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European Journal of Physics Education

Yıl 2012 , Cilt 3 , Sayı 4

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Transitional to formal operational: using authentic research experiences to get non-science students to think more like scientists

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Department of Chemistry and Physics, Coastal Carolina University1
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University and high school students not pursuing a science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) course of study demonstrate less developed scientific reasoning than their STEM-based peers. Previous studies show that the majority of non-STEM students can be classified as either concrete operational or transitional reasoners in Piaget's theory of cognitive development, whereas in the science student population formal operational reasoners are far more prevalent. In this paper, we will look at the literature concerning the non-STEM population of students and their development in scientific reasoning. We will also discuss the development and implementation of activities designed to target hypothetico-deductive reasoning, coordination of theory and evidence, and thinking about the relative value of evidence. We will also discuss an authentic research experience we have begun introducing in our classrooms to facilitate the transition from transitional to formal operational reasoning.

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