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Changing epistemology of science learning through inquiry with computer-supported collaborative learning.

 There have been increasing efforts among science educators to
 move students away from learning about science towards
 learning to be scientists. To move in this direction, there
 is a need to change the epistemology of the learning of
 science from instructivism to one of social constructivist
 learning. The purpose of this research is to investigate
 whether the epistemology of science learning in schools can
 be geared towards the direction of collaborative learning
 through scientific inquiry. Research participants were a
 group of students in Singapore who used computer-supported
 collaborative learning (CSCL). Thirteen Secondary One
 students from a top-band school in Singapore participated in
 the science research course during which Knowledge Forum was
 used to support online discussions for the investigative
 activities. The Test for Integrated Process Skills II was
 administered before and after the study to compare the
 students' scientific inquiry abilities. Other qualitative
 measures such as surveys and post-course activities were used
 to derive possible reasons that might have led to the
 observed outcomes.


INTRODUCTION

The traditional teaching of science often involves the development of technical skills that keep learners "on task," creating a teacher-centered classroom for the transmission of the teacher's expert knowledge to the passive-absorbing learners (Lanier & Little, 1986). The emphasis on such acquisition of scientific knowledge results in students learning facts, rules, and principles to solve simple and well-structured problems. Students taught this way might not necessarily acquire the ability to think scientifically or be able to apply scientific concepts meaningfully to solve problems in their daily lives. On the other hand, while practical work in laboratory sessions may provide them with opportunities to think, discuss, and solve science problems, the unfortunate but typical situation in many schools is that students learn science using the teacher's or guidebook's step-by-step instructions to reproduce expected results. Although this approach may not effectively foster scientific inquiry skills, it is a common practice because it is efficient in getting a large group of students to try out standard procedures in performing certain experiments. In addition, it is the way students are assessed in examinations for practical work in science.

In view of the above limitations, efforts are now being made by science educators to move students away from solving structured textbook problems. Science can be regarded as both the process of exploring, expressing, explaining, and testing the patterns and order of the phenomena in the natural world as well as the product (scientific knowledge) of this process (Carin & Bass, 1997, pp. 19-20). In order to educate students in the use of this process, there is a need to first acquaint them with scientific inquiry skills, authentic to that of science practitioners. In other words, science education should be fundamentally about interacting with or in the world in informed, reflective, critical, and agentive ways (Rodriguez, 1998) in order to construct knowledge. Such an education requires a fundamental cultural change in the epistemology of science learning in schools.

The purpose of this paper is to present and discuss a research study on changing the epistemology of science learning through fostering scientific inquiry skills among a group of students in Singapore using computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), in this case, Knowledge Forum.

FOSTERING SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY SKILLS AMONG K-12 STUDENTS

To achieve meaningful learning, there is a need for authentic science learning to reflect the practices of the field--the inquiry process that scientists use in knowledge building--together with the disciplinary practice and communication patterns. Scientific inquiry is defined as a systematic and investigative activity that scientists employ in an attempt to provide an explanation of the natural world and to uncover and describe relationships between objects and events based on the evidence they collected (Peterson, 1978, National Research Council, 1996, Germann, Haskins, & Auls, 1996). The means used to develop these ideas are the particular ways of observing, thinking, experimenting, and validating (Rutherford & Ahlgren, 1990).

In the same vein, students build their scientific understanding and investigative skills through active inquiry, connecting previous knowledge with new information and ideas. It includes acquiring process skills in science such as formulating hypotheses, as well as operationally defining, controlling, and manipulating variables (Burns, Okey, & Wise, 1985), classifying and inferring (Trowbridge & Bybee, 1990), coordinating theories and evidence (Kuhn, Amsel, & O'Loughlin, 1988), and testing and re-evaluating hypotheses and theories (Popper, 1959). Other psychomotor skills to be acquired include using apparatus and equipment to make measurements. In essence, the teaching and learning of science should contain elements of action and change, and students should be viewed as users and producers of science (Fusco & Barton, 2001; Barab & Hay, 2001).

To change the way science is being taught in schools requires an epistemic cultural change in schools, one involving a new culture of learning where students are engaged in practices that are similar to those of scientists. This requires students asking questions, planning and conducting investigations, collecting data, analyzing data, constructing explanations with research, and communicating their findings to others. Students should experience science in a form that engages them in the active construction of ideas and explanations.

