Grounded in empirical research, this book offers concrete pathways to direct attention towards elementary science teaching that privileges sensemaking, rather than isolated activities and vocabulary. Outlining a clear vision for this shift using research-backed tools, pedagogies, and practices to support teacher learning and development, this edited volume reveals how teachers can best engage in teaching that supports meaningful learning and understanding in elementary science classrooms.

Divided into three sections, this book demonstrates the skills, knowledge bases, and research-driven practices necessary to make a fundamental shift towards a focus on students’ ideas and reasoning, and covers topics such as:

  • An introduction to sensemaking in elementary science;
  • Positioning students at the center of sensemaking;
  • Planning and enacting investigation-based science discussions;
  • Designing a practice-based elementary teacher education program;
  • Reflections on science teacher education and professional development for reform-based elementary science.

In line with current reform efforts, including the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), Sensemaking in Elementary Science is the perfect resource for graduate students and researchers in science education, elementary education, teacher education, and STEM education looking to explore effective practice, approaches, and development within the elementary science classroom.

chapter |12 pages

Working Toward a Vision of Sensemaking in Elementary Science

An Introduction to Sensemaking in Elementary Science: Supporting Teacher Learning
ByElizabeth A. Davis, Carla Zembal-Saul, Sylvie M. Kademian

section I|2 pages

Images of the Possible

chapter 1|16 pages

Positioning Students at the Center of Sensemaking

Productive Grappling with Data
ByCarla Zembal-Saul, Kimber Hershberger

chapter 2|15 pages

Portrait of a First-Grade Teacher

Using Science Practices to Leverage Young Children’s Sensemaking in Science
ByAmber S. Bismack, Leigh Ann Haefner

chapter 3|18 pages

Science, Engineering, Literacy, and Place-Based Education

Powerful Practices for Integration
ByJennifer L. Cody, Mandy Biggers

chapter 4|14 pages

Literacy Practices for Sensemaking in Science that Promote Epistemic Alignment

ByLeeAnna Hooper, Carla Zembal-Saul

chapter 5|9 pages

Response: Making Sense of Sensemaking in Elementary Education

Perspectives from Identity and Implications for Equity
ByLucy Avraamidou

section II|2 pages

Promising Practices, Tools, and Frameworks

chapter 7|16 pages

Approximations of Practice

Scaffolding for Preservice Teachers
ByElizabeth A. Davis

chapter 8|16 pages

Planning and Enacting Investigation-based Science Discussions

Designing Tools to Support Teacher Knowledge for Science Teaching
BySylvie M. Kademian, Elizabeth A. Davis

chapter 9|16 pages

Scaffolding Beginning Teaching Practices

An Analysis of the Roles Played by Tools Provided to Preservice Elementary Science Teachers
BySarah J. Fick, Anna Maria Arias

chapter 11|17 pages

A Framework for the Teaching Practice of Supporting Students to Construct Evidence-Based Claims Through Data Analysis

A Lens for Considering Teacher Learning Opportunities
ByAnna Maria Arias

chapter 12|9 pages

Response: Scaffolds, Tools, and Transitions Toward Disciplined Improvisation

ByMatthew Kloser, Mark Windschitl

section III|2 pages

Supportive Contexts for Professional Learning

chapter 13|15 pages

Designing a Practice-Based Elementary Teacher Education Program and Supporting Professional Learning in Science Teaching

ByElizabeth A. Davis, Annemarie S. Palincsar, Sylvie M. Kademian

chapter 14|14 pages

Learning to Teach Science in an Elementary Professional Development School Partnership

ByCarla Zembal-Saul, Bernard Badiali, Alicia M. McDyre, Brittany Mueller

chapter 15|15 pages

Starting Small

Creating a Supportive Context for Professional Learning that Fosters Emergent Bilingual Children’s Sensemaking in Elementary Science
ByMegan Hopkins, Carla Zembal-Saul, May H. Lee, Jennifer L. Cody

chapter 16|8 pages

Response: Supporting Elementary Teacher Learning to Teach Science

ByJan H. van Driel

chapter |15 pages


Reflections on Science Teacher Education and Professional Development for Reform-Based Elementary Science
ByCory T. Forbes