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Visible Learning for Science, Grades K-12

Visible Learning for Science, Grades K-12
What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning

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March 2018 | 216 pages | Corwin
In the best science classrooms, teachers see learning through the eyes of their students, and students view themselves as explorers. But with so many instructional approaches to choose from—inquiry, laboratory, project-based learning, discovery learning—which is most effective for student success?  

In Visible Learning for Science, the authors reveal that it’s not which strategy, but when, and plot a vital K-12 framework for choosing the right approach at the right time, depending on where students are within the three phases of learning: surface, deep, and transfer. 

Synthesizing state-of-the-art science instruction and assessment with over fifteen years of John Hattie’s cornerstone educational research, this framework for maximum learning spans the range of topics in the life and physical sciences. Employing classroom examples from all grade levels, the authors empower teachers to plan, develop, and implement high-impact instruction for each phase of the learning cycle:  

Surface learning: when, through precise approaches, students explore science concepts and skills that give way to a deeper exploration of scientific inquiry.  

Deep learning: when students engage with data and evidence to uncover relationships between concepts—students think metacognitively, and use knowledge to plan, investigate, and articulate generalizations about scientific connections.  

Transfer learning: when students apply knowledge of scientific principles, processes, and relationships to novel contexts, and are able to discern and innovate to solve complex problems.

Visible Learning for Science opens the door to maximum-impact science teaching, so that students demonstrate more than a year’s worth of learning for a year spent in school. 

List of Videos
About the Authors
Chapter 1. Science Learning Made Visible
Visible Learning

Surface, Deep, and Transfer

Challenging Tasks

Science Is More Than Demonstrations and Labs

The Role of Social Skills in Science

Teacher Clarity


Reflection Questions

Chapter 2. Science Surface Learning Made Visible
Surface Learning in Science

Selecting Science Tasks That Promote Surface Learning

Surface Learning in Science Made Visible

Scientific Processes and Thinking



Reflection Questions

Chapter 3. Science Deep Learning Made Visible
Deep Learning in Science

Selecting Science Tasks That Promote Deep Learning

Deep Learning in Science Made Visible

Scientific Processes and Thinking



Reflection Questions

Chapter 4. Science Transfer Learning Made Visible
Transfer Learning

Types of Transfer: Near and Far

The Paths for Transfer: Low-Road Hugging and High-Road Bridging

Managing Misconceptions

Conditions Necessary for Transfer Learning

Selecting Science Tasks That Promote Transfer Learning

Helping Students Transform Scientific Understanding

Scientific Processes and Thinking



Reflection Questions

Chapter 5. Science Learning Made Visible Through Evaluation
Determining Impact

Calculating the Effect Size

Selecting Evaluations That Promote

Response to Intervention in the Science Classroom

Learning From What Doesn’t Work


Reflection Questions



The authors have written a book with research to support that various learning techniques are effective at different times. Its lack of ‘an all or nothing’ approach truly impresses. This book reminds teachers to make relevance obvious when teaching science standards and that mistakes are necessary for learning to occur. It is so relevant in today’s school climate and is an easy read for busy teachers who are trying to do the best they can for their students.”

Mandy Frantti, Teacher, Munising Public Schools
Munising Public Schools

Visible Learning for Science is a great science methods text with its many, many great examples and excellent inclusion of research. I would definitely use this book in the classroom!”

Dr. Rita Hagevik, Associate Professor and Graduate Director of Science Education, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Key features
  • video clips will illustrate the topics in science classrooms at elementary, middle, and high school levels [NEED TO DISCUSS VIDEO]
  • includes planning tools, rubrics, and templates
  • includes how-to's for planning pre and post assessments as well as alternate forms of assessment such as PBA 

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781506394206

ISBN: 9781506394183