Matyas (2000) offered some suggestions for teachers who want to move towards such inquiry-based teaching in science. It includes allowing students to use existing practical laboratory lessons to generate questions for the learning of scientific methods that they could use later in the course of their own investigations. Discussions from such practical exercises allow students to generate questions and make predictions on what they expect to observe, interpret findings, and determine if more information is required to help with the interpretation of their observations. This process is known as the Learning Cycle and it has five stages, namely Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. The learning cycle has helped to balance and enhance both the understanding of concepts and the development of process skills, hence giving equal emphasis to both the learning process and knowledge acquisition.

On the other hand, White & Frederiksen (2000) hypothesized that in order to make scientific inquiry accessible to all students, focus should be on the development of metacognitive expertise. They thus created the Thinker-Tools Inquiry curriculum in which students construct and revise theories of force and motion in the learning of science. The curriculum begins by introducing students to a metacognitive model of research, called The Inquiry Cycle, and a metacognitive process, called Reflective Assessment, in which they reflect on their inquiry.

TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTING SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY

While there may be precedence for embarking on scientific inquiry in schools, implementing and facilitating the process can be a daunting task. Issues to consider are wide-ranging and include changes in curriculum, emulation of scientific discourse patterns, administrative support required for the tracking and organization of discourses, scaffolding through the inquiry process, and the provision of information or experts in the real world, among others.

It is in this context that Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) technology was considered as a potential platform to support the process of collaborative investigative discussions. CSCL can be an ideal platform for enabling students to engage in collaborative work and discussion, providing a record of the development of ideas, and a way of tracking students' contributions for assessment purposes. In addition to providing a computer-mediated communication platform, it can model expert thinking and support the processes of scientific inquiry. For instance, a group of students investigating new applications of some enzymatic actions can use CSCL to brainstorm ideas, propose hypotheses, challenge each other's ideas, and reflect upon their learning. Among the few CSCL tools available in the market, Knowledge Forum (Scardamalia, 2004; Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1998) was selected for this study because of its strong research backing. In addition, it also supports a graphical interface and customizable scaffolding.

Among its many features, Knowledge Forum provides an environment that has the following features (see Figure 1):

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

* Graphical representation of learners' notes: Learners can post, reflect, link, relate, and question ideas that they or their fellow learners post, thus making the knowledge-construction process overt and traceable.

* Communal database: It facilitates revisiting of notes by storing contributions in a common database that is accessible by learners using networked computers.

* Inter-subjectivity: Learners can build on each other's ideas as well as comment, organize, annotate, and connect associated notes. It exposes them to different perspectives and often leads to the construction of better ideas and concepts.

* Customizable scaffolding: Bruner, Wood, & Ross (1976) originally coined the term "scaffolding" as a metaphor to describe the effective support by a peer, adult, or competent person in the learning of another person. Knowledge Forum provides customizable support for discussion. For instance, in solving a problem, a student may be asked to pose notes using the following labels: "My theory," "I need to understand," "My theory doesn't explain," or "A better theory."

* Source referencing: It automatically creates source referencing when a student copies a note, thus crediting the contributor and providing a historical trace of the development of an idea. It helps to encourage students to change from the "copy-and-paste" strategy to a "reference-and-contribute" strategy.

SCIENCE RESEARCH COURSE WITH CSCL

The mainstream epistemology of science learning in local schools is not in the constructivism paradigm and the notion of collaborative inquiry can be foreign to our students. As such, a framework (Figure 2) that helps students to transit from a guided-inquiry approach to one of open-inquiry using Knowledge Forum is developed. This framework, starting with a guided inquiry phase, is preferred because it assists students in learning skills, such as observation, inference, and experimentation, which will help them in the open-inquiry process. Our hypothesis is that the heuristics developed by the students in this process will enhance their scientific inquiry skills and affect their perception of the learning of science.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

The design of the course is structured such that students must, in the guided- inquiry phase, first perform an experiment as determined by the teacher. Under the guidance of the teacher, they have to record and explain their observations as well as answer some questions. Using Knowledge Forum, which is the open-inquiry phase, they then gather and analyze data using the skills they acquired in the guided-inquiry phase, and develop theories to explain observations through research and discussions with their peers before drawing a conclusion. Finally, they propose additional questions for further exploration.

