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Using the 5E Instructional Model to
View Geospatial Technology Use in K-12 Classrooms

Curtis P. Nielsen

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Conclusion

The GST examples highlighted in this article were not intended to demonstrate or provide empirical evidence for improved student test scores. Rather, the author’s intention was to provide examples that underscore how the BSCS 5E Model can influence student learning in the context of GST lessons and activities. GST is a practical, value-added dimension that a paucity of schools incorporate into their curricula. These connections to the real world add to the practicality and utility of learning, and instructional practices should be implemented accordingly. Barriers to teaching with GST exist, but they are minimal compared to the gap that is present between the societal demand for GST knowledge and what students are currently being taught in schools. It is the author’s contention that educators should make every effort to reduce the technology divide between instruction in K-12 schools and the needs presented by our society. The BSCS 5E Model could serve as an important framework for the incorporation of GTS into curricula; if students are engaged, if they are exploring, if they are explaining, and if they are elaborating and evaluating, then they are learning.

The BSCS 5E Model provides a well-grounded framework for integrating the instruction of GST into K-12 classrooms across the nation. Effective GST instruction flourishes in school environments where curiosity about the world is supported by real-world activities (Kerski, 2003). Lindsey and Berger (2009), Merrill (2009), and Slavery (2009) supported Kerski’s assertion through their views on the importance of authenticity and experience in educational curricula. Beatty (2009) adds a physiological perspective, “If we can create experiences and environments that work with the brain’s biological systems (chemical, neurological, emotional, etc.), then perhaps the likelihood of meaningful learning will be increased, and our educational system will be improved” (p. 280). While not all of the examples shared in this article are exclusively science lessons, each example fits with various National Science Standards found at the Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning website (McREL, 2010; see Appendix A). This is indicative of the interdisciplinary transportability of the BSCS 5E Model to other curricular areas. The BSCS 5E Model is a framework to build knowledge and skill in the next generation of problem solvers.

References

Beatty, B. J. (2009). Fostering integrated learning outcomes across domains. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. A. Carr-Chellman (Eds.), Instructional-design theories and models: Building a common knowledge base (pp. 275-299). New York: Routledge.

Bybee, R. W., Taylor, J. A., Gardner, A., Van Scotter, P., Powell, J. C., Westbrook, A., & Landes, N. (2006). The BSCS 5E instructional model: Origins, effectiveness,
and applications. Executive summary. Retrieved March 30, 2010 from http://www.bscs.org/curriculumdevelopment/features/bscs5es.html

Doering, A. & Veletsianos, G. (2007). An investigation of the use of real-time, authentic
geospatial data in the K-12 classroom. Journal of Geography, 106, 217-225. doi:10.1080/00221340701845219

Keiper, T. A. (1999). GIS for elementary students: An inquiry into a new approach to
learning geography. Journal of Geography, 98, 47-59.
doi: 10.1080/00221349908978860

Kerski, J. J. (2003). The implementation and effectiveness of geographic information
systems technology and methods in secondary education. Journal of Geography,
102, 128-137. doi: 10.1080/00221340308978534

Lindsey, L. & Berger N. (2009). Experiential approach to instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. A. Carr-Chellman (Eds.), Instructional-design theories and models: Building a common knowledge base (pp. 117-142). New York: Routledge.

Mackaness, W. A. (1994). Curriculum issues in GIS K-12. Retrieved June 25, 2007,
from http://libraries.maine.edu/Spatial/gisweb/spatdb/gis-lis/gislis-c.htm.

Marsh, C. J. & Willis, G. (2007). Curriculum: Alternative approaches, ongoing issues. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, Merrill, Prentice-Hall.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL). (2010). Retrieved June 30, 2010, from http://www.mcrel.org/

Merrill, M. D. (2009). First principles of instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. A. Carr Chellman (Eds.), Instructional-design theories and models: Building a common knowledge base (pp. 3-26). New York: Routledge.

National Research Council. (2006). Learning to think spatially. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Shin, E. K. (2006). Using geographic information systems (GIS) to improve fourth
graders’ geographic content knowledge and map skills. Journal of Geography,
105, 109-120. doi: 10.1080/00221340608978672

Slavery, J. R. (2009). Problem-based approach to instruction. In C. M. Reigeluth & A. A. Carr-Chellman (Eds.), Instructional-design theories and models: Building a common knowledge base (pp. 143-167). New York: Routledge.

