Decision Making and Sources of Knowledge: How Students Tackle Integrated Tasks in Science, Technology and Mathematics

Grady Venville, L. Rennie, J. Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article reports on students' decision making processes and sources of knowledge in an integrated teaching and learning setting. The study was conducted in a Year 9 classroom as students undertook a 10-week solar-powered boat project and were exposed to related concepts from science, technology and mathematics. Data collection involved detailed case studies of three pairs of students, interviews, classroom observation and analysis of the artefacts and portfolios produced by the students. Students were found to access knowledge from a variety of sources, including teacher's notes from formal instruction, informal interactions with the teacher, observation of and interaction with other students, as well as sources outside the classroom. However, the utility of the knowledge sources was influenced by the nature of the task. When students were performing open-ended tasks, they drew on a wider variety of knowledge sources than when they were performing less open tasks. Moreover, subject discipline-based sources often were not as helpful in solving open tasks. The study leads to several important implications for designing teaching and learning in integrated curriculum settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-135
JournalResearch in Science Education
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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