Friday, November 9, 2012

Week 12

Topic: 6th Grade Science- The Scientific Method
Item sampler:

The scientific method is used all throughout schooling and later into life. It is an important skill to have and know how to use. Based on the blueprint of my topic, I would create an exam that assesses the students knowledge of what the scientific method is, what the steps are, and how it is useful. It provides the instructor with an idea of what the students know about the scientific method. On the item samplers, the questions are fair and reliable. They give room for the student to construct a response and explain their thinking. The questions also are not worded to sway the student one way or another in their thinking; this gives room for more accurate results as to where the student stands. These types of questions should not sway student performance. However, I believe giving this test as a part of, say, the ISTEP would influence student performance in a negative way. In seeing these item samplers, an instructor might tend to teach to the test, which could have a great influence on student motivation. When the teacher begins to teach to the test, students can often feel rushed or pressured. Also, the teachers then just teach the material the fast way instead of maybe taking the longer route where students will actually understand it. This kind of testing pushes students away from intrinsic motivation.

Extra Credit:
1. What does it take to bring a child back to intrinsic motivation after they do not feel intrinsically motivated anymore?
2. My youngest sister (age 13) kind of hit a point like this in science class this year. She did not see the point in knowing the material she was being taught. She knew it for the test and then forgot about it after that. I tried to help her (over the phone, not as effective) by seeing how she could somehow apply it to her life and what she might want to do with her future.
3. I am not sure if my attempt was all that successful or not. Science is not a subject that she particularly likes, which makes motivating her much more difficult.  However, I think she is at least trying to put forth more of an effort to engage herself in the material.


  1. Since you say that this exam would give the instructor a way to learn what the students understand about the scientific method, would you give this exam as a pre-test before you start the unit, or give the test after the unite so the instructor can know whether or not the students truly learned the information? I think either could work, or you could do both and give the test twice so the instructor could tell how much the students had improved.

    I do agree with you on the fact that by teaching towards a test, students can become complacent and lose their intrinsic motivation. However, teaching towards the test may work on a students extrinsic motivation, because they want to get the good score on the ISTEP. If a teacher really worked with the students, I think that they would be able to get the students intrinsically and extrinsically motivated on the subject, even if it will be on the ISTEP.

  2. Kathryn,

    Apologies for missing your question on intrinsic motivation. I think as you have tried with your sister, a great way to engage her again when you go back home is to work on science activities with her. I don't mean making it school-like, there is a lot of science in the everyday world and piquing her curiosity about how things work may involve her. From a sociocultural perspective, a teacher could engage students by asking them about what they think scientists do. Often, what is taught in schools is not how science is being practiced at all! Making that connection might make science more interesting thereby possibly increasing her motivation. The trick is to find out what students like and enjoy.

    Megan was unable to post her critique but she had a good comment that could be invaluable:

    When students are no longer intrinsically motivated in a concept or idea, teachers need to bring back that idea in a new light. For example, if they’re no longer interested in the subject, teachers need to take a step back and then introduce the subject in a new way or maybe teaching it in a different style. I also think that participation is something that definitely gets students more motivated. Therefore, teachers could teach the lesson involving a lot of cooperation and participation to keep the students focused and on track

    With your sister, I think you actually did a good job. Applying the concept to something that you do every day will make students think about the idea more and be able to understand it more clearly, if it involved something that they are used to.


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