HR: 1340h
AN: ED23A-1236    [Abstracts]
TI: Using Teacher-Generated Ecological Models to Assess Knowledge Gained During Teacher Training
AU: * Dresner, M
AF: Portland State University Center for Science Education, PO Box 751, Portland, OR 97207 United States
AU: Moldenke, A
AF: Oregon State University, Dept. of Botany & Plant Pathology Cordley, Rm. 2064 Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331 United States
AB: Developing a capacity for systems thinking (ways to understand complex systems) requires both immersion in challenging, real-world problem contexts and exposure to systems analysis language, tools and procedures, such as ecosystem modeling. Modeling is useful as a means of conveying complex, dynamic interactions. Models of ecosystems can facilitate an ability to be attentive to whole systems by illustrating multiple factors of interaction, feedback, subsystems and inputs and outputs, which lead to a greater understanding of ecosystem functioning. Concept mapping, which uses models of students' ideas organized hierarchically is used in assessment, but it does not having any outside utility. Ecosystem models, on the other hand, are legitimate end-products in and of themselves. A change made in a learner-generated model that conforms to patterns observed in nature by the learner can be seen as reflections of his or her understanding. Starting with their own reflections on previous ecological knowledge, teachers will model components of the ecosystem they are about to study. 'Teaching models' will be used to familiarize learners with the symbolic language of models and to teach some basic ecology concepts. Teachers then work directly with ecologists in conducting research, using the steps of a straightforward study as a guide, and then observe and discuss patterns in the data they have collected. Higher-order thinking skills are practiced through the reflective use of ecological models. Through a series of questions including analysis, relational reasoning, synthesis, testing, and explaining, pairs of teacher describe the principles and theories about ecology that they think might be operating in their models to one another. They describe the consequences of human-caused impacts and possible causal patterns. They explain any differences in their understanding of ecosystem interactions before and after their research experiences
DE: 0830 Teacher training
DE: 0840 Evaluation and assessment
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: Fall Meeting 2005