Fostering conceptual change and critical reasoning about HIV and AIDS

Authors

  • Alla Keselman,

    Corresponding author
    1. Aquilent, Inc., Contractor, National Library of Medicine, 38A-Lister Hill Center; Room 7S713E, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20894
    • Aquilent, Inc., Contractor, National Library of Medicine, 38A-Lister Hill Center; Room 7S713E, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20894
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  • David R. Kaufman,

    1. Laboratory of Decision Making and Cognition, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, New York
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  • Sharon Kramer,

    1. Community Action School, New York, New York
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  • Vimla L. Patel

    1. Center for Decision Making and Cognition, Department of Biomedical Informatics, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona
    2. The University of Arizona College of Medicine—Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona
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Abstract

One of the challenges of science education is for students to develop scientific knowledge that is personally meaningful and applicable to real-life issues. This article describes a middle-school science intervention fostering adolescents' critical reasoning in the context of HIV by strengthening their conceptual understanding of HIV biology. The intervention included two components: critical reasoning activities that fostered knowledge integration and application to real-world problem solving, and science writing activities that promoted argument building. Two seventh-grade classes participated in the study. One class participated in the critical reasoning and writing activities (CR&W); the other class participated in critical reasoning activities only (CR group). Results demonstrate significant pre- and posttest improvements on measures of students' HIV knowledge, HIV understanding, and critical reasoning about realistic scenarios in the context of HIV, with the improvements being greater in the CR&W group. The discussion focuses on the role of conceptual knowledge in health reasoning, the role of science writing in fostering knowledge integration, and the benefits of a “thinking curriculum” approach to integrated health and science education. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 844–863, 2007

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