Elementary School Teachers' Scientific Explanation to Support Students' Inquiry: Focusing on 5th and 6th Grade Earth Science Curriculum

학생들의 탐구 학습을 돕기 위한 교사의 과학적 개념 설명 방식: 초등학교 5, 6학년 지구과학 영역을 중심으로

  • Published : 2009.05.31


This study aims to explore how teachers construct scientific explanation during instructional practices to help students' scientific inquiry. Before investigating teachers' classroom practices, elementary school science curriculum was examined to identify scientific concepts, particularly in earth science. Then, a total of six teachers' scientific explanation in actual teaching practices was analysed focusing on a) explanation of scientific concepts; b) rationale for scientific explanation; c) connection between scientific explanation and everyday explanation. The findings are as follows. First, the science curriculum provides $1{\sim}2$ main scientific concepts per unit, which are mostly appeared in the unit title. Those concepts and sub-concepts are not explicitly described but embedded in students' inquiry activities. Second, the teachers explain scientific concepts and discuss the rationale behind the scientific explanation, but rarely connect scientific explanation to everyday explanation. Also, the level of scientific explanations is low remaining level 1 or 2, not reaching 3, the highest level. Based on the results, the study suggests a) teachers need to provide explicit and clear explanations about scientific concepts; b) teachers are required to connect scientific explanation and everyday explanation; c) the level of teachers scientific explanation should be elevated by using an evidence, reasoning and claim, the components of scientific explanation as well as introducing new scientific concepts and inquiry activities.