Applying an Activity Theory Lens to Designing Instruction for Learning About the Structure, Behavior, and Function of a Honeybee System. Danish, J., A. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 23(2):100-148, Routledge, 2014.
abstract   bibtex   
This article reports on a study in which activity theory was used to design, implement, and analyze a 10-week curriculum unit about how honeybees collect nectar with a particular focus on complex systems concepts. Students (n = 42) in a multi-year kindergarten and 1st-grade classroom participated in this study as part of their 10 regular classroom activity. The curricular unit was composed of 4 specific activity types, each of which was intended to focus students on a particular dimension of the content: (a) Inquiry with BeeSign software was intended to help students explore the benefit of individual nectar-collecting behaviors for the hive as a whole; (b) traditional drawing activities were intended to help students learn the structures of 15 the bees; (c) participatory representation activities, in which students enacted the behavior of the bees as they collect nectar, were intended to help students link bee structures to individual behaviors; and (d) an embodied nectar-gathering game was intended to help the students recognize the challenges of finding nectar for individual bees. Pre- and posttest interviews reveal a shift in individual student understanding 20 as students progressed from discussing the superficial structures of the system to discussing both behaviors and functions. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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 title = {Applying an Activity Theory Lens to Designing Instruction for Learning About the Structure, Behavior, and Function of a Honeybee System},
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 abstract = {This article reports on a study in which activity theory was used to design, implement, and analyze a 10-week curriculum unit about how honeybees collect nectar with a particular focus on complex systems concepts. Students (n = 42) in a multi-year kindergarten and 1st-grade classroom participated in this study as part of their 10 regular classroom activity. The curricular unit was composed of 4 specific activity types, each of which was intended to focus students on a particular dimension of the content: (a) Inquiry with BeeSign software was intended to help students explore the benefit of individual nectar-collecting behaviors for the hive as a whole; (b) traditional drawing activities were intended to help students learn the structures of 15 the bees; (c) participatory representation activities, in which students enacted the behavior of the bees as they collect nectar, were intended to help students link bee structures to individual behaviors; and (d) an embodied nectar-gathering game was intended to help the students recognize the challenges of finding nectar for individual bees. Pre- and posttest interviews reveal a shift in individual student understanding 20 as students progressed from discussing the superficial structures of the system to discussing both behaviors and functions. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.},
 bibtype = {article},
 author = {Danish, Joshua A.},
 journal = {Journal of the Learning Sciences},
 number = {2}
}
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