Model-Based Instruction: Fostering Change in Evolutionary Conceptions and in Epistemic Practices

Clark A. Chinn, Luke A. Buckland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

39 Scopus citations


Conceptual change in the domain of evolution requires two simultaneous changes: changes in students' theoretical conceptions (i.e., developing a proper understanding of evolutionary models) and changes in students' epistemic practices (i.e., learning the inquiry practices scientists use to develop, revise, and evaluate explanatory models). Model-based inquiry instruction is a promising method for achieving these dual goals. The chapter describes a general approach to model-based inquiry which has been developed; this approach incorporates a variety of scaffolds to support growth in both content understanding and the epistemic practices of science. It also reviews research on evolution instruction and discuss several promising evolution curricula that employ model-based inquiry. Finally, the chapter makes suggestions for new instructional methods based on the review.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEvolution Challenges
Subtitle of host publicationIntegrating Research and Practice in Teaching and Learning about Evolution
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199949557
ISBN (Print)9780199730421
StatePublished - Sep 20 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


  • Conceptual change
  • Epistemic practices
  • Model-based inquiry
  • Science education
  • Understanding evolution


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