2018 International Conference Proceedings

Paper #11069: Investigating Student Attitudes and Achievements in K-12 STEM Classrooms: A Preliminary Meta-Analysis

Principal Author: Ibrahim H. Yeter, Purdue University
Co-Authors: Cristina Diordieva, Texas Tech University


This study provides preliminary results on the relationship between student’s attitude and achievement in K-12 STEM classrooms. The study uses meta-analysis technique to examine 10 qualified recent studies consist of  18 effect sizes. In order to have a deeper understanding about the student’s attitude and achievement in STEM classrooms, there are 6 subgroups conducted. They are (1) types of publication, (2) year of publication, (3) sample size, (4) grade level, (5) type of measurement, and finally (6) the origin of the study. Among the total of qualified reviews, a total sample size of 25,113 K-12 participants in and out of the USA. The analysis consists of 1 elementary school level review (N=172), 12 middle school level reviews (N=23,216) and 5 high school level (N=1,725). Consistent with the current reviews, the findings show that student’s attitude and achievement in STEM has a positive relationship with a moderate effect (ES= +0.28). It is found that there are some consistency and inconsistency in the categorized subgroups. There is a consistency in the year of publications (p < 0.56) and sample sizes (p < 0.41) whereas there is an inconsistency in the type of publication, grade level, and type of measurement and the origin of the study. Among the grade level subgroup, elementary school level has the largest effect on STEM achievement, with an effect size of +0.46 following high school and middle school levels with the effect sizes of +0.32 and +0.26, respectively. The results from this study contribute to the field of STEM education research not only for researchers to understand the relationship between students’ attitudes and achievements, but also inform current and future STEM teachers to understand how to improve students’ achievement in STEM subjects. These findings are discussed in details along with the conclusion.

Paper #10435: An Exploratory Study to Identify Constructs to Build the Assessment for Task Specific Creativities in STEM Integrated Learning Environment and its Related Issues

Principal Author: Tomoki Saito, Shizuoka University


     This session provides a perspective to assess creativities in STEM Integrated Learning Environment. By using traditional testing tools and qualitative analyses, the author found that the creativities in SILE have possibilities to transfer beyond the tasks among the projects’ context.  Although the assessment indicated domain specificities, the specific tasks could have transferred from the projects to the students’ own learning context.

     Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (Torrance, 1965) had been used to assess creativity and has used on the transdisciplinary approaches like STS. Although many of those applications of TTCT assumed that the Divergent Thinking skill was single creativity factor throughout those contexts, where the test has been applied (Bear, 1993). The other set of inquiries applied Consensual Assessment Technique (Amabile, 1984) as the assessment tool for creativities. CAT had more focus on the difference of creativities in contexts and domain experts assessed “products” of learners. In this sense, it is also suitable for Project based Learning, because PBLs focus on the students products. The result of TTCT in SILE, in this study, indicated that the divergent thinking on the tasks had the correlation particularly between the “cause” and “conclusion” tasks. The correlation scores were relatively high, but were not enough to evaluate they had convergent validity. Further, the CAT result showed experts of sciences assessed differently the presentations of students’ research result in SILE.

     Qualitative data had taken from the SILE and the students reflected on a worksheet where they applied divergent thinking during their STEM activities after every lesson and where they applied divergent thinking during their independent inquiries. Those descriptions coded on 8 practices (NGSS Achieve, 2013) and figured out what the constructs of creativities are, if divergent thinking is not a single creative factor.

     From those analyses, the creativities in SILE have possibilities to transfer beyond the tasks inside a projects’ context.  Furthermore, although the CAT indicated domain specificities, the qualitative analyses showed specific tasks could have transferred from the projects to the students’ own inquiries. Thus, the author claims that transdisciplinary STEM approaches improve transferability of creativity among tasks related to the STEM projects or related contexts like independent inquiries in this case.

Paper #11068: Can dissection alternatives replace traditional dissection in the biology classroom?

Principal Author: Katherine A. Wolcott, Ludwig-Maximilians-University & Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich, Germany
Co-Authors: Michael Apel, Museum Mensch und Natur Munich; Michael John Gorman, BIOTOPIA Bayern; Bernhard Ruthensteiner, Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich; Gerhard Haszprunar, Ludwig-Maximilians-University & Zoologische Staatssammlung Munich; Lena von Kotzebue, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich


In order to answer the question―Can dissection alternatives replace traditional dissection in the biology classroom?―we created a digital 3D model of Helix pomatia (edible snail) for use as a testable alternative to dissection. The anatomically-realistic model, HAPI Helix, was designed from micro-CT scans, which have not yet been used to develop digital 3D models in the biology classroom, outside of a few recent attempts in human medicine (see for ex. VIRTUAL Liver, Primal Pictures). Despite a rising demand for dissection alternatives, experiments evaluating their effectiveness for student learning are lacking. To address this, we also created a classroom protocol for future implementation of HAPI Helix and a classroom learning experiment to measure student learning. The classroom learning experiment consists of three student treatment groups: dissection only, dissection + HAPI Helix, HAPI Helix only. Student treatment groups were evaluated pre- and post-activity in an intellectual component and an emotional component. Student learning styles, ability to mentally visualize in 3D, and previous anatomy knowledge were also considered. A Linear Mixed-Effects Model was used to determine which variables (treatment group, learning styles, etc.) had the greatest influence on student learning. First applications of HAPI Helix and the classroom learning experiment were on a natural history museum audience and on biology university students and professors in Munich, Germany. Analysis of our results is on-going, but based on previous studies (Randler et al. 2012, 2013), we expect to see few differences in the intellectual component, and greatest differences in the emotional component. Specifically, students who perform the dissection are expected to feel greater respect and less fear for the snails post-activity. This contribution of much-needed data on student learning with dissection alternatives will provide guidance for the implementation of digital 3D learning modules in museums and classrooms, especially as desire to move away from traditional dissection is increasing.

