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Students' Use of Science Concepts in Generating Scientific Explanations

Sun, April 19, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Virtual Room


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize two central practices - constructing scientific explanations and arguing from evidence. Science concepts are critical to such practices; they connect claims and evidence. Written explanations about ecological phenomena were collected from 230 middle school students, who studied an NGSS-designed curriculum. They were analyzed qualitatively to understand which concepts students leveraged in service of their explanations. The quantitative analysis highlights how scientific concepts affected students’ reasoning and whether the curriculum improved their performance. Results showed that students’ performance improved, on average, between the first and second modules of the curriculum. This work provides insights about how students use scientific concepts in their explanations and implications for NGSS-aligned curriculum and assessment development and professional learning.