Collaborative learning involves the mutual engagement of learners in a coordinated effort to solve a problem or acquire new knowledge together (Lehtinen, Hamalainen, & Malkonen, 1998). As such, collaborative learning is a method that is in line with the new conceptions of learning and opposed to the traditional "direct transmission" model in which learners are assumed to be passive, receptive, and isolated receivers of knowledge and skills delivered by an external source (De Corte, Greer, & Verschaffel, 1996). CSCL will serve as a complementary tool to achieve the goal of learning science using the inquiry approach as it facilities discussions among students and aids the formulation of theories to explain the observations they made in the experiments.

Research Questions

This is an exploratory study that aims to investigate how the Science Research course, designed with the inquiry-learning approach and complemented by the computer-supported collaborative learning environment, helps to develop students' abilities to think and act in ways associated with inquiry. This study is designed to investigate the following questions:

a) Does the Science Research course, complemented by the computer-supported collaborative learning tool, enhance students' scientific-inquiry skills and how?

b) Does the Science Research course, complemented by the computer-supported collaborative learning tool, change students' perceptions of science?

c) Are students able to transfer the scientific-inquiry skills to the solving of daily life problems?

d) How do students perceive Knowledge Forum as an online platform for collaborative inquiry?

METHOD

Subjects

The study was conducted in a secondary school (grades 7 to 10) in Singapore that has been consistently ranked among the top 10 schools in the past few years based on students' performance in GCE 'O' level examinations. The school has a tradition of excellence in science, as demonstrated by its challenging curricular and co-curricular science-based programs, the students' strong academic performance, and their achievements in various zonal and national competitions. The subjects of the study consist of 13 secondary one students (grade 7) who opted to attend the Science Research course, which was offered outside of curriculum time.

Implementation of the Science Research Course

The study, which was conducted during a 10-week school term, had the following goals:

* Develop students' abilities in the explanation of phenomena in a continuing, creative process. The means of so doing include elaboration on basic scientific and personal explanations of phenomena and the development of visual models and mathematical formulations to represent their thinking. Other means of representing and organizing observations include the use of diagrams, tables, and charts to interpret data.

* Develop students' reasoning abilities through library research and discussion with others, including their peers or experts.

* Develop students' process skills because they would be able to test their proposed explanations and concepts using planned laboratory procedures, and collection and analysis of data and information. They may devise ways of making observations to test proposed explanations. Based on the results of the test and discussion, students could revise their explanations and explore possibilities of additional testing and experimentation that might be required.

* Develop students' report-writing skills because they would eventually be required to write a report for submission and to use presentation tools to present their findings to an audience.

In each of the science research sessions, investigative activities focusing on certain process skills were carried out under the guidance of a teacher. The students were given a laboratory workbook that provided instructions and guiding questions. For example, in the activity, Mysterious Journeys in the Life of a Raisin, the students were asked to mix water, baking soda, raisins, and vinegar in a beaker. Bubbles were formed and the raisins were found to float and sink several times. Following instructions in the workbook, they recorded their observations in text and in drawing, and answered questions that guided them in explaining the phenomenon. In the Candle Activity, the students were asked to make qualitative and quantitative measurements of a small candle before, during, and after it had burned for 2 minutes. The students chose the types of measurements to perform and recorded their observations.

Procedure

Students in the class were randomly selected to form three groups with each group having three to four members. Before the Science Research course, a pre-test was administered to all students using the Integrated Process Skills II (Tobin & Capie, 1982). Training sessions on the use of Knowledge Forum were also conducted in this study.

The students performed three main activities: The mysterious journeys in the life of a raisin, the observation lab, and the candle activity. Prior to the final submission of their worksheets, they used Knowledge Forum for discussions for the first and the third activities. Due to time constraints, online discussion was not conducted for the second activity.

After the first 8 weeks of the course, a post-test on the Integrated Process Skills II was administered to all students and the postings on the Knowledge Forum were classified and analyzed.

Instruments and Measures Used

To measure and compare the students' scientific inquiry skills, the Test for Integrated Process Skills II (Tobin & Capie, 1982) was administered before and after the Science Research course. The test consisted of 36 four-option, multiple-choice questions, which could be grouped into five categories of process skills, namely, identifying variables, operationally defining variables, stating hypotheses, graphing and interpreting data, and designing investigation.

