This study aimed to determine the effect of the model-based science writing heuristic (M-SWH) approach on students’ conceptual understanding and construction of model-based argumentations in elementary school science. Participants (N = 107) were students enrolled in 4 fourth-grade classes of a public elementary school. Two classes were assigned as the treatment group, and the other two classes were assigned as the comparison group in this quasi-experiment study. Students in the treatment group were instructed using the M-SWH approach, while a traditional approach was used in the comparison group. Tests measuring students’ conceptual understanding of properties of matter and lighting and sound technologies units were administered to both groups as pretests and posttests; the M-SWH reports were used to assess the treatment group’s ability to construct model-based argumentation. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, correlation analysis, and repeated measures ANOVA were used for data analysis. The results demonstrated a statistically significant difference in concept tests between the two groups in favor of the treatment group. These students’ ability to construct arguments using models developed significantly throughout the implementation of the M-SWH approach. Moreover, treatment group students’ conceptual understanding improved with their quality of writing.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adúriz-Bravo, A. (2011). Fostering model-based school scientific argumentation among prospective science teachers. US-China Education Review, 8(5), 718–723.
Aguirre-Mendez, C., Chen, Y.-C., Terada, T., & Techawitthayachinda, R. (2020). Predicting components of argumentative writing and achievement gains in a general chemistry course for nonmajor college students. Journal of Chemical Education, 97, 2045–2056.
Akben, N. (2015). Improving science process skills in science and technology course activities using the inquiry method. Education in Science, 40(179), 111–132.
Aktan, M. B. (2016). Pre-service science teachers’ perceptions and attitudes about the use of models. Journal of Baltic Science Education, 15(1), 7–17.
Bağ, H., & Çalık, M. (2017). A thematic review of argumentation studies at the K-8 level. Education in Science, 190(42), 281–303.
Baxter, L. M., & Kurtz, M. J. (2001). When a hypothesis is not an educated guess. Science and Children, 38(7), 18–20.
Baze, C. L., & Gray, R. (2018). Modeling tiktaalik: Using a model-based inquiry approach to engage community college students in the practices of science during an evolution unit. Journal of College Science Teaching, 47(4), 12–20.
Braaten, M., & Windschitl, M. (2011). Working toward a stronger conceptualisation of scientific explanation for science education. Science Education, 95, 639–669.
Campbell, T., Oh, P. S., Maughn, M., Kiriazis, N., & Zuwallack, R. (2015). A review of modeling pedagogies: Pedagogical functions, discursive acts, and technology in modeling instruction. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 11(1), 159–176.
Cavagnetto, A. R. (2010). Argument to foster scientific literacy: A review of argument interventions in K–12 science contexts. Review of Educational Research, 80(3), 336–371.
Chen, Y. C., Benus, M., & Yarker, M. B. (2016). Using models to support argumentation in the science classroom. American Biology Teacher, 78(7), 548–559.
Chen, Y. C., Moore, T. J., & Wang, H. H. (2014). Construct, critique, and connect: Engineering as a vehicle to learn science. Science Scope, 38(3), 58–69.
Choi, A., Notebaert, A., Diaz, J., & Hand, B. (2010). Examining arguments generated by year 5, 7, and 10 students in science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 40, 149–169.
Choi, A., Seung, E., & Kim, D. (2019). Science teachers’ views of argument in scientific inquiry and argument-based science instruction. Research in Science Education. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-019-9861-9.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Costu, B., Ayas, A., Niaz, M., Ünal, S., & Çalik, M. (2007). Facilitating conceptual change in students’ understanding of boiling concept. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 16, 524–536.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36–48.
Demirbag, M., & Gunel, M. (2014). Integrating argument-based science inquiry with modal representations: Impact on science achievement, argumentation, and writing skills. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 14(1), 373–392.
Duschl, R. A. (2007). Quality argumentation and epistemic criteria. In S. Erduran & M. P. Jiménez-Aleixandre (Eds.), Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research (pp. 159–175). Springer.
Erduran, S. (2007). Methodological foundations in the study of argumentation in science classrooms. In S. Erduran & M. P. Jiménez-Aleixandre (Eds.), Argumentation in science education: Perspectives from classroom-based research (pp. 47–69). Springer.
Evagorou, M., Nicolaou, C., & Lymbouridou, C. (2020). Modelling and argumentation with elementary school students. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education, 20, 58–73.
Förtsch, S., Förtsch, C., von Kotzebue, L., & Neuhaus, B. J. (2018). Effects of teachers’ professional knowledge and their use of three-dimensional physical models in biology lessons on students’ achievement. Education in Science, 8(3), 118. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030118.
Furtak, E. M. (2006). The problem with answers: An exploration of guided scientific inquiry teaching. Science Education, 90(3), 453–467.
Gilbert, J. K. (2008). Visualization: An emergent field of practice and enquiry in science education. In J. K. Gilbert, M. Reiner, & M. Nakhleh (Eds.), Visualization: Theory and practice in science education (pp. 3–24). Springer.
Gilbert, J. K., & Boulter, C. J. (1998). Learning science through models and modelling. In B. J. Fraser & K. G. Tobin (Eds.), International handbook of science education (pp. 53–66). Kluwer.