Paper #16044: Planning Structures of an Effective Elementary Science Program

Principal Author: Kimberly Davis, University of Central Florida
Co-Authors: Tonjua B.. Freeman, University of Central Florida; Malcolm B.. Butler, University of Central Florida


Many aspects of our world rely upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) (NRC, 2014). Although STEM fields are so important in the United States (US), students in our country continue to be outperformed in STEM by students in other countries (NRC, 2014). By the time many US students graduate from high school, they do not have a sufficient foundation in science or math. Therefore, there is a need to help students achieve at higher levels in STEM. Numerous studies aimed at increasing levels of science achievement focus on what teachers are doing in their individual classrooms. This case study is unique in that it focuses on aspects of a school’s organization and leadership that may affect students’ science achievement. The researchers will share some of this school’s keys to success that are based on planning structures of the school’s leadership.


This study is a small part of a larger research project that focuses on the effects that the organization and leadership of elementary schools may have on the science achievement of students. Several prior studies are based on the work of Bryk (2010). This particular study utilizes Parsons’ model of organizational effectiveness (Parsons, 1956, 1959).               


This study is guided by the following research question:

What planning structures were implemented by school leadership to facilitate a successful elementary science program?                           

Semi-structured interviews and survey data were used to develop this case study.            


Findings indicate that the leadership at the school would be seen as an effective school based on Parsons’ model of organizational effectiveness. Through qualitative data gathered and supplemented by survey data, planning (i.e. specialization) is found to be a recurring theme and appears to be a key factor of the effectiveness using Parson’s Model of Organizational Effectiveness.

Paper #11067: Convergent educational design of science history in Korea

Principal Author: Yunji Kim


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In the sense that it covers the history of mankind from the big bang to the present, big history(BH) is the attempt to understand, in a unified, interdisciplinary way, the history of the cosmos, earth, life, and humanity. Big history does not only mean time and spatial expansion and integration in the scope of research in the field of history, but is a new concept of world history that encompasses starting from the Big Bang, the evolution of the universe, the birth of the earth, and the origin of living creatures and mankind, as well as the development of the present civilization and its transformation into the future.

In Korea, global history became known in earnest through the International Conference on History held at Seoul National University in August 2002. In 2008, Ewha Woman’s University's Earth History Research Institute was established. In the summer of 2009, David Christian Professor was invited for a big history lecture and, finally, the Korea big history Study organization was formed in 2012. In Korea, many universities have interest in big history and started to open the curriculum.

In this study, the big history literatures were analyzed in order to extract science concepts that could be included in pre-service science teachers' convergence lessons from the perspective of astronomy. This study designed the science convergence curriculum to teach big history, which is global history that combines science and humanity in an integrated way, considering how to teach history to pre-service and in-service science teachers. Through the lectures on history of science in the liberal arts curriculum at the college of education, big history integrated with astronomy can be used to realize the effective convergence education of science teachers.

Paper #13030: Building a Growth Mindset through Engineering & Integrative STEM Education

Principal Author: Bryanne M. Peterson, Virginia Tech


Engineering is STEM’s key to unlocking the growth mindset in our students. Come take a walk through the engineering design process in this workshop and see how engineering is well-situated to integrate instructional strategies and increase student achievement while your students’ build a growth mindset. As teachers, we have a responsibility to provide a learning environment that engages our students- fostering student learning and creativity while preparing them for their futures. Growth mindset is not just a buzz word at this point, it is a necessary non-cognitive skill that we need to be fostering in our students. The engineering design process is a currently under-utilized technology in our toolbox. Participants will participate in a design challenge, modeling exercises, pedagogical content knowledge discussions, and receive formative feedback as part of the process.

Paper #13029: An Integrated Approach to Water Science and Computational Literacy

Principal Author: Bess Caplan, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Co-Authors: Garrett Love, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics; Alan R.. Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies


CompHydro is a collaborative research project that supports an integrated approach to Water Science and Computational literacy, combining effective methods into the design and implementation of learning experiences that enable high school students and teachers to reason across physical, computational and conceptual scientific models. This experiential session engages participants in the role of students and samples activities that are part of a larger module focused on runoff, infiltration and other concepts related to surface flow and inspired by urban flooding events. The presented activities follow a conceptual progression designed to introduce students to the purpose and basic methodology of computational modeling, as follows:

Physical system -> physical analog model -> conceptual model -> computational model -> computational system

The paint tray runoff model serves as a physical analog to a watershed, allowing students to examine runoff and water retention under different scenarios of infiltration and storage by directly observing and quantitatively measuring the model system.

Floorlandia is a conceptual model presented as an interactive game, with a grid structure representation of a physical environment, game ‘pieces’ representing discrete volumes of water and a set of ‘rules’ to be generated by classroom discussion. Key computational principles such as discretization, time-stepping, and boundary conditions are introduced during the process of determining the appropriate algorithm for aligning the game behavior with that of the physical model.

Students are then encouraged to explore and critique a computational model of Floorlandia in the interest of establishing the validity and value of the model before considering a more complex runoff model constructed from elevation data gathered from an actual watershed in Baltimore County. Classroom experiences at each level of this progression serve to establish and reinforce the connection between valid computational systems and the physical systems they are constructed to represent.

