective for teaching deep understanding of STEM principles. The study examines several variants of an Inventing-with-Contrasting-Cases (ICC) instructional model in science learning. In two experiments, university students who learned via ICC methods using an interactive simulation gained a better understanding of the deep structure of a physics principle than those who learned via a predict-observe-explain method using the same simulation. The contributions of two instructional components of ICC were further investigated: (1) presenting students with cases selected to highlight critical deep features of the underlying structure, and (2) prompting students for a single, general explanation applicable to all the cases.  Initial findings suggest that both components are needed to produce robust learning.

Refreshments will be served in the ESRB Lobby at 2:45 pm

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