Design Approaches to Support Preservice Teachers in Scientific Modeling
ABSTRACT Engaging children in scientific practices is hard for beginning teachers. One such scientific practice with which beginning
teachers may have limited experience is scientific modeling. We have iteratively designed preservice teacher learning experiences
and materials intended to help teachers achieve learning goals associated with scientific modeling. Our work has taken place
across multiple years at three university sites, with preservice teachers focused on early childhood, elementary, and middle
school teaching. Based on results from our empirical studies supporting these design decisions, we discuss design features
of our modeling instruction in each iteration. Our results suggest some successes in supporting preservice teachers in engaging
students in modeling practice. We propose design principles that can guide science teacher educators in incorporating modeling
in teacher education.
KeywordsPreservice elementary and middle school teachers–Scientific modeling–Science methods course development
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ABSTRACT: This study examined the beliefs and rationale pre-service elementary teachers used to choose activities for upper-elementary students in a 1-week intensive science camp. Six undergraduate elementary pre-service teachers were observed as they took a semester-long science methods class that culminated in a 1-week science camp. This qualitative, phenomenological study found that counselors chose activities with the possibility of fun being a priority rather than teaching content, even after they were confronted with campers who demanded more content. Additionally, all six of the counselors agreed that activities involving variable manipulation were the most successful, even though content knowledge was not required to complete the activities. The counselors felt the variable manipulation activities were successful because students were constructing products and therefore getting to the end of the activity. Implications include building an awareness of the complexity of self-efficacy of science teaching and outcome expectancy to improve teacher education programs.Journal of Science Teacher Education 24(1).