The Nature of Third Grade Student Experiences with Concept Maps to Support Learning of Science Concepts

The Nature of Third Grade Student Experiences with Concept Maps to Support Learning of Science Concepts

Margaret L. Merrill (Educational Consultant, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5816-5.ch001
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Abstract

To support effective science teaching, educators need methods to reveal student understandings and misconceptions of science concepts and to offer all students an opportunity to reflect on their own knowledge construction and organization. Students can benefit by engaging in scientific activities in which they build personal connections between what they learn and their own experiences. Integrating student-constructed concept mapping into the science curriculum can reveal to both students and teachers the conceptual organization and understanding of science content, which can assist in building connections between concepts and personal experiences. This chapter describes how a class of third grade students used concept maps to understand science concepts (specifically, “watershed systems”). During class discussions and interviews, students revised concept map content and structure as their ideas developed. The study's results demonstrate how students' critical thinking (self-reflection and revision) was supported as misconceptions were revealed through their construction of concept maps over time.

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