The research goals of this project are (1) to determine how the metacognitively-focused instructional tool called the Model-Observe-Reflect-Explain (MORE) Thinking Frame can be used in both high school and college chemistry laboratory courses to enhance metacognition, understanding, and problem solving, (2) to investigate how instructor professional development experiences can be designed to sustain the effective use of the MORE Thinking Frame, as well as specifically what instructors learn from such experiences, and (3) to augment and refine the model of how people use their metacognitive skills in the contexts of chemistry learning, problem solving, and instructor professional development. Design experiments will be employed to study the complex and dynamic interplay between instructor and student cognition (understanding, beliefs, metacognition); instructor professional development experiences; and classroom practices of communities of learners using the MORE Thinking Frame as instructional and professional development designs are simultaneously refined. Throughout the course of the project, a sequence of instructional and curricular developments that centrally involve the Model-Observe-Reflect-Explain (MORE) Thinking Frame will be implemented, studied, and refined. During the first year of the project, high school and college instructors will collaborate with the developers of the MORE Thinking Frame to learn about, adapt, and implement the MORE Frame in their own laboratory courses (without changing the experiments used in their existing curricula). In the second and third years of the project, the project team (including many of these instructors) will design problem-based laboratory modules to complement the use of the MORE Thinking Frame and to infuse more authentic inquiry into the chemistry laboratory courses.
Throughout the professional development experiences and successive implementations of the MORE Frame in various instructors' classrooms, data will be collected from a broad range of sources (both qualitative and quantitative) and analyzed to address the research questions and to inform future practice. In addition, a website will be constructed to provide information and support for implementing MORE curricula and instruction as well as to provide instructional materials for the problem-based modules developed. Finally, the project team will conduct workshops to disseminate information and materials. This project will generate new knowledge about how metacognitively-focused instructional tools can be used to enhance students' science learning in various instructional contexts; how to structure effective professional development experiences and what instructors learn from such experiences; how laboratory teaching practices are linked to students' chemistry learning; and the relationships among metacognition, chemistry teaching, and chemistry learning.