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Nawani, Jigna; Kotzebue, Lena von; Spangler, Michael; Neuhaus, Birgit J. (2019): Engaging students in constructing scientific explanations in biology classrooms: a lesson-design model. In: Journal of Biological Education, Vol. 53, No. 4: pp. 378-389
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Constructing scientific explanations of natural phenomena is an important aim of science education. Explanation oriented science teaching approaches encourage learners to engage in sense-making discussions and construct the causal accounts of the phenomena under study. This article demonstrates a lesson-design model that guides biology teachers on how to integrate explanation oriented teaching in their everyday practice. The proposed model includes six phases: (1) presenting a hooking activity;(2) formulating a how-why type focus question;(3) constructing the initial causal story;(4) using authentic data, scientific facts, principles, and disciplinary core ideas to revise-refine the causal story;(5) discussing-rewriting the refined causal story;(6) applying the causal-mechanistic knowledge in a new context or problem scenario. An eleventh-grade lesson on the topic 'protein biosynthesis in cells' serves an example about how this model can be operationalized to design and implement explanation oriented biology lessons.