A sample question on stating a hypothesis is as follows:
 A class is studying the speed of objects as they fall to the
 earth. The students designed an investigation where bags of
 gravel weighing different amounts will be dropped from the same
 height. In their investigation, which of the following is the
 hypothesis they would test about the speed of objects falling to
 earth?

 A. An object will fall faster when it is dropped further.
 B. The higher an object is in air, the faster it will fall.
 C. The larger the pieces of gravel in a bag, the faster it will
 fall.
 D. The heavier an object, the faster it will fall to the ground.


RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In the following section, the results of the study according to the three research questions will be presented.

Research question 1:

Does the Science Research course, complemented with the computer-supported collaborative learning tool, enhance students' scientific inquiry skills and how?

Test on Integrated Process Skills II Results

Table 1 shows the pre- and post-test results for five component process skills and the overall test results.

The results show that the students had high initial scores. This was not surprising as students who were qualified to study in this school were among the academic high- achievers. Still, the results were encouraging. There was significant improvement in the post-test in comparison to the pre-test scores in identifying variables (t=2.478, p=.029), stating hypotheses (t=2.280, p=.046), and in the overall scores (t=2.878, p=.014). These two skills were included in the course objectives, whereas operation definition of the variables, graphing and interpreting data, and designing investigation were skills not covered during this period of research. Thus, the results were an indication of the effectiveness of the course.

Evidence From Knowledge Forum Discourse on Students' Scientific Inquiry Skills

An analysis of the students' participation in Knowledge Forum indicated active participation, with 125 notes created and 368 notes read. Notably, the students demonstrated the cognitive development of scientific thinking skills by going beyond the description of their hypotheses. Besides being able to formulate hypotheses, the evidence collected showed that they were able to refine or elaborate upon their hypotheses through various means such as:

* Reasoning based on prior knowledge (Table 2)

* Elaboration of hypotheses through knowledge-sharing (Table 3)

These skills are consistent with the scientific inquiry that scientists display until a theory-predicted result is obtained (Kuhn, Amsel, & O'Loughlin, 1988).

The discourse patterns were triangulated with the use of scaffolds in Knowledge Forum (see Table 4).

The use of scaffolds shows that the students put into practice what they have learned in the Science Research course, particularly in proposing hypotheses and identifying variables. The highest number of scaffolds used related to hypotheses and variables. This is consistent with the results of the TIPS test that show significant improvement in these two skills.

Research question 2:

Does the Science Research course, complemented with the computer-supported collaborative learning tool, change students' perceptions of science?

To understand how the use of Knowledge Forum could have affected the learning of science, a survey was conducted to examine students' views on science and their reaction to collaborative discussion through Knowledge Forum. In the pre-survey, the following open-ended questions were asked:

1. What do you think science is?

2. How do you learn science?

3. Do you think your way of learning science is effective? Why or why not?

In the post-survey, the same questions were asked, with an additional question: "In what way have you benefited from online discussions using Knowledge Forum?"

Students'Views on Science

In the pre-survey, students showed they were already able to explain science in a view consistent with the experts, because it is a study of objects in the environment and their effect on us, and it involves a systematic process of inquiry that aims to solve problems. The students' views on science were similar in the post-survey results.

In regard to the learning of science, some common themes were identified. In general, the students stated that they had learned about:

* Scientific facts or theories through reading or science lessons;

* Science by asking question or testing hypotheses;

* Science through observation;

* Science by doing experiments; and

* Science by memorization.

When asked about their ways of learning science, some general trends were evident.

* The students regarded the experts (teachers or other sources) as the source of knowledge. Many of them learned science by reading, attending lessons in schools, or from other sources such as the Internet or television.

* There was an increase in the variety of scientific inquiry skills, typically from their observations through experiments in the pre-survey to other forms of inquiry in the post-survey. For example, a student wrote in the post-survey, "I learn science by using my five senses, observing carefully, measuring accurately, comparing, classifying, inferring, predicting, by learning from previous errors, and by listening to the teacher."

* Study techniques show another interesting trend. The majority mentioned memorization as a technique in the pre-survey but adopted an inquiry approach in the post-survey. The following two students best represent this change:
 Student 1:

 Pre-survey: "I learn science by knowing them as a group. I
 classify them in my notes and memorize those important
 points."
 Post-survey: "I understand science and try not memorize
 facts."

