Design-based science and student learning

David Fortus, R. Charles Dershimer, Joseph Krajcik, Ronald W. Marx, Rachel Mamlok-Naaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

191 Scopus citations


Design-Based Science (DBS) is a pedagogy in which the goal of designing an artifact contextualizes all curricular activities. Design is viewed as a vehicle through which scientific knowledge and real-world problem-solving skills can be constructed. Following Anderson and Hogan's (1999) call to document the design of new science pedagogies, this goal of this article is twofold: (a) to describe DBS, and (b) to evaluate whether significant science knowledge was constructed during consecutive enactments of three DBS units. In this study, 92 students participated in the consecutive enactments of three different DBS units. The development of their scientific knowledge was assessed through posters and models constructed during the curricular enactments and by identical pre- and post-instruction written tests. The posttests showed considerable gains compared with the pretests, while the models and posters show application of this newly constructed knowledge in solving a design problem. These positive results support efforts being made to restructure school science around inquiry-based curricula in general and design-based curricula in particular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1110
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

Fortus, D., Dershimer, R. C., Krajcik, J., Marx, R. W., & Mamlok-Naaman, R. (2004). Design-based science and student learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(10), 1081-1110.