Science

Model of Research-based Education (MORE) for Science Teacher Preparation

This article summarizes how a group of undergraduate regional university faculty built a program for rigorous and research-based science teacher preparation at the elementary level—namely, the “Model of Research-Based Education for Teachers” (MORE for Teachers). First, we discuss the research upon which the program is built: (1) a preparation infrastructure that includes rigorous content, focused teaching methods, and integrated field experiences with an emphasis on quality mentoring from cooperating teachers and (2) a conceptual framework for how people learn science.

Year: 
2013
Short Description: 
This article summarizes how a group of undergraduate regional university faculty built a program for rigorous and research-based science teacher preparation at the elementary level—namely, the “Model of Research-Based Education for Teachers” (MORE for Teachers).

Examining the Impact of Lesson-Analysis Based Teacher Education and Professional Development across Methods Courses, Student Teaching, and Induction

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Presentation on ViSTA at the 2017 NARST conference in San Antonio, Texas. The ViSTA Plus project is a multi-year preservice teacher education program for elementary teachers that spans the methods course, student teaching, and the first year of teaching.

High school students’ evaluations, plausibility (re) appraisals, and knowledge about topics in Earth science

Evaluation is an important aspect of science and is receiving increasing attention in science education. The present study investigated (1) changes to plausibility judgments and knowledge as a result of a series of instructional scaffolds, called model–evidence link activities, that facilitated evaluation of scientific and alternative models in four different Earth science topics (climate change, fracking and earthquakes, wetlands and land use, and the formation of Earth’s Moon) and (2) relations between evaluation, plausibility reappraisal, and knowledge.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Evaluation is an important aspect of science and is receiving increasing attention in science education. The present study investigated (1) changes to plausibility judgments and knowledge as a result of a series of instructional scaffolds, called model–evidence link activities, that facilitated evaluation of scientific and alternative models in four different Earth science topics (climate change, fracking and earthquakes, wetlands and land use, and the formation of Earth’s Moon) and (2) relations between evaluation, plausibility reappraisal, and knowledge.

Early Childhood Educators’ Self-Efficacy in Science, Math, and Literacy Instruction and Science Practice in the Classroom

Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers’ beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers’ practice in the area of science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers’ beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers’ practice in the area of science. Analysis of survey and observation data from 67 Head Start classrooms across eight programs indicated that domain-specific self-efficacy was highest for literacy, significantly lower for science, and lowest for math. Classrooms varied, but in general, engaged in literacy far more than science, contained a modest amount of science materials, and their instructional support of science was low. Importantly, self-efficacy for science, but not literacy or math, related to teachers frequency of engaging children in science instruction. Teachers’ education and experience did not predict self-efficacy for science. Practice or Policy: To enhance the science opportunities provided in early childhood classrooms, pre-service and in-service education programs should provide teachers with content and practices for science rather than focusing exclusively on literacy. Now more than ever, scientific literacy (i.e., systemizing methods, engaging in critical comparison, utilizing research to inform practice) has been recognized as vital for the 21st-century workforce (National Research Council, 2010 National Research Council. (2010). Exploring the intersection of science education and 21st century skills: A workshop summary. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press). Strong science education is critical for developing these skills in the U.S. population. However, U.S. elementary children perform below several of their international peers in science achievement tests (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2012). This is not surprising considering that the foundation for scientific understanding is shaky: Elementary teachers spend just 6% to 13% of their instructional time teaching science (NCES, 2012 National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The condition of education 2012. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012045.pdf), and preschool teachers devote even less time (4%–8% of instructional time) to promoting science experiences (Tu, 2006 Tu, T. (2006). Preschool science environment: What is available in a preschool classroom? Early Childhood Education Journal, 33, 245–251. doi:10.1007/s10643-005-0049-8). A primary factor, particularly among early childhood educators, is a lack of preparation for designing and implementing science education, which results in little confidence for teaching science (Greenfield et al., 2009 Greenfield, D. B., Jirout, J., Dominguez, X., Greenberg, A., Maier, M., & Fuccillo, J. (2009). Science in the preschool classroom: A programmatic research agenda to improve science readiness. Early Education & Development, 20, 238–264. doi:10.1080/10409280802595441; Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012 Hamlin, M., & Wisneski, D. B. (2012). Supporting the scientific thinking and inquiry of toddlers and preschoolers through play. Young Children, 67, 82–88). Of course, children are unlikely to develop necessary science knowledge and skills without effective science instruction and experiences (Gelman & Brenneman, 2012 Gelman, R., & Brenneman, K. (2012). Classrooms as learning labs. In N. Stein & S. Raudenbusch (Eds.), Developmental science goes to school (pp. 113–126). New York, NY: Routledge; Morris, Croker, Masnick, & Zimmerman, 2012 Morris, B. J., Croker, S., Masnick, A. M., & Zimmerman, C. (2012). The emergence of scientific reasoning. In H. Kloos, B. J. Morris, & J. L. Amaral (Eds.), Current topics in children’s learning and cognition (pp. 61–82). Rijeka, Croatia: InTech). Thus, one critical research aim fulfilled by the present study was to describe early childhood educator self-efficacy for science and identify how self-efficacy is related to the science opportunities provided in early childhood classrooms.

Emerging Design Principles for Online and Blended Teacher Professional Development in K-12 STEM Education

2017 CADRE Fellows

Between February and September 2017, awardees representing 11 projects participated in a series of activities designed to elicit and form consensus around emerging design principles for online and blended teacher PD programs in K–12 STEM education. The resulting principles are organized and presented around three themes: 

Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Following the launch of Spotlight on Online & Blended Professional Development (PD), CADRE convened awardees representing 11 DRK-12 projects in a series of activities designed to elicit and form consensus around emerging design principles for online and blended teacher PD programs. The resulting principles are presented in a new report.

The Leaders Handbook for the Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education (PRACTISE)

This handbook provides detailed information on how to conduct a series of research-based professional learning sessions focused on helping elementary classroom teachers to facilitate science argumentation with their students. Each session is 2-3 hours long and focuses on topics such as:

Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
The Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education (PRACTISE) is a professional learning program to support scientific argumentation in grades 3-5. This handbook provides detailed information on how to conduct a series of research-based professional learning sessions focused on helping elementary classroom teachers to facilitate science argumentation with their students.

Graphing Research on Inquiry with Data in Science (GRIDS) Curricular Units

Three middle school science curricular units on the topics of genetics, ocean biodiversity & discourse, and solar ovens & design critiques:
Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Three middle school science curricular units on the topics of genetics, ocean biodiversity & discourse, and solar ovens & design critiques.

MoDeLS: Would you drink the liquid that came from this dirty water? A 5th grade unit on evaporation and condensation investigating the phenomenon of a solar still

A curriculum unit developed through a collaboration between Michigan State University, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Wright State University and 5th grade teachers from Kinawa 5th-6th public school that enables students to develop and revise models for how water moves (evaporation and condensation) in a solar still.

Year: 
2011
Short Description: 
A curriculum unit developed through a collaboration between Michigan State University, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan, Wright State University and 5th grade teachers from Kinawa 5th-6th public school that enables students to develop and revise models for how water moves (evaporation and condensation) in a solar still.

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