Paper #11066: Evidence- based Supports for Students with LD & EBD in Inclusive Science Classrooms

Principal Author: Jonte Taylor, Pennsylvania State University


Career fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are considered areas of occupational and financial growth.  As an element of the STEM movement, science instruction has traditionally not been a successful area for students with disabilities.  Achievement in science for students with EBD and LD has been considerably lacking when compared to student without disabilities.  Poor achievement in science now can possible hinder the future occupational success, financial earning capabilities, and ultimately quality of life for students with EBD and LD.  Based on the works of Therien, Taylor, Hosp, Kaldenberg, and Gorsh (2011) and Therrien, Taylor, Watt, and Kaledenberg (2014), this presentation will discuss evidenced-based practices in science for students with EBD and LD for inclusive classrooms.

Paper #10434: Providing Access to STEM Careers through STEM GemsTM: A Community and University Partnership Approach

Principal Author: Natalie S. King, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Katherine Wade-Jaimes, University of Memphis; Patricia S. Dunac-Morgan, Fayette County Schools


In this interactive presentation, the presenters will share strategies on how they fostered mutually beneficial partnerships by leveraging community and university resources to engage pre-service teachers in the development of lessons that expose children to careers in STEM. They will present examples of STEM GemsTM lessons that were created by the teacher candidates, and lessons learned based on the teacher candidates’ and instructors’ reflections from the course. Presenters will discuss challenges K-16 educators face in increasing non-traditional representation in  STEM fields, through university and community partnerships. With the US student population becoming increasingly diverse, it is essential that all students have access to high-quality education for an opportunity to become productive citizens of this democracy. Furthermore, if the US is to maintain its national security and global competitiveness in the 21st century, the state of education in STEM must be improved in our schools and universities. Recent reports have indicated the need to improve the educational experiences for students of color and low-income populations because they are not prepared to pursue careers in STEM fields (McNeil & Blad, 2014). Furthermore, research also indicates that even though African American girls are interested in science, they often do not feel welcomed and experience racism and sexism in science classrooms (e.g., Hanson, 2008). Thus, there is a growing need to make science learning accessible for more populations of students. Science learning in informal settings can potentially broaden the participation of underrepresented populations in science and engineering. In this study, the authors co-taught an Introduction to Secondary Science Teaching methods course. The authors partnered with a community-based organization to provide teacher candidates microteaching experience prior to their practicum placements in the field. The teacher candidates co-taught third through fifth graders enrolled in a summer STEAM camp at a community center over the course of 3 weeks. Additionally, they designed STEM activities to expose children to careers in the STEM disciplines.

Paper #11065: Science Education Research Trends in Latin America

Principal Author: William Medina, University of Texas at El Paso


The purpose of this study was to survey and report on the empirical literature at the intersection of science education research in Latin American and previous studies addressing international research trends in this field. Despite the internationalization of the science education community, as represented by the publication of the work generated in non-English-speaking countries, research trends in science education in Latin America are uncommon in the literature. Collective review findings are presented with respect to authors nationality, publication volume generated in each country, research type and topic, collaborative research, and areas for future research. Of the ten countries represented in this study, Brazilian authors were the most research active scholars followed by their colleagues from Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina. Findings in this study suggest a relationship between investment power in Research and Development (R&D) and the scholarly productivity not only in science education but also in the scientific field in the countries of the region.

Paper #10433: Experience of the Neophyte Science Teachers: Through Their Eyes

Principal Author: David Thornton, University of South Florida


A variety of lenses have been used to examine the world of the novice science teacher. A degree of agency is provided by looking through the eyes of the beginning teacher. Previous studies focused on researcher or program’s orientation, the successes of various educator preparation programs, or were limited in scope to elementary teachers of science. This study is conducted to better understand and appreciate the high school novice science teacher’s view of science, teaching, and teaching science in the today’s contextual setting. Experiences encountered during the initial year of teaching high school science and as perceived by teachers without previous professional teaching experience presents are presented. A multiple case study is built around four individual novice cases from one of the largest school districts in the state of Florida. Of the four cases, three participants were rehired for the following year. The fourth left teaching after nine weeks. The research questions are: How do today’s novice science teachers describe their first year’s teaching experiences? How do novice teacher’s feelings about being science teachers change during their first year of teaching? How do beginning science teachers describe their successes? And, what challenges do today’s beginning science teachers face? These research questions are asked to relate the novice experiences and perceptions associated with the initial year of teaching high school science. Emergent themes included concerns for questionable ethical administrative actions and poor administrative decisions as they are perceived by the novice science teacher. Findings of the multiple case study relate experiences perceived as positive, bureaucratic, involving student and parent apathy, local administration, and missed communications. Beliefs changed about student needs, mandated science exams, district micromanagement, confidence, and unique personal changes. Descriptions provided of success involved mentoring, students, lesson planning, confidence, and retention. Perceived challenges were parent and student apathy, mandated science exam validity, student needs, micromanagement of science lessons, discipline, abandonment, and development. The researcher was employed as a science teacher in the same district as the participants, but at a separate high school.

Paper #10432: Using Digital Technologies to Explore Student Engagement and Content Knowledge in Informal Science Contexts

Principal Author: Amanda Obery, Montana State University
Co-Authors: Nicholas Lux, Montana State University


Though a body of literature exists on how digital technologies can be used measure content knowledge, few investigate the relationship between content knowledge and student engagement in informal contexts. Better understanding the relationship between engagement and learning in informal contexts may be a critical step in improving STEM pathways, especially considering the role engagement plays in predicting future aspirations in science. To address this gap, this study aims to understand how digital technologies can be implemented in informal science contexts to measure content knowledge and student engagement. Results from this study will have implications for practitioners looking to design informal science activities using digital technologies as well as provide additional understanding about the relationship between student engagement and content knowledge.

