Ideas as resources
Student ideas are at the center of MBI classrooms. Below find our description of what a resource perspective means in the context of MBI and resources for further reading.
Like others, we see student ideas as resources and prioritize the refinement of these ideas in classroom communities using science practices. Viewing student ideas from a resources perspective emphasizes how students can make sense of new situations using their existing ideas as stepping stones. Student ideas include partial understandings, nonstandard ideas, and everyday experiences. In this view, students activate the their ideas and experiences they think will be helpful in developing explanations or solving problems in the particular contexts (e.g., the social and physical environment) in which they find themselves. The Framework and NGSS uses this resources perspective and prioritizes sense-making in advocating for a new vision for science teaching. The goal is for students to engage in knowledge-building practices (e.g., modeling, explanation, argumentation) as they use their ideas and developing understanding of scientific ideas to make sense of phenomena or solve problems. In this view, knowledge-building practices are tools the classroom community uses to recognize when an idea is or isn’t productive in the context in which it is being used. The following article and STEM Teaching Tool provide additional insight into this stance, as we work to move away from a focus on misconceptions and deficit framings of student ideas that might prevent students from willingly sharing and working with and on their ideas in science classrooms. Beyond the article, the STEM Teaching Tool included below can also serve as a resource for orienting to student ideas and sensemaking repertoires.