New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

High School Science Students’ Difficulties in Constructing Scientific Explanations in Biology

Chotirose Srithep, Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand)

Chanyah Dahsah, Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand)

Kun Silprasit, Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand)

Thasuk Junprasert, Srinakharinwirot University (Thailand)


The goals of science classrooms are to help students become scientifically literate citizens and to encourage greater public understanding in a science-and-technology-infused world. To be scientific literate citizens, especially in the 21st century era, students need to be able to evaluate evidence and reasoning presented in e-magazine, news, or articles. In addition, students should be able to write their own scientific explanations with appropriate claims and reasoning to articulate and convince others. Especially for science stream students, constructing scientific explanations becomes an essential practice to scientific inquiry. This study investigated high school science students in constructing their scientific inquiry using an open-ended test. The students were provided with the test items containing data about energy flow in different ecosystems, and were asked to write scientific explanations using evidence from the given data to support their explanation with relevant scientific reasoning that they have learned in their biology classroom. There were 72 students, 29 female and 43 male, from two science grade 10 classrooms involved in this study. The finding suggested that students faced difficulties in constructing scientific explanations in two issues. Firstly, the students could not provide appropriate and sufficient evidence to support their claims. Secondly, they did not support their claims with scientific reasoning, but they often used their opinions to support the claims. The results revealed that in order to succeed in enhancing students’ scientific explanation practice, the science classrooms should support students in the use of evidence and reasoning effectively.

Keyword: High School Science, Scientific Explanation, Students’ Difficulties.


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