Paper #14021: Investigating the Difference between Virtual Discussion-Based Interactions and Face-to-Face Interactions with Scientists with Middle School Students

Principal Author: Donna Farland-Smith, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Brandon Grossman, NYC Schools


This study addresses the problem of addressing stereotypical images of scientists held by middle school students and this research provides data to help understand the factors that contribute to students’ perceptions of scientists. Historically, research has firmly established that students draw stereotypical images of scientists (Barman, 1997; Chambers, 1983).  Chambers (1983) and Schibeci & Sorenson (1983) indicated that as students’ progress through successfully higher grade levels, their images of scientists become more and more stereotypical. This particular study analyzed the delivery method (virtual, discussion-based interactions with scientists) of interactions with scientists and if they are is similar or different to previous studies by this researcher when the scientists were face-to-face.

Paper #10431: Helping students “see like a geologist” using virtual field experiences (VFEs)

Principal Author: Glenn Dolphin, University of Calgary
Co-Authors: Brandon Karchewski, University of Calgary; Alex Dutchak, University of Calgary; Jonathan Cooper, University of Calgary


Recent increases in student enrollment in geology at the University of Calgary have caused curtailment of course related field activities. As a result, students have no field experiences until their third year. Issues of resource availability are more common in geology departments across North America. Developing virtual field experiences (VFEs) is becoming a popular strategy to address these recent challenges.

Through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles–drones–we collected high-resolution imagery from geologically important local areas for making our VFEs. The VFE allows students to approach field exercises in a laboratory setting, and develop skills in historical thinking, and visual and spatial reasoning, or “seeing like a geologist”.

Our data–almost 2,000 high resolution photographs from one of three VFE locations– taken during the summer of 2016, is incorporated in a composite image of Mount Yamnuska. Students can explore the image in a non-linear fashion in an effort to develop understanding of why that particular terrain looks the way it does. The VFE consists of a composite image of the high-resolution data, embedded into a Google Earth platform for convenient accessibility to all students.

We piloted the VFE during a three-hour lab period in an introductory geology course (about 330 students), near the end of the 2016 fall term. We gathered student data concerning their experiences participating in the VFE from the teaching assistants of each of the 20 lab sections, student answers on the lab worksheets, as well as audio recordings and observations by one of the researchers of two different groups of students while they were participating in the VFE activities.

  From these data, we found:

1. Students seemed overwhelmed by the open-endedness of the activity. Instead of attempting to generalize from their observations, they were interested only in the “right answer.”

2. The nature of the VFE allows one to zoom between mountain-scale features and meter-scale features. Yet, students did not really take advantage of this; choosing, instead to stay at one scale of representation.

The findings suggest we need to introduce the VFE multiple times for different purposes in order for students to take full advantage of the strengths of such a model. Also, we should model in lab and class the iterative process of fieldwork; building details into a big picture and using the big picture to contextualize the details.

Paper #10430: Urban Teacher Professional Development for a Literacy-rich, Problem Based Learning/Engineering Design Project for Elementary Students

Principal Author: Anita M. Martin, Indiana University Northwest
Co-Authors: Sharon Pratt, Indiana University Northwest


The science education research community that examines urban environments has begun to articulate that urban students in public schools are not all low-income, minority students who struggle academically, and that research that centers its study on these premises creates/promotes deficit oriented foci that fail to consider the ways in which appropriate and culturally relevant professional development can have a positive impact on all students in cities containing high populations in densely concentrated areas.  This present study is framed around the notions of three novel tool sets (Calabrese Barton, Tan, & O’Neill, 2014), that of knowledge of space, funds of knowledge, and practices in identities and their role in designing culturally relevant and appropriate professional development opportunities.  We examine how these notions find their voice during professional development designed to support urban teachers efforts to bring rich opportunities for elementary students in STEM with an engineering design emphasis and a literacy-rich element within a problem-based learning approach.

Paper #10429: I Can Be a Scientist! Possible Selves, Conceptual Change, and Elementary Teacher Self-Efficacy in an NGSS Context

Principal Author: Teresa M.. Woods, Fort Hays State University


Empowering elementary teachers to feel competent in teaching science, to actually be competent, and to believe that their students are competent to learn science are paramount issues to address in elementary science methods courses for pre-service teachers.  Pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) often carry misconceptions about science and have difficulty imagining teaching science effectively.  This study qualitatively analyzes essays composed by PSETs describing the effects an elementary science methods course had on their conceptions of science and scientists, their own identities as science teachers, and the aspects of the course that caused these changes, including learned strategies.  The course, designed to emphasize conceptual understanding based on constructivist learning theory and phenomenon-based approaches, incorporates the NGSS as our state science standards.  The course also serves predominantly online students, yet incorporates social learning effectively.  Findings based on 56 course completers indicate that 77% of the PSETs changed their views about who scientists are and what they do, with the change linked to correcting misconceptions of scientists, expanding their views of scientists to include themselves and their students, deepening understanding of the purpose and meaning in teaching science, and learning multiple strategies and perspectives tied to key course assignments that were transformative.

This study provides evidence that NGSS reforms positively impact PSET self-concepts for teaching science in elementary classrooms.  Further, it is informative for researchers interested in constructs of self-efficacy and possible-selves in terms of emergent themes based on PSETs’ constructed thoughts.  Finally, this presentation provides evidence that online instruction in elementary science methods is not only possible, but it can be effective and transformative while utilizing social constructivist principles.


