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Orient, Diagnose, and Guide

The orient, diagnose, and guide pattern enables students to articulate their full range of ideas and get new information about a topic. In this pattern, curriculum materials or instructors orient students to a topic by connecting it to personally relevant, varied contexts. Students generate ideas and instructors respond to student ideas by determining new ideas to add to the mix of student ideas to stimulate knowledge integration. Instructors use this pattern to increase interest in scientific phenomena, define the scope of the topic, connect the topic to personally relevant problems, link the new topic to prior instruction, gauge student interest, and identify student entering ideas. This pattern resonates with the constructivist philosophy and involves an iterative process where instructors elicit explanations, elaborate the nature of the topic, elicit more explanations, and iterate on the process of motivating and eliciting until students have generated a large repertoire of related ideas. The pattern helps instructors refine instruction based on student ideas. Recently, researchers have shown how driving questions, personally-relevant problems, and topics that evoke passion help students appreciate the scope of the topic by connecting the topic to relevant aspects of everyday life, to the fallibility of methods, or to common alternative interpretations.


Predict, observe, and explain

The predict, observe, explain pattern involves providing a demonstration of a scientific phenomenon, eliciting predictions, running the demonstrations, and asking the student to reconcile contradictions. The predict, observe, explain pattern strips away some of the complexities of a scientific phenomenon by providing a demonstration. It encourages careful observation. When students only observe a demonstration it is much less effective than when they interact with it. The explain step in the pattern encourages learners to articulate any discrepancies between their prediction and the outcome. This pattern helps students recognize their alternative ideas, and guides students to gather evidence that distinguishes ideas. The observation part of the pattern can induce conflict but could reinforce non-normative views by enabling students to explain the observation in creative way.


Illustrate ideas

Instructors use the illustrate ideas pattern to model authentic reasoning about a complex topic. The illustrate ideas pattern resonates with the socio-cultural perspective - encouraging instructors to model the process of generating alternatives and selecting among ideas. Too often instructors describe only the normative or expert solution to a problem-providing an inaccessible and inaccurate model of how individuals solve novel problems. Using the diagnose and guide pattern, instructors illustrate their ideas by contrasting various perspectives-including those held by their audience-and discussing how a learner could go about distinguishing among them. Case studies, historical notebooks, and accounts of wrong paths can illustrate how scientists framed questions and selected methods for exploring important phenomena, shedding light on the nature of scientific advance.



The experiment pattern involves a recursive process of refining a question, generating methods for investigating the question, carrying out an investigation, evaluating the results, and using the findings to sort out the repertoire of ideas. When students use the experiment pattern, they make decisions about what is a good experiment and what can be learned from an experiment. Students learn to select among varied data collection procedures, distinguish causal from correlation results, and link methods of investigation to the validity of findings. The experiment pattern differs from the predict, observe, explain pattern in that students are identifying their own question and planning an experiment rather than observing an experiment designed for them.


Explore a Simulation

The explore a simulation pattern enables students to try out their ideas using simulations, virtual worlds, or scientific models. Simulations elicit ideas, support the testing of ideas with feedback, enable learners to develop roles of guidelines, and encourage students to monitor their performance, often in relationship to their peers or and ideal performer. Gamelike activities fit this pattern, including some powerful video games. Many simulations are embedded in learning environments that offer supports that free teachers to respond to disciplinary questions and tutor individuals. Krajcik et al. (1999) stress the importance of designing good driving questions to organize interactions with simulations. They spell out some key features of effective simulations: feasibility (students should be able to design and perform the investigations), worth (they should deal with rich science content and match local curriculum standards), relevance (simulations should be anchored in lives of learners and deal with important and real-world questions), meaning (projects should be interesting and exciting), and sustainability (projects should sustain student interest over time).


Create an artifact

Instructors use the create an artifact pattern to enable students to try out their ideas and the connections among them by designing a complex representation of a scientific phenomena such as electricity, the weather, planetary motion, heat flow, or oxygenation of blood. The create an artifact pattern involves refining a question, selecting or using methods for creating an artifact, creating a draft artifact, evaluating the results, using the findings to improve the artifact, and connecting the results to views of the topic. Learners iterate on these steps, often selecting methods, building a prototype, testing, revising methods, revising the question, building a model, and repeating the sequence.


Construct  an argument

Instructors use the construct an argument pattern to stimulate students to link their ideas and warrant their views with evidence. Teachers often feel unprepared to deal with controversy in science since textbooks rarely acknowledge these issues and epistemological issues, such as the validity of methods, are neglected in the curriculum. Argument construction tools embedded in technology-enhanced learning environments can scaffold this pattern by helping learners organize and warrant their ideas and give teachers insight into student ideas through embedded assessment. Argument construction tools make visible the ways learners organize and warrant the ideas in their repertoire. These tools enable teachers and peers to inspect the arguments of others and ask specific questions such as why a piece of evidence is seen as supporting a point by one author and as refuting the point by another. These tools incorporate decisions about what to represent as an idea, how to separate ideas and evidence, and how to enable others to inspect solutions. To encourage argument construction, teachers need to shift the authority structure towards the students. They also need pedagogical strategies that initiate and support argumentation in the classroom. 



Instructors use the critique design pattern to help students evaluate scientific information. The critique design pattern asks learners to evaluate both established and potentially invalid, misleading, persuasive, or confusing information presented in Internet resources, textbooks, articles, models, experiments, arguments, or peer reports. Students recursively review ideas about a scientific phenomenon, generate or identify criteria for evaluating the material, apply the criteria, and raise questions, concerns, or issues about the material. The critique pattern encourages students to question scientific claims and explore the epistemological underpinnings of scientific knowledge. Students tend to trust scientific information and lack scientifically valid ways of critiquing arguments. Critique, although neglected in science courses, is often easier than argument construction, experimentation, or creating artifacts and can help students begin to formulate criteria.



Instructors use the collaborate design pattern to help learners generate their own ideas, learn of the ideas of others, respond to group ideas, determine methods for distinguishing ideas, articulate warrants for their views, and reach consensus. The collaborate pattern promotes knowledge integration by taking advantage of the variation in student ideas. The pattern can support multiple zones of proximal development by enabling peers to respond to each other's ideas. This pattern reflects the socio-cultural perspective and engages learners in revealing their cultural commitments. Instructors need to monitor progress and help students learn to respect the ideas of others to implement this pattern. Factors such as status, gender, and cultural background can endanger collaboration and reinforce stereotypes about who can participate in science.



When instructors use the reflect design pattern they encourage learners to analyze the connections they are making and consider their prior ideas. The reflect pattern promotes knowledge integration by encouraging students to stop and analyze the ideas in their repertoire. Consistent with research on desirable difficulties, reflection stimulates metacognition, encouraging learners to evaluate ideas, identify gaps in their reasoning, and seek ways to fill the gaps. Reflection has a long history in education. Tutors ask reflection questions, encouraging learners to go over their work and look for places where they might have gone wrong.