United States Department of Labor. (2006). Defining and communicating geospatial
industry workforce demand: Phase I draft for comment
. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from
http://www.crcsi.com.au/uploads/55cd31ee-7652-4b91-a603-9ec9b5514bab/docs/GITA-AAG_Phase_1_Report.pdf

United States Department of Labor. (2006). Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH),
2006-07 Edition. Retrieved May 4, 2010, from
http://www.umsl.edu/services/govdocs/ooh20062007/

Watkins, B. & Wagler, R. (2005). RAISE: Using geospatial technology in the public
schools. Science Scope, April-May, p. 32-35. Retrieved from http://www.nsta.org/middleschool

Wigglesworth, J. C. (2003). What is the best route? Route-finding strategies of
middle school students using GIS. Journal of Geography, 102, 282-291.
doi:10.1080/00221340308978560

Appendix A

Table 1

Geospatial Technology Examples and National Science Standards

5E Phase

National Science Standard

Geospatial Technology Example

Engagement

Standard 12: Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Level III / Benchmark 3: Designs and conducts a scientific investigation (e.g., formulates hypotheses, designs and executes investigations, interprets data, synthesizes evidence into explanations) 

Wigglesworth (2003) conducted a research project to investigate the strategies developed by middle school students to solve a route-finding problem using ArcView GIS software. Many student pairs use a hypothesis and test strategy to find the shortest route in the Atlanta Bike Route Problem.

Exploration

Standard 1: Understands atmospheric processes and the water cycle
Level III / Benchmark 3: Knows factors that can impact the Earth’s climate.
Standard 12: Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Level III / Benchmark 6: Uses appropriate tools (including computer hardware and software) and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret scientific data.

Middle school students followed “Team GoNorth! as they traveled with the porcupine caribou herd…” (p. 218). “Students took on the role of a scientist and developed snow cover maps that correlated snow cover depth with average temperature and elevation” (p. 219). They analyzed data collected from Team GoNorth! to come to a decision on the impact of oil exploration. The students created maps using GPS data and ArcExplorer Java Edition for Educators (AEJEE).

Explanation

Standard 12:Understands the nature of scientific inquiry
Level II / Benchmark 5: Knows that scientists’ explanations about what happens in the world come partly from what they observe (evidence), and partly from how they interpret (inference) their observations. 

Shin (2006) conducted research that attempted to answer the question, “How does the use of GIS technology affect students’ geography learning?” (p. 109). The research was designed to gather data about students’ geographic abilities through the use of pre-designed modules. Students were asked to draw pre and post maps of their city and were to explain why the maps appeared the way that they did.

Elaboration

Standard 12:Understands the nature of scientific inquiry
Level II / Benchmark 2: Knows that scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer to what scientists already know about the world.
Standard 13:Understands the scientific enterprise
Level II / Benchmark 3: Knows that scientists and engineers often work in teams to accomplish a task

Timothy A. Keiper (1999) conducted research at an elementary school. “The purpose of this study was to determine the outcomes of using GIS to teach geography in an elementary school classroom” (p. 47). Students, in groups, were asked to use GIS skills learned to investigate, rationalize and make a presentation to their city leaders recommending the creation of a new park in their community.

Evaluation

Standard 12: Understands the nature of scientific inquiry.
Level III / Benchmark 3: Designs and conducts a scientific investigation (e.g., formulates hypotheses, designs and executes investigations, interprets data, synthesizes evidence into explanations)
Standard 13:Understands the scientific enterprise
Level II / Benchmark 3: Knows that scientists and engineers often work in teams to accomplish a task 

In the Trash It! student activity participants were given GPS units and asked to mark waypoints where litter and trash receptacles were found on their school campus.  The students then created a GIS map using the trash data and a satellite image of their school grounds. Combining the data students made trash receptacle location recommendations to the school administration.

 

Author

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Curtis P. Nielsen, MAE is a tenured instructor and doctoral student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). Mr. Nielsen is in his 21st year of teaching with his current assignment placing him at Malcolm Price Laboratory School on the UNI campus. As part of his teaching assignment, Mr. Nielsen created and teaches Applications in Geospatial Technologies, a high school course. His research interests include geospatial technologies in the K-12 curriculum, teacher education, WebQuests, and instructional design. Correspondence can be sent to Malcolm Price Laboratory School, 1901 Campus St., Cedar Falls, IA 50614.
Email: Curt.nielsen@uni.edu.

 

 

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Meridian: A K-12 School Computer Technologies Journal
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Volume 13, Issue 2, 2011
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