Paper #10428: Supporting K-12 Teachers’ Instruction about Water using Scientific Modeling: Looking Across Multiple Projects

Principal Author: Tina Vo, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Co-Authors: Cory T. Forbes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Scientific modeling is a core practice used extensively in the geosciences to explain concepts, predict phenomena, and illustrate and represent interactions and relationships within complex Earth systems. One complex Earth system that spans K-12 standards for science teaching and learning is water (NRC, 2012). To help students become more scientifically literate, teachers must support students’ model-based reasoning about water systems.  However, prior research has shown that teachers need support to effectively engage students in model-based experiences with water.  To address this necessity, our team designed and implemented multiple programs over the past five years to enhance the professional learning of both preservice and inservice K-12 teachers spanning multiple externally-funded projects.  A consistent thread in this work has been an emphasis on scientific modeling to teach and support students’ learning about water systems.  To meet the unique and varied needs of prospective and practicing teachers as professional learners, we designed rich learning opportunities to iteratively co-construct instructional materials, enhance teachers’ conceptual understanding of water-related phenomena, and reflected on samples of classroom instruction. We also supported teachers’ engagement with computer-based water models and simulations. Each project was explicitly developed to meet the unique needs of the population we sought to serve. In the beginning, needs were developed based on the literature. Eventually, each project evolved to account for specific participants’ needs. Here, we will examine the different structures we utilized to address the needs of preservice and inservice elementary, middle, and high school teachers teaching about water using scientific models and modeling.  We also discuss how each group struggled with various aspects of teaching about scientific modeling as a practice of science and how professional learning opportunities ameliorated aspects of those issues, providing examples and artifacts that could prove useful in other teaching contexts.

Paper #10427: Impact of Short Term Professional Development on K – 5 Teachers’ Knowledge of Subject Matter and Integration of Science and Nonfiction Texts

Principal Author: Terry Shiverdecker, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Deborah Lan, The Ohio State University


Nonfiction Texts in Inquiry-Based Science Text Set Conferences (NFTI Science TSC) are two-day working conferences designed to introduce grades K – 5 teachers to the fundamentals of integrating nonfiction text sets (NFTS) into inquiry-based science units. The target audience for the conferences is teams of three to five elementary science educators from high need buildings. Teams must include at least one K – 2 teacher and may include additional K – 5 teachers, curriculum directors, principals, instructional coaches, or librarians. Teams are generally a mix of K – 5 teachers, but it is not uncommon for a principal, curriculum director, or instructional coach to be a member of a team. Five K – 5 conferences were held from October 2014 through December 2016.

The primary goal of this quasi-experimental research was to determine if short-term professional development results in sufficient gains in pedagogical knowledge so that teachers can develop NFTS for classroom use. A secondary goal was to determine if the act of constructing a NFTS leads to gains in subject matter knowledge (SMK). A pre/post assessment was used to measure changes in pedagogical knowledge. Participants took the assessment at the beginning and end of the conference. Changes in SMK were measured with a pre/post assessment given before and after the development of a NFTS on an assigned topic. Teams developed the text set after the conference. The NFTS on the assigned topic was the second NFTS developed by the teams. During the conference teams developed a NFTS on a topic of their choice.

Preliminary findings indicate that participants had a statistically significant gain in pedagogical knowledge. Eighty-six participants completed the pre/post assessments, demonstrating a gain in the total post score, the mean increased by 1.32 (from 8.87 to 10.19). The two-tailed P value is less than 0.001. The findings for SMK were not significant. Kindergarten through Grade 2 teachers (n=14) demonstrated a gain in the total post score, the mean increased by 0.93 (from 10.71 to 11.64). The two-tailed P value was 0.25, not statistically significant. Grades three through five teachers (n=23) did not demonstrate an appreciable gain.

This research is part of the larger NFTI Science program funded through the Ohio Department of Education’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships program.

Paper #11064: Training the Trainers: Designing the Power of Data Facilitation Academies

Principal Author: Brooke A. Whitworth, University of Mississippi
Co-Authors: Nena E. Bloom, Northern Arizona University; Megan C. Walker, Northern Arizona University; Lori A. Rubinho-Hare, Northern Arizona University


This design-based research study examined two cycles of development, enactment, analysis, and redesign of the Power of Data (POD) Facilitation Academy.  Facilitators’ geospatial technology skills, understanding of POD Principles, and preparation for and stages of concern facilitators held for implementing POD Teacher Workshops were investigated.  The POD Team (n=5), consisting of geologists, geospatial technology (GST) experts, and science educators, analyzed the previous POD PD Model using a learner and outcome focused approach to curriculum development consistent with design-based research. Using these results the first POD Facilitation Academy and Guide were developed and enacted.  Two cohorts of facilitators (n=28) participated in the POD Facilitation Academy designed to prepare them to implement POD Teacher Workshops designed to support teachers in learning how to incorporate GST through Geospatial Inquiry in their classrooms.  Data sources included a Pre-Academy Perceptions Survey, Daily Debrief Forms for both the POD Team and facilitators, observations of the Academy, a GST performance assessment, a Post-Academy Perceptions Survey, and a Post-Academy Perceptions Interview.  Analysis of these data informed the redesign and modification of the POD Facilitation Academy.  The qualitative data were analyzed using deductive analysis.  Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and non-parametric statistics.  Findings may provide a better understanding of the stages of concern facilitators hold prior to implementing professional development which may provide insight into the support facilitators need in the implementation and scaling up of professional development. We begin to suggest design principles for scaling up teacher professional development.