 Student 2:

 Pre-survey: "No. There are lots of science laws that I know
 but I have never done experiment to prove that it is true."
 Post-survey: "Yes. Learning science is not just about
 studying from the textbook, we should also do research and
 some simple experiment so as to make yourself convince that
 things work that way. The curiosity to find out certain
 things should also be there."


Research Question 3:

Are students able to transfer the scientific inquiry skills to solving daily life problems?

In the final face-to-face session, the students were divided into three groups and were given a task of selecting an everyday problem and designing a scientific investigation for it. The purpose was to assess their ability to transfer learning to a daily problem.

Observations of the group discussion showed that, in general, the students were able to apply what they had learned in the research class, complemented with Knowledge Forum. They needed a brief reminder of the meaning of independent and dependent variables but were able to apply the concept appropriately to design the investigative tasks. The groups were rather spontaneous in arriving at the list of daily problems they wanted to investigate. Some examples are:

* How conditions will keep one awake during class?

* What causes teenagers to smoke?

* Why is it hard to erase dried marker's ink on whiteboard?

* How do hawkers keep their food warm?

Each group eventually selected one problem for which they would design their investigation. Table 5 summarizes the groups' presentations.

Given that the students had about 60 minutes for discussion, they realized they could not find the perfect solution. During the presentation, other group members were quick to point out the shortcomings of the design of the group presenting. For example, in Group 1, the students questioned about ensuring the equivalent degree of tiredness and the operational measure of the amount of interest in a subject. Group 2 received questions about ensuring the same amount of force in shaking the plate and objectively measuring the time for the wobbling to stop.

In general, the activity showed the following.

1. The students were able to identify interesting problems related to their daily life for investigation

2. They were able to make sensible hypotheses by identifying possible variables.

3. They could identify independent variables, dependent variables, and the constant.

4. They understood the process of measuring the effect of an independent variable while keeping other variables constant.

5. However, they were relatively weak in operationally defining the variables.

Students' Reactions to Knowledge Forum

Knowledge Forum is a platform that enables the publicizing of ideas to achieve inter-subjectivity among learners. The students felt they were able to voice their ideas and hypotheses. Not only did it save time by using online discussions instead of face-to-face meetings, the students also reported that it was a good medium to allow them to learn from their peers--they had opportunities to offer their hypotheses and subject them to critique by their peers, and they could "debate with friends to clear doubts on things like our hypothesis." They felt that they liked the exploration and the inquiry process, and benefited much from their friends who "passed on their knowledge through the discussion."

The value of scaffolds in Knowledge Forum in shaping scientific thinking and discourse was well appreciated. One student wrote, " ... the Knowledge Forum has enabled me to speak of my ideas in more scientific way using the scaffold." Another felt that she had learned "to discuss scientific experiments online in a specific, scientific manner and to phrase certain explanations clearly so as to enable people who are reading it to understand." Yet another wrote, "I learnt a lot and learnt how to express my thoughts into sentences and make people understand. I also learnt to stimulate my mind to think of any loopholes in one's remark."

When asked whether they liked the experience of online discussion, the students were divided in their opinions. About half of the class like the experience for (a) saving time and reducing the logistics of planning face-to-face meetings, and (b) prompting them to think and exposing them to each other's perspectives and opinions. For those who indicated that they did not really like the experience, the main reasons were their disappointment in their peers for not actively participating in discussions and their frustration with nonsensical comments and questions. The value of collaborative discussion is lost if the members do not participate. As one student put it, "I like the idea of discussing such things online but other people in the class do not seem really interested and do not go to the Knowledge Forum often when they are free. Without people to discuss with, I feel that it is a little meaningless to go online to the Knowledge Forum." A couple of students may have regarded it as a synchronous discussion forum, perhaps due to the influence of the Internet-relay chat culture that is popular among youngsters. A few preferred to have more prompt replies from their peers and they found discussion difficult if they could not figure out when their classmates would be online and because it took some time to get responses to their ideas.

CONCLUSIONS

In the learning of science, educators have advocated adopting the epistemology of constructivist knowledge sharing and emphasizing the acquisition of scientific thinking and scientific inquiry skills as the means to achieving the goal. Our efforts in the Science Research course serve as an initial effort in establishing the viability of this approach.

