Science & Education

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 881-898

First online:

Developing Content Knowledge in Students Through Explicit Teaching of the Nature of Science: Influences of Goal Setting and Self-Monitoring

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Knowledge about the nature of science has been advocated as an important component of science because it provides a framework on which the students can incorporate content knowledge. However, little empirical evidence has been provided that links nature of science knowledge with content knowledge. The purpose of this mixed method study was to determine if both nature of science knowledge and content knowledge could be increased with an explicit, reflective nature of science intervention utilizing self-regulation over an implicit group. Results showed that the explicit group significantly outperformed the implicit group on both nature of science and content knowledge assessments. Students in the explicit group also demonstrated a greater use of detail in their inquiry work and reported a higher respect for evidence in making conclusions than the implicit group. Implications suggest that science educators could enhance nature of science instruction using goal setting and self-monitoring of student work during inquiry lessons.