Paper #14020: Towards Cultural Relevance: Developing Agency In Science and Math Educators in the Borderlands

Principal Author: Angela M. Chapman, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Co-Authors: Ariana Garza, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Felicia Rodriguez, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley; Mayra Hernandez, McAllen ISD; Juanita Rojas, McAllen ISD; Eva Rojas, McAllen ISD; Edgar Palomino, McAllen ISD; Carolina Zarinana, McAllen ISD


This research uses LatCrit as a theoretical framework and community autoethnography as a methodological framework to examine how we were positioned within an education system embedded with oppressive practices. Thus, understanding how social, political, and cultural factors have positioned a person is the first step toward a deeper critical consciousness, which is necessary for one to take agentic action. In this study, the researchers were also the participants as we narrated their own lived experiences growing up Latino/a in RGV. We describe how we were misperceived and positioned as migrants, as recent immigrants, as being labeled Hispanic, and because of language. From a social, political, and cultural perspective, these factors are referred to as contextual mitigating factors. How did we use our “sens pratique” to develop the determination and resiliency to become successful STEM educators? More importantly, what do we do this increased critical awareness? We recognize that leaving that ignoring oppressive educational practices is no longer an option. With this heightened level of critical awareness, we describe our newfound identity as critical STEM educators.

Through an autoethnographic lens, we have examined how we have been positioned by an oppressive power structure growing up. We realize that our determination to become a science or math educator required us to navigate the landscape. By analyzing our own experience, we now have a new level of awareness of the inequitable practices that affected us and are still present in our school system.

In each of us lies a story of how we navigated the landscape, persisted in pursuit of our dreams and our parents dreams for us. These are our stories – prospective and new science/math teachers’ personal experiences growing up in the “Valley”. During the conference, we will share our full stories and how we have analyzed our experiences in order to grow as culturally competent educators, for many of us in the same or neighboring school districts where we were once students. We will discuss the commonalities and differences that have led to our individual and collective identities that have allowed us to succeed, to recognize inequitable practices in our schools, and to challenge the limit situations in our schools.

Paper #16043: Research and Innovation in STEM Preservice Teacher Preparation: Extending the AAAS/NSF Noyce Regional Dialogue

Principal Author: Ann Cavallo, The University of Texas at Arlington
Co-Authors: Greg Hale, The University of Texas at Arlington; David Sparks, The University of Texas at Arlington


The nation is acutely aware of the critical need for well-prepared science and mathematics teachers, and in turn, a STEM educated professional workforce. Innovative models and research for STEM teacher education must prepared teachers to draw out and capitalize on the talents and learning abilities of all students toward the acquisition of real-world, 21st century skills and knowledge needed for STEM success in high school, college, and the workforce (National Research Council, 2012).Therefore, with support from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation, The University of Texas at Arlington hosted a Southwest Noyce Regional dialogue meeting titled: Stimulating Research and Innovation for Preservice Education of STEM Teachers in High-Need Schools. The dialogue meeting attendees included Principal Investigators/Co-PIs of Noyce grants in the southwest region of the US. The PIs were asked to bring teams of three to include one PI or Co-PI on their Noyce grant, one Noyce Scholar who has graduated and is currently teaching, and one school district representative. The dialogue meeting engaged the 50 participants in discussion sessions focused on a set of guiding questions for preparing STEM teachers for high need schools. The dialogue meeting discussions were recorded and summarized. This session will present the summary of the Southwest Regional Dialogue Meeting, and engage attendees in continued, expanded dialogue that will incorporate voices, views, and experiences from national and international colleagues on stimulating research and innovation in preservice STEM teacher education.

Paper #11063: Scientific Argumentation for Increasing Science Literacy

Principal Author: Carolanne Grogan, Texas Tech University


In recent years, states have been adopting NGSS for their state science standards or modifying their state standards to reflect NGSS guidelines. This has led to the need for teachers to change how they teach science. These changes to science standards to focus on science literacy over memorization of content requires that teachers be trained in pedagogies that develop science literacy. One of the skills emphasized in these standards is scientific argumentation. Argumentation in science classrooms is said to develop science literacy skills through the evaluation of claims and evidence, bringing a real life component to the study of science, developing critical thinking skills, cognitive and metacognitive processes, and communication skills. Although argumentation is being promoted as an integral pedagogy to teaching science literacy there is a lack of argumentation in United States science classrooms. There exist few studies that connect the practice of argumentation in classrooms directly to increases in scientific literacy even though argumentation has been written into science policy as a desirable skill and outcome for science education and a tool for increasing students’ scientific literacy. In this in progress study, teachers were trained on argumentation strategies and will conduct a minimum of one argumentation activity per quarter with their classes. To determine teachers’ attitudes towards using argumentation strategies which may influence the successfulness of these strategies, the teachers were interviewed before and after PD and will be interviewed at the end of the school year. To determine the impact of implementation of argumentation on students, students’ scientific literacy will be measure at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Teachers will also keep journals to document argumentation activities and students’ use of argumentation skills during and outside of these activities. It is hypothesized that over the course of the school year, students’ science literacy will increase and teachers’ self-efficacy and attitudes toward using argumentation in their classes will increase.

