TERM PAPER ASSIGNMENT

 

DESCRIPTION:

            Your assignment is to write a 5 part research paper discussing a scientific concept or process of your choosing that is regarded as something anyone who is scientifically literate should know. You will first write a proposal that identifies the concept you have chosen for approval by your instructor. Once it is approved, Part One of your paper will explain the concept at a level a reasonably intelligent person who does not major in the science could understand and identify (on the basis of independent research) common misconceptions student have with that concept. Part Two will present an argument for why a scientifically literate person must know that concept. Part Three will offer an assessment instrument you could use in your classroom to determine whether your students are proficient in this concept. Part Four will describe a unit plan for how you would teach the concept with a specific audience in mind, with at least one example of a lesson within the unit. Finally Part Five will present an argument for why your instruction, as summarized in Part Four, will facilitate student learning of the concept.

Photos and illustrations are encouraged, but not necessary. As indicated in the example, use a 10 point Times (or Times New Roman) font and double-space throughout. For each part, be sure to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, biology books) for any information that is not considered common knowledge. Examples of each of these elements

will be made available to you by your instructor.

Paper Proposal (Due R May 14). Submit a proposal that identifies the specific scientific concept or process you will do research on for your term paper [1 page minimum]. Briefly state why you have chosen your specific concept/process, indicate the grade level of your students, and any relevant state or national benchmarks that provide presumptive evidence that it is grade level appropriate and acknowledged as something a scientifically literate person should know. You should also identify at least one research article that discusses misconceptions associated with your chosen concept/process. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult, e.g. national standards documents. Do NOT use the concept of natural selection as this will be used throughout for modeling purposes by your instructor. Only one student may choose a particular scientific concept/process- first come first serve. Be sure to

wait for approval on your term paper proposal from your instructor before proceeding further.

Part One: Explanation of Concept/Process (Due T May 19). Submit an essay that explains your approved scientific concept/process in a manner that is accessible to an intelligent layperson who does not major in the science [2 page minimum]. In your write up include a discussion of common misconceptions students have with regard to your chosen concept/process that is based upon your own independent research. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that

is not considered common knowledge.

Part Two: Argument for Why a Scientifically Literate Person Must Know the Concept/Process (Due T May 26). Submit an essay that presents an argument for why a scientifically literate person, regardless of whether he/she majors in the science or plans to teach science, should know your approved scientific concept or process [3 page minimum]. As indicated in the example, anticipate the views of someone who disagrees with you and clarify why you nevertheless think they are mistaken. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Part Three: Assessment Instrument (Due T Jun 2). Submit an instrument you could use in your class to assess whether your students are proficient with regard to the scientific concept/process you have chosen [2 page minimum]. What should they know and be able to do in order to demonstrate their proficiency with the concept? Use footnotes to provide references

for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Part Four: Unit Plan (Due T June 9). Briefly provide a context within which you would use the unit, and a short list of your overall learning objectives. Provide one example of a lesson that would feature the specific scientific concept or process you have chosen for the term paper [5 page minimum]. You may presume throughout that your reader is familiar with what you have written in the previous three parts. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered common

knowledge.

Part Five: Argument (Due R June 11). Submit an essay that provides an argument that defends to the reader why, in view of all of the different ways you might have chosen to teach the concept, the way you plan to do so (as indicated in Part Four) is the best way to promote proficiency with regard to the scientific concept/process you have chosen [3 page minimum]. Explicitly consider typical misconceptions children have about the concept/process you have chosen (Part 1) and draw attention to how your lesson will help them overcome these misconceptions. You may presume throughout that your reader is familiar with what you have written in the previous four parts. As always, use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Revised Term Paper (Due T June 30) Within a week after you have turned in each part, your instructor will provide you with a tentative grade for that part and advice on how to improve it. Please resubmit a revised version of the entire term paper (all five parts) at the end of term, regardless of whether you have revised any or all parts. As always, use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered common knowledge. Additional points will be awarded with reference to the

extent to which the concerns raised by your instructor have been addressed.

NOTE: Your instructor reserves the right to turn back any section of the paper (or the paper as a whole) ungraded if any of the following obtain: (1) The submission contains multiple spelling or grammatical errors; (2) The submission does not meet the minimum page length guidelines, or does so only by the use of altered margins, the use of excessively large images or pictures, etc.; (3) The submission does not include footnotes indicating all references consulted; or (4) The submission does not otherwise follow directions. You are also expected to maintain a back-up copy of anything you submit, if only for the purposes of submitting the revised whole once more at the end of term.