Developing Scientific Reasoning Skills (Jan 29)

Teresa Burns
Monday, January 29, 2018
12:00 noon
INSCC 110 (Auditorium)
Light lunch served at 11:30 in the INSCC Lobby


PHYS 103 at Coastal Carolina University is a physical science course for non-science majors that can be used to satisfy general education requirements and is a physical science choice for elementary education majors.  For both of these populations, improvement in scientific reasoning is a critical learning outcome.  In this course, students are trained to construct scientific arguments using If-And-Then statements, which is a particular logical structure that mirrors the kind of thinking a scientist may employ when making or defending a scientific argument.  The If-And-Then statements are constructed from observations made during in-class activities and from readings about scientific outcomes, and the structure is reinforced in class through peer-instruction type questions, and throughout lecture.  Student performance on the Lawson Classroom Test of Scientific Reasoning was measured pre- and post-instruction, and was compared to a course section that received no formal reasoning instruction; students demonstrated improved scientific reasoning compared to the control class.  Example If-And-Then statements will be presented and the results of additional attempts to teach scientific reasoning will be discussed.