Morehouse, H. (2009). Making the most of the middle: A strategic model for middle school afterschool programs. Afterschool Matters, 8, 1–10.
This paper summarizes key design elements for programs for middle-school-aged children, addressing issues of relationships, relevance, reinforcement, real-life projects, and rigor. The authors argue that these five components take into account the intellectual and emotional developmental needs of this age range.
Mallya, A., Mensah, F. M., Contento, I. R., Koch, P. A., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2012). Extending science beyond the classroom door: Learning from students’ experiences with the Choice, Control, and Change (C3) curriculum. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(2), 244–269.
This paper explores how a school-day science and nutrition curriculum, Choice, Control and Change (C3), shaped student thinking, decision making, and actions outside the classroom. The curriculum taught health science content and engaged students in activities focused on analyzing and changing their personal health choices.
Barton, A. C., & Tan, E. (2009). Funds of knowledge and discourse and hybrid space. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(1), 50–73.
This design experiment integrated students’ everyday discourses and knowledge into classroom scientific practice, thereby allowing for the creation of hybrid spaces, where students were able to meaningfully apply science learning to their everyday lives. This research shows that providing students with opportunities to co-author their learning can engage students more deeply.
Endreny, A. H. (2010). Urban 5th graders conceptions during a place-based inquiry unit on watersheds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(5), 501–517.
A place-based approach to an inquiry unit on watersheds created opportunities for the development of student conceptions of the human and natural components of urban watersheds. Through direct inquiry experience in the natural environment, student learning and attachment to place was observed.
Anderman, E. M., Sinatra, G. M., & Gray, D. L. (2012). The challenges of teaching and learning about science in the twenty-first century: Exploring the abilities and constraints of adolescent learners. Studies in Science Education, 48(1), 89–117.
In this paper, Anderman and colleagues examine the skills adolescents need in order to learn science effectively. They note that many negative experiences associated with science learning could be avoided if educators were more aware of the abilities of adolescents and the types of environments that foster particular abilities. They offer seven recommendations to practitioners.
Punter, P., Ochando-Pardo, M. & Garcia, J. (2011) Spanish secondary school students’ notions on the causes and consequences of climate change. International Journal of Science Education, 33(3), 447–464.
This study presents a disappointing account of Spanish secondary school students’ knowledge and understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change. Many of the key factors responsible for climate change are not recognized, whilst significant socioeconomic consequences of climate change, for example, increasing migration and food shortages, are rarely acknowledged.
McNeill, K., & Krajcik, J. (2009). Synergy between teacher practices and curricular scaffolds to support students in using domain-specific and domain-general knowledge in writing arguments to explain phenomenon, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 18 (3), 416–460.
This article reports on a study that reveals some of the complexities of supporting children's understandings of scientific argumentation. The paper could be useful for ISE educators seeking to incorporate scientific argumentation processes and skills into their programs for middle-school-aged children. Specifically, the article notes the benefits of context-specific (rather than generic) prompts and questions, and the need for ongoing professional development to support teachers in encouraging scientific argumentation.
Chin, C., & Osborne, J. (2010). Supporting argumentation through case studies in science classrooms. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 19 (2), 230–284.
In this study, researchers investigated how student-generated questions could operate to advance scientific argumentation and understanding in a middle school classroom by illuminating prior knowledge, highlighting inconsistencies, and identifying and evaluating evidence, among other things. This article might be relevant to ISE educators who use or want to use student questioning to advance students' scientific reasoning in structured educational programs.
Aguiar, O. G., Mortimer, E. F., & Scott, P. (2010). Learning from and responding to students’ questions: The authoritative and dialogic tension. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 47(2), 174–193.
This study analyzes the impact of the wonderment questions of students on the teacher and student discourse in the classroom. It also points out that handling the different types of questions is a challenge for both the ISE professionals and the schoolteachers; this is particularly true because the “wonderment” types of questions are encouraged and expected in informal learning settings.