From Journal to Classroom

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Science  31 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5940, pp. 518
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_518a

Can cutting-edge science be taught in the classroom? Adapted primary literature (APL) retains the structure and results of original research papers while adjusting the content to fit high-school students. The use of APL in the classroom via conversation or group discussion introduces students to the idea that the written text serves both to construct arguments and to present them for evaluation by others.

In a case study at a girls-only religious high school, Falk and Yarden observed the coordination practices—which integrate elements from theory, methods, data, and applications—of eight 12th-grade biology students during an APL-based lesson. In text-oriented practices, the student connects different sections of the text, whereas in research-oriented practices, the student connects the scientific methods used to the data that were generated. The findings reveal not only that coordination practices enhanced APL-based learning but also that students are able to engage with this type of curriculum—learning science by inquiry and learning about science as a means of inquiry. Furthermore, developers of APL-based curricula need not avoid the complexity of the primary scientific literature because coping with ambiguous data through coordination practices expands the students' appreciation of scientific authenticity.

Res. Sci. Educ. 39, 349 (2009).

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