Paper #10425: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Scientists using the DAST-C in Middle Grade Science Textbooks

Principal Author: Rebecca Hite, Texas Tech University
Co-Authors: Carolanne Grogan, Texas Tech University


Exploration of students’ perceptions of scientists is not a new endeavor, starting with early research by Mead and Metraux (1957) and continuing well into present day.  A coherent strategy to understand how students perceive science, especially stereotypical views of scientists, the Draw a Scientist Test (DAST) (Chambers, 1983), and checklist (DAST-C) (Finson, Beaver, and Cramond, 1995) was developed.  Research on students’ impressions of scientists have rightfully explored imagery sourced from the media, television, and film; yet another underexplored and significant source of images where students view of science and scientists is in their science textbooks.  Since the early 1970s, efforts have been made to provide students more inclusive images of scientists and how they engage in the scientific endeavor.  However, despite these changes, students’ stereotypes remain; clearly there is more to explore in how scientists are depicted in science textbooks to understand the failure of these aforementioned reform efforts. A qualitative content analysis was used to explore images of scientists in 3 of the major American middle grade science textbooks:  (6th) biology, (7th) earth science, and (8th) physical science.  Among these 9 books, 440 images were identified as scientists and coded using the both traditional and revised elements of the DAST-C.  After coding, frequency counts were conducted by grade level (and associated science subject area) by 4 areas:  Scientist Demographics; Scientist Appearance; Scientist Location/Association; Science Activity.  Analyses showed large variances between grade levels and textbook manufacturers in their images of scientists and portrayal of scientific endeavor.  In particular, there was unequal representation in racial and ethnic diversity as well as a lack of images demonstrating scientists engaging in authentic science activity.  Results suggest despite inclusion of more under-represented persons in textbooks, stereotypes remain.  This study offers important insight into current research exploring science images in the public.

Paper #10424: Engagement with Technology in Informal Education Settings

Principal Author: Brenda L. Bartlett, Texas Tech University


Informal education settings such as museums, aquaria, zoos, and camps offer unique educational opportunities to participants.  Evaluation of informal education programs and exhibits has been recognized as critical to promoting informal education but is often underutilized.  One area of evaluation that could benefit informal organizations and their participants is engagement.  Engagement is a critical component of learning and academic success with benefits such as increased academic achievement, increased K-16 completion rates, and attaining and keeping better jobs.

This study will measure engagement with technology in informal settings by utilizing an Experience Sampling Survey to investigate the following research questions through the perspective of Self-determination Theory (SDT) and Flow Theory:

RQ1. To what extent are participants engaged with technology in informal settings?

After analyzing the engagement data collected from this study, informal education organizations could make changes where needed to improve the effectiveness of the exhibits by increasing engagement.  By measuring engagement, making improvements to increase engagement, and sharing those results with local schools, informal education organizations could demonstrate the academic benefits of informal opportunities, and therefore increase the number of visitors to the museum and the impact that they have on the community.

Utilizing both formal and informal learning opportunities provides a balanced learning approach and opportunities for learner engagement in authentic settings that formal settings alone might struggle to provide.  As both formal and informal educators work together with researchers to investigate this connection further, their findings could help inform informal education settings about what participants find engaging and then encourage K-12 schools in the surrounding communities to take advantage of these beneficial and engaging opportunities.

Paper #13028: Developing Critical Thinking Skills with sInvestigator

Principal Author: Nancy Holincheck, George Mason University
Co-Authors: Terrie Galanti, George Mason University; Gheorge Tecuci, George Mason University; Mihai Boicu, George Mason University; James Trefil, George Mason University; Dorin Marcu, George Mason University


The new framework for K-12 science education (NRC, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) place a clear emphasis on the use of evidence to develop a scientific argument.  Students need the ability to make scientific arguments and to reason based on evidence to analyze scientific claims (Bulgren, Ellis, & Marquis, 2014; Brown, Nagashima, Fu, Timms, & Wilson, 2010).  One way to enhance student critical thinking skills is to prove structured opportunities for students to collaboratively engage with science content (Osborne, 2010) and to evaluate the credibility and relevance of evidence to promote evidence-based reasoning.  

This one-hour experiential session will be organized into three parts: an overview of the research study and preliminary findings of this NSF-funded project, a tutorial session to provide guidance on using features of the software, and a final period of collaborative engagement with the sInvestigator software.  During the initial overview of the study and software development, findings from year 1 of the project will be shared. The pre-post measure of student ability to evaluate evidence, developed for this study, will also be shared. During the tutorial session and collaborative engagement time, attendees will use the sInvestigator software to evaluate internet sources of evidence and to develop hypotheses and alternate hypotheses.

Paper #10423: The Impact of the Urban Advantage Initiative on Middle School Science Teachers

Principal Author: Lauren Slagus, Stony Brook University
Co-Authors: Angela Kelly, Stony Brook University


National, state, and local reports show that middle school science education is in need of improvement. Student achievement and interest in science subjects is low. Teacher preparation is both a problem and solution to this issue. In urban areas many science teachers lack proper training. Professional development is a way to provide teachers with the content and strategies for teaching science. This qualitative study investigated the impact of participation in Urban Advantage (UA), a professional development program for middle school science teachers in New York City, on three middle school science teachers. The interview data showed that each teacher utilized aspects of the program when teaching. UA provided both teachers and students with an avenue to experience science in an authentic way. This data suggests that the structure of the program was effective because teachers implemented what they learned in professional development workshops. 

Paper #10422: Pre-Service Teachers’ Identification of NGSS Engineering and Science Practices in a Sample Lesson Plan

Principal Author: Laura K. Ochs, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Frackson Mumba, University of Virginia; Alexis Rutt, University of Virginia


Recently, national education documents have included engineering design to the science standards, The New Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council [NRC], 2012) and the Next Generation Science Education Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). With these changes comes the expectation that K-12 science teachers will integrate engineering design into their science teaching. However, many science teachers have had little to no experience with engineering design (Banilower et al., 2012). Furthermore, very few science teacher education programs include engineering design in their curriculum (Fantz, De Miranda, & Siller, 2010). Therefore, there exists a gap between what the pre-service teachers know and what they will be expected to teach.