The study set out to investigate the effects of the inquiry approach complemented with CSCL on students' learning of science, their perception of science, and their ability to transfer the learning to solve everyday problems. Our results show significant improvement from pre- to post-test in students' overall scores as well as scores for two sub-skills: identifying variables and stating hypothesis. The results were consistent with the findings from instructional trials of the ThinkerTools Inquiry curriculum carried out with seventh, eighth, and ninth grade science classrooms in middle schools in Berkeley and Oakland (White & Frederiksen, 1998) in which physical theories were not directly taught but constructed by students themselves. Significant pre-test to post-test gains were found among this group of students in comparison to those who were taught using traditional approaches.

Our survey also shows beginning indications of changes in students' perceptions towards the learning of science. Comparing post-survey to pre-survey results, more students indicated asking questions and testing hypotheses as their way of learning science, and fewer students indicated memorization as a means to study science. There was also an indication that the students became more confident in their ways of learning science after the course.

To better understand how a computer-supported collaborative learning environment helps students to acquire scientific inquiry skills, this study complemented the laboratory inquiry sessions with online discussions using Knowledge Forum, a CSCL tool, for two of the activities. An analysis of online discussions showed that students frequently used scaffolds related to identifying variables and stating hypotheses to extend their discussions on related scientific phenomena. Some students indicated explicitly in the survey that the scaffolds in Knowledge Forum helped them to think scientifically and compelled them to express their ideas clearly in order to communicate with their peers. The online discussion forum also provided opportunities for students to achieve inter-subjectivity among themselves, allowing them to socially construct knowledge that led to the advancement of ideas. The unique situation in our case is that the problems identified for investigation were initiated by teachers instead of the students. In our local context, a guided inquiry approach will serve as the scaffold towards student-centered open inquiry.

The main limitation of this case study is that it involved a relatively small sample size. Future studies involving greater numbers of students and statistical comparisons will provide stronger evidence for the verification of the results. In addition, a short study period is unlikely to result in epistemology change. In this study, beginning indications of the changes in students' perceptions about science and the learning of science were examined. In future studies, a prolonged study period will be used and changes in students' epistemology will be investigated with more extensive interviews and observations.
Table 1

Results of Test on Integrated Process Skills II

 Mean Score (Std Dev)

 Identifying Operationally Stating Graphing
 variables defining hypotheses and
 (12 points) varibles (9 points) interpreting
 (6 points) data (6 points)

Pre-test 9.08 5.46 7.46 5.46
 (2.29) (.78) (1.76) (.66)

Post-test 10.77 * 5.46 8.46 5.62
 (1.17) (.66) (.78) * (.51)

 Mean Score (Std Dev)

 Designing Overall
 investigation (36
 (3 points) points)

Pre-test 2.85 30.3
 (.38) (3.90)

Post-test 2.92 33.2 *
 (.28) (2.09)

Table 2

Reasoning Based on Prior Knowledge

 Group 4 Candle Notes--on whether candle flame has mass

In this thread, the two 37 Flame mass by JM [2003, July 30]
students were still I infer that flame does not have
exploring within the mass.
hypothesis space. They
were arguing with each 38 Flame mass by JM [2003, July 30]
other over differing I will test my hypothesis by finding
viewpoints of their out whether flame occupies spaces and
hypotheses. Most of the whether flame has weight. It is the way
support for their to find out whether flame is a matter.
hypotheses was based on Thus, if it is not a matter, it will
their personal conception not have weight.
of the issue. They had,
however, displayed an 39 Flame has mass by JL [2003, July 30]
exploration of ideas My hypothesis is the flame is the
through negotiating for a result of oxygen, wax, and heat. As in
more "correct" hypothesis a Bunsen burner, the burnt and unburnt
using their own personal gas takes up space, so will the burnt
knowledge. and unburnt wax vapor.

 40 What is flame by JM [2003, July 30]
 My hypothesis is flame is something
 produced when oxygen interacts with
 fuel. It is not something that is MADE
 UP OF heat, oxygen, and wax!

 41 Fuel & oxygen by JL [2003, July 30]
 My hypothesis is fuel and oxygen when
 mixed together will not cause a flame.
 There has to be a spark to start it off
 or another flame to cause the fuel to
 burn.

