This review synthesized insights from 25 NSF DRK-12 projects that studied prekindergarten (PreK) and elementary science teaching. This review covered 25 of the 27 projects funded between 2011 and 2015. We synthesized the empirical findings from interventions in four common areas: preservice PreK and elementary preparation programs, in-service teacher professional development, instructional materials for PreK and elementary teachers, and strategies for diverse learners. Many of these projects studied interventions in more than one of the common areas. Researchers found that DRK-12 projects showed promise in increasing preservice and in-service teachers’ self-efficacy and pedagogical content knowledge and students’ science content knowledge.
- Relatively few DRK-12 projects studied preservice PreK and elementary preparation programs. Those that did study preservice PreK and elementary preparation programs found that professional development for in-service elementary teachers serving as mentors for preservice teachers may show promise in improving both teachers’ self-efficacy and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK).
- DRK-12 researchers found that professional development for in-service PreK and elementary science teachers that lasted one year or longer may lead to gains in teachers’ PCK and their students’ science content knowledge.
- DRK-12 researchers who studied the implementation of science instructional resources for PreK and elementary teachers found that use of these resources led to changes in teacher classroom practices (e.g., incorporating science practices more regularly) and gains in student science content knowledge.
- DRK-12 projects that investigated strategies for diverse learners mainly focused on emerging language learners. These projects found that the strategies they studied lead to changes in PreK and elementary teachers’ classroom practices (e.g., incorporating language development strategies).
To Learn More:
- Read the full report: https://www.air.org/project/advancing-methods-and-synthesizing-research-stem-education
- Reach out to the author, Danielle Ferguson, at firstname.lastname@example.org