INTERDISCIPLINARY JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE EDUCATION

Keyword: NGSS

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Research Article
What Scientists Do: Engaging in Science Practices through a Wonder-Framed Nature Study
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(4), e2255, https://doi.org/10.21601/ijese/11136
ABSTRACT: Despite recent reforms concerning how students engage in science, there have been significant challenges for educators seeking to consistently implement science practices within the classroom. This study considered science practices within a wonder-framed nature study as one possible way for educators to support students as they take on the role of scientists. We interviewed twenty students in Grades 3 through 5 who had participated in wonder journaling sessions outdoors that led to an investigative project and presentation. The evidence suggests that students strongly engaged in investigative science practices, and that they also experienced opportunities for sensemaking and critiquing practices. Through a qualitative data analysis, four main themes emerged that provide insight into the experiences of the students within the study: joy, community, autonomy, and challenges. The data indicate that wonder is an authentic and viable route towards the implementation of the science practices within an elementary school setting. The implications of this study are considerable and offer strategies for educators seeking to incorporate science practices in an authentic way that integrates both wonder and outdoor learning.