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Academic Commons Search Resultsen-usEven Einstein Struggled: Effects of Learning About Great Scientists’ Struggles on High School Students’ Motivation to Learn Science
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:194424
Lin, Xiaodong D.; Ahn, Janet N.; Chen, Jondou; Fang, Fu-Fen Anny; Luna Lucero, Myra L.10.7916/D8765F5SFri, 30 Jun 2017 00:47:09 +0000Students’ beliefs that success in science depends on exceptional talent negatively impact their motivation to learn. For example, such beliefs have been shown to be a major factor steering students away from taking science and math courses in high school and college. In the present study, we tested a novel story-based instruction that models how scientists achieve through failures and struggles. We designed this instruction to challenge this belief, thereby improving science learning in classroom settings. A demographically diverse group of 402 9th and 10th grade students read 1 of 3 types of stories about eminent scientists that described how the scientists (a) struggled intellectually (e.g., made mistakes in investigating scientific problems, and overcame the mistakes through effort), (b) struggled in their personal life (e.g., suffered family poverty and lack of parental support but overcame it), or (c) made great discoveries (a control condition, similar to the instructional material that appears in many science textbooks, that did not describe any struggles). Results showed that participation in either of the struggle story conditions improved science learning postintervention, relative to that of students in the control condition. Additionally, the effect of our intervention was more pronounced for low-performing students. Moreover, far more students in either of the struggle story conditions felt connected to the stories and scientists than did students in the control condition. The use of struggle stories provides a promising and implementable instructional approach that can improve student motivation and academic performance in science and perhaps other subjects as well.Science--Study and teaching, Instructional systems--Design, Motivation in educationxdl2001, jl2252, jjc2172, faf2122, mll2172Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design, Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Cognitive Studies in EducationArticlesMotivating Students’ STEM Learning Using Biographical Information
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:193601
Ahn, Janet N.; Luna-Lucero, Myra L.; Lamnina, Marianna; Nightingale, Miriam; Novak, Daniel; Lin, Xiaodong D.10.7916/D8VX0G9XFri, 30 Jun 2017 00:46:26 +0000Science instruction has focused on teaching students scientific content knowledge and problem-solving skills. However, even the best content instruction does not guarantee improved learning, as students’ motivation ultimately determines whether or not they will take advantage of the content. The goal of our instruction is to address the “leaky STEM pipeline” problem and retain more students in STEM fields. We designed a struggle-oriented instruction that tells stories about how even the greatest scientists struggled and failed prior to their discoveries. We describe how we have gone about designing this instruction to increase students’ motivation and better prepare them to interact and engage with content knowledge. We first discuss why we took this struggle-oriented approach to instruction by delineating the limitations of content-focused science instruction, especially from a motivational standpoint. Second, we detail how we designed and implemented this instruction in schools, outlining the factors that influenced our decisions under specific situational constraints. Finally, we discuss implications for future designers interested in utilizing this approach to instruction.Science--Study and teaching, Instructional systems--Design, Motivation in educationjl2252, mll2172, ml3648, xdl2001Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design, Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Cognitive Studies in EducationArticlesWhich Approaches Do Students Prefer? Analyzing the Mathematical Problem Solving Behavior of Mathematically Gifted Students
https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:161908
Tjoe, Hartono Hardi10.7916/D8V12C0FThu, 08 Jun 2017 13:48:28 +0000This study analyzed the mathematical problem solving behavior of mathematically gifted students. It focused on a specific fourth step of Polya's (1945) problem solving process, namely, looking back to find alternative approaches to solve the same problem. Specifically, this study explored problem solving using many different approaches. It examined the relationships between students' past mathematical experiences and the number of approaches and the kind of mathematics topics they used to solve three non-standard mathematics problems. It also analyzed the aesthetic of students' approaches from the perspective of expert mathematicians and the aesthetic of these experts' preferred approaches from the perspective of the students. Fifty-four students from a specialized high school were selected to participate in this study that began with the analysis of their past mathematical experiences by means of a preliminary survey. Nine of the 54 students took a test requiring them to solve three non-standard mathematics problems using many different approaches. A panel of three research mathematicians was consulted to evaluate the mathematical aesthetic of those approaches. Then, these nine students were interviewed. Also, all 54 students took a second survey to support inferences made while observing the problem solving behavior of the nine students. This study showed that students generally were not familiar with the practice of looking back. Indeed, students generally chose to supply only one workable, yet mechanistic approach as long as they obtained a correct answer to the problem. The findings of this study suggested that, to some extent, students' past mathematical experiences were connected with the number of approaches they used when solving non-standard mathematics problems. In particular, the findings revealed that students' most recent exposure of their then-AP Calculus course played an important role in their decisions on selecting approaches for solution. In addition, the findings showed that students' problem solving approaches were considered to be the least "beautiful" by the panel of experts and were often associated with standard approaches taught by secondary school mathematics teachers. The findings confirmed the results of previous studies that there is no direct connection between the experts' and students' views of "beauty" in mathematics.Mathematics--Study and teachinghht2105Mathematics, Science, and TechnologyTheses