Preservice elementary school teachers' design & facilitation of engineering activities to support science learning
This study investigated how preservice elementary school teachers designed and facilitated science activities to confine or expand opportunities for student inquiry. As part of their enrollment in a Science Methods course within a Teacher Education Program, preservice teachers were tasked with designing activities aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and facilitating these activities at a Maker Faire for the community. Using a case study model, we focused attention on two preservice teachers who designed different activities and wore point-of-view cameras while facilitating. The first activity allowed children to make slime to learn about different states of matter. The second activity provided opportunities for children to tinker with various materials to develop models of magnetism. Detailed video analysis revealed that the overly procedural design of the slime station resulted in less diverse facilitation strategies and confined the student experience. In contrast, the expansive design of the magnetism station afforded space for student inquiry and resulted in more diverse facilitation strategies. Implications for educators and teacher educators are shared.
In this paper, we describe an event where 33 pre-service elementary school teachers planned and facilitated a School Maker Faire as part of their elementary science teaching methods course. We focus on one group of four pre-service teachers who facilitated a balloon rocket station and examine the decisions they made when facilitating children's interactions at the stations and how these decisions led to constraining or creating opportunities for children to engage in engineering design.