Table 3

Elaboration of Hypotheses Through Knowledge-Sharing

 Group 3 Raisin Notes--Elaboration of hypothesis
 suggested through knowledge- sharing.

Elaboration of Why do you think the raisins jumped up and
hypothesis to make it down? by LY [2003, August 16]
more complete as each My hypothesis is the vinegar and baking soda
student contributed produced carbon dioxide, which "lift" the
to elaborate on the raisins.
hypothesis, forming a
sequence of partially "Sinking" by RA [2003, August 16]
correct theories. The bubbles, which "carried" the raisins up,
 burst upon reaching the surface.

 Why did the bubbles burst? by SC [2003,
 August 16]
 Why did the bubble burst before reaching the
 surface?

 Maybe by JA [2003, August 16]
 My hypothesis is that the bubbles became
 bigger and bigger, hence, they burst when it
 was the biggest?

 ya, maybe by JA [2003, August 16]
 This hypothesis is based on Rachel could be
 right. Then, like this the raisins became light
 and floated up.

 Become light? by LY [2003, August 16]
 u mean the bubble lifted it up.

 ya by JA [2003, August 16]
 My hypothesis is ya that is what I think.

 Umm ... by EV [2003, August 16]
 Maybe, the bubbles on the raisins were just
 enough to support the raisins but if a few
 burst, the raisin will sink?

Table 4

Frequency of Use of Scaffolds in Knowledge Forum

Scaffolds used Raisin Candle Total

My hypothesis is 49 22 71
This hypothesis is based on 12 6 18
I will test my hypothesis by 6 8 14
The independent variable is 0 37 37
The dependent variable is 0 0 0
The controlled variable is 0 0 0
The variable can be measured by 1 0 1
I observe that 3 1 4
My measurement shows 0 0 0
I infer that 3 0 3
My hypothesis is supported by 1 0 1
My hypothesis isn't supported by 0 0 0
A better hypothesis is 1 0 1

Table 5

Summary of Groups' Presentations

 Group 1 Group 2 Group 3

Problem What conditions How can one make How do hawkers
 will keep one awake jelly that is keep their food
 in class? bouncy? warm?

Hypotheses (1) One who is The greater the Amount of heat
 interested in a amount of water (generated by
 particular subject used, the spot lights) and
 will keep himself bouncier the the distance
 awake no matter how jelly. between the food
 tired he is. and the light
 (2) One who is in a affect the
 warmer environment temperature of
 will keep himself the food.
 awake.

Independent (1) Amount of Amount of water (1) Amount of heat
variables interest in subject (2) Distance
 (2) Level of between the food
 tiredness and the light
 (3) Room
 temperature

Dependent Rate of sleeping Degree of Temperature of
variables bounciness the food

Constant Profile of students (1) Amount of (1) Amount of
 gelatin food
 (2) Temperature (2) Type/size/
 of water material of tray
 (3) Amount of used
 sugar (3) Original
 (4) Shape and temperature of
 size of mould food

Outline of Get students who (1) Make jelly, (1) Use 3
investigation are very tired using 50 g of identical trays
procedure (after physical gelatin, mixed of the same
 training), put them with 100 ml of material and size.
 in rooms with water and 25g of (2) Put same type
 different sugar, at of food of the
 temperatures, and 80[degrees]C. same weight with
 measure who sleeps (2) Mix them the same
 first. well and pour it temperature
 into a mould to into the trays.
 let it cool. (3) Test one
 (3) Remove jelly variable at a
 from mould and time: change the
 put it onto a amount of heat,
 plate and shake change the
 it with same distance between
 amount of force. the food and the
 (4) Time how light.
 long the jelly (4) Keep the other
 continues to variable constant.
 wobble. (5) Measure the
 (5) Repeat the temperature of
 steps with 50ml, the food at 15
 75 ml, 125ml, min. intervals.
 and 150 ml of
 water.


Note

This study was a research project sponsored by the Education Research Grant from the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

References

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SENG CHEE TAN, AI CHOO JENNIFER YEO, AND WEI YING LIM

Nanyang Technological University

Singapore

sctan@nie.edu.sg

jnf9@hotmail.com

wylim@nie.edu.sg
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Author:Lim, Wei Ying
Publication:Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2005
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