Gilbert, J. K., Boulter, C. J., & Rutherford, M. (2000). Explanations with models in science education. In J. K. Gilbert & C. J. Boulter (Eds.), Developing models in science education (pp. 193–208). Kluwer.
Graham, S., Kiuhara, S. A., & MacKay, M. (2020). The effects of writing on learning in science, social studies, and mathematics: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 90(2), 179–226.
Gunel, M., Hand, B., & Prain, V. (2007). Writing for learning in science: A secondary analysis of six studies. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 5, 615–637.
Halloun, I. A. (2004). Modeling theory in science education. Kluwer.
Hand, B., Cavagnetto, A., Chen, Y.-C., & Park, S. (2016). Moving past curricula and strategies: Language and the development of adaptive pedagogy for immersive learning environments. Research in Science Education, 46, 223–241.
Hand, B., Chen, Y.-C., & Suh, J. K. (2021). Does a knowledge generation approach to learning benefit students? A systematic review of research on the science writing heuristic approach. Educational Psychology Review, 33, 535–577.
Justi, R. S., & Gilbert, J. K. (2002). Science teachers’ knowledge about and attitudes towards the use of models and modelling in learning science. International Journal of Science Education, 24(12), 1273–1292.
Kara, S. (2019). Implementation of argument based inquiry approach supported with models in elementary science course. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Hacettepe Universty, Ankara.
Keys, C. W., Hand, B., Prain, V., & Collins, S. (1999). Using the science writing heuristic as a tool for learning from laboratory investigations in secondary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(10), 1065–1084.
Kuhn, D. (2010). Teaching and learning science as argument. Science Education, 94(5), 810–824.
Mendonça, P. C. C., & Justi, R. (2013). The relationships between modelling and argumentation from the perspective of the model of modelling diagram. International Journal of Science Education, 35(14), 2407–2434.
Ministry of National Education. (2018). Science curriculum (primary and middle school grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8). Author.
National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. National Academies Press.
National Research Council. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18290.
Pallant, J. (2005). SPSS survival guide: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS for Windows (3rd ed.). Open University Press.
Ryu, S., & Sandoval, W. A. (2012). Improvements to elementary children’s epistemic understanding from sustained argumentation. Science Education, 96(3), 488–526.
Rudd II, J. A., Greenbowe, T. J., & Hand, B. (2001). Recrafting the general chemistry laboratory report: The science writing heuristic—Producing a better understanding of chemistry. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31(4), 230–234.
Sahin, N., & Eraslan, A. (2016). Modeling processes of primary school students: The crime problem. Education in Science, 41(183), 47–67.
Sen, C., Ay, Z. S., & Kiray, A. (2018). STEM skills in the 21st century education. In M. Shelley & S. A. Kiray (Eds.), Research highlights in STEM education (pp. 81–101). ISRES Publishing.
Sunyono, Yuanita, L., & Muslimin, I. (2015). Supporting students in learning with multiple representation to improve student mental models on atomic structure concepts. Science Education International, 26(2), 104–125.
Tatar, N., & Kuru, M. (2006). The effect of inquiry-based learning approach in science education on academic achievement. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 31, 147–158.
Toulmin, S. (2003). The uses of argument. Cambridge University Press.
Treagust, D. F. (1995). Diagnostic assessment of students’ science knowledge. In S. M. Glynn & R. Duit (Eds.), Learning science in the schools: Research reforming practice (pp. 327–346). Erlbaum.
Walker, J. P., Sampson, V., Grooms, J., Anderson, B., & Zimmerman, C. O. (2012). Argument-driven inquiry in undergraduate chemistry lab: The impact on students’ conceptual understanding, argument skills, and attitudes toward science. Journal of College Science Teaching, 41(4), 74–81.
Walton, D. (2016). Argument evaluation and evidence. Springer.
Yaman, F. (2018). Effects of the science writing heuristic approach on the quality of prospective science teachers’ argumentative writing and their understanding of scientific argumentation. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 16, 421–442.
Yang, H. T., & Wang, K. H. (2014). A teaching model for scaffolding 4th grade students’ scientific explanation writing. Research in Science Education, 44, 531–548.
Zangori, L., & Forbes, C. T. (2014). Scientific practices in elementary classrooms: Third-grade students’ scientific explanations for seed structure and function. Science Education, 98(4), 614–639.
Zhang, T., Chen, A., & Ennis, C. (2019). Elementary school students’ naïve conceptions and misconceptions about energy in physical education context. Sport, Education and Society, 24(1), 25–37.
We gratefully acknowledge the constructive feedback of Senior Editor, Dr. Larry D. Yore, and three anonymous reviewers, on earlier versions of this paper. We also appreciate the support of Hacettepe Teknokent Technology Transfer Center for advanced editing service to the first draft, and Mrs. Sharyl A. Yore for technical editing of the final draft.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
This manuscript is a part of the doctoral thesis of the first author.
About this article
Cite this article
Kara, S., Kingir, S. Implementation of the Model-Based Science Writing Heuristic Approach in Elementary School Science. Int J of Sci and Math Educ (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-021-10191-0
- Conceptual understanding
- Elementary students
- Model-based argumentation
- Science writing heuristic