Activity 3-1 |
Activity 3-2: Test your Investigation
This activity provides a test run of your
investigation question. Early trials are low cost (not much
design/development time and resources invested) and high gain
(an amazingly large amount of rich information). Pose your
investigation question to a sample selected from your targeted
learner population. Then record and analyze their discussion and
answers. You’re collecting data to support understanding
Naive conceptions/misconceptions: What
immediate answers do learners have to the question? Do their
answers indicate naive or undeveloped mental models of the
targeted domain? Do their comments and conversation reveal
Activation of prior knowledge: Can
learners immediately relate to your investigation context?
Do they spontaneously generate ideas of how to solve the
question? Does learner conversation indicate that learners
are familiar with the terminology in the investigation
question? Note: It is not required that learners know the
answer to the questions. They only need to have ideas about
how to approach the problem.
Motivation: Are learners obviously
excited by the investigation question?
Investigation Question Pilot Testing
Have learners answer the question without any other
materials and rate their level of interest in the question. On a
full sheet of paper, provide the investigation question at the
top of the sheet, space for learners to write their answer, and
a Likert-type scale for the learners to rate their interest in
the question at the bottom. You can use this Pilot Testing template similar to the example below (the question is
for Operation Montserrat):
Investigation question: How can you
use the volcano data to predict the consequences of
these natural disasters to save lives and property?
How did you feel when you thought and
wrote about this question?
__ Very bored
__ A little bored
__ Liked it a little
__ Liked it
__ Liked it a lot
Administer the investigation question pilot
test to a sample of your target audience (between 15 and 30 participants). Give the
participants about 10 minutes to complete the task. If you are working with a regular classroom, you should have an extension activity available
if learners finish early.
Once the written portion of the test is
completed, you may wish to conduct a class discussion about the
investigation question. Although this option is open to you and
might provide useful insights, the Virtual Design Center does
not require it. Taking notes of what you observe during the
testing and classroom discussion are also very helpful.
Deliverable 3-2: Results of Your Pilot
Understanding learners’ prior knowledge and
misconceptions helps you to better shape your inquiry activity
design. Analyze learner answers to the investigation question.
At this point you can assume that your learners are not able to
provide an accurate answer. However, you may find some evidence
that learners are building appropriate mental models of the
content area or science practice. Report on:
Appropriate mental models of content
knowledge and practice of science. For example, using the
investigation question above, this might include knowledge
about volcanoes and hurricanes, relationships between
volcanic eruptions and human death, or procedures to
evacuate people from the potentially hazardous area.
Naive conceptions and misconceptions.
naive conceptions related to the above investigation
Based on the analysis, your
interpretation of which educational standards are especially
important for your population from your standards list (from
Report the average interest-level ranking.
Add your qualitative observations (for example, are learners
engaged?) in addition to the ranking.
Report your conclusions on your investigation
and include your revised question (if your results indicate a
need for its revision). Continue using the
filled in from activity 3-1.
Review the following examples to see the work of other teams
that have completed deliverable 3-2.
Return to step 3 for
Activity 3-1 |