One of the first steps in understanding the NGSS is the ability to identify the key elements of the NGSS, such as the eight science and engineering practices, the disciplinary core ideas, and the seven crosscutting concepts. In this study, pre-service teachers participate in a nine-week intervention lead by engineering professors and science education professors. During the intervention, pre-service teachers learned how to read the NGSS, participated in hands-on engineering activities, developed lesson plans, and provided peer feedback. The goal of the study was to develop and measure pre-service teachers’ abilities to correctly identify the NGSS elements present in an existing lesson plan. The lesson plan was derived from a unit plan titled Materials Science and the Problem of Garbage” (McPherson, 2016) published in the science practitioner journal, The Science Teacher. Before and after the intervention, pre-service teachers were asked to read the lesson plan and identify the key NGSS elements; science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. Results from the Wilcoxon sign rank test indicate that pre-service teachers improved in their ability to correctly identify science practices and crosscutting concepts. These findings suggest that an intervention can aid in the improvement of identifying key NGSS elements. The skill of identifying NGSS elements can help teachers select and create curriculum materials, which best align with the NGSS.

Paper #13027: Impacts of an Authentic Astronomy Research Project on the STE(A)M Voice of Traditionally Underserved Youth in an Informal Setting

Principal Author: Robert J. Palmer, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Felicia Leammukda, University of Minnesota; Sarah Komperud, The Bell Museum and Planetarium; Bonnie Boyd, Franklin Middle School; Joshua Haislip, Skynet; Daniel E.. Reichart, Skynet; Vivian Hoette, Yerkes Observatory; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota


Our competitive global economy demands innovation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education, specifically targeting critical thinking skills, if we desire to stay near the front of the economic pack, globally, nationally, regionally, and personally. An important aspect this study addresses is the need to increase opportunities for underrepresented and underserved students in STEM. The youth participants in this study are members of groups who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields, including racial minorities and families from low socioeconomic status. This project explores the impacts of Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS), an astronomy-based informal education program, on the STEM voice of participants. The purpose of the astronomy program is to engage students actively in STEM learning, using a field of study which many students are interested in, but have limited opportunity to study in great depth. We propose that this can be accomplished through SJS by teaching students to use research-grade robotic telescopes to collect data, and collaborate with mentor astronomers and peers to propose and complete authentic research via online forums.

Findings from this pilot case study indicate that this model appears to be effective in facilitating the expression of STEM voice for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in STEM. Further research would be needed to extend that potential impact to other student populations. Given the fact that participants self-selected to participate in this program, an initial high positive voice was expected. Completion of self-directed tasks indicated participating students engaged in activities that allowed them many opportunities to express their individual STEM voice.


Paper #10421: A Review of Epistemic Practices of Engineering in Preservice Elementary Teacher Lesson Plans

Principal Author: Matthew P. Perkins Coppola, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne


Cunningham and Kelly (2017) proposed a set of sixteen epistemic practices of engineering (EPE) to illustrate the key dimensions of engineering knowledge and practice overlooked by the Next Generation Science Standards. The EPE served as a framework for reviewing the successful integration of engineering design into a science methods course at a midsized Midwestern university. Following participation in an exemplar engineering design project, preservice elementary teachers were required to construct two day engineering mini-units (EMU) to teach during their field placements. The EPE served as codes for analysis of the preservice teachers’ unit plans. Qualitative analysis revealed strengths and weaknesses of the engineering preparation and instruction, informing the professor as to areas to further emphasize and investigate.    

Paper #16042: Enhancing Science Vocabulary and Scientific Literacy with ABC Books

Principal Author: Velta Napoleon-Fanis, Middle Tennessee State University
Co-Authors: Cindi Smith-Walters, Middle Tennessee State University; Candice M.. Quinn, Middle Tennessee State University; Joshua W.. Reid, Middle Tennessee State University


Scientific literacy has become an internationally well-recognized science education goal specifically for its association and support of science content knowledge. A decline in scientific literacy and students’ achievement in the sciences is of concern. Hence, there is a need for authentic learning contexts that promote the development of relevant scientific knowledge and literacy. Scientific literacy is described as a skill set which includes useful science vocabulary and content that can be applied to science issues. Vocabulary is an essential element enabling learners to understand concepts in science. However, scientific literacy means more than memorization science vocabulary.

The use of alphabet books is linked to scientific literacy, an overarching goal of science. Alphabet books facilitate the development of two key interrelated areas in the teaching and learning of science that increase scientific literacy: i) exposure to science vocabulary inadvertently leading to (ii) heightened exposure to science content. This assignment was designed to assist elementary and middle school education pre-service teachers (PSTs) make sense of relatively simple information through the writing of alphabet books. The primary objective was to assess their understanding of science content and their ability to make connections between different science topics, words, and concepts. Evaluation indicated that PSTs developed a better understanding of science content, were able to make connections between vocabulary terms and various scientific concepts, had increased appreciation for the relevance and value of alphabet books, anticipated the use of alphabet books in their own teaching as future teachers, and most importantly had achieved an increase in scientific literacy. This work provides teacher educators and teachers with a novel tool that has evidence to support its value in increasing students’ enjoyment, understanding of science, and scientific literacy.

Paper #10420: Learning to Notice and Respond to Elementary Students’ Ideas: Lessons Learned From the CoLABorative Field Model

Principal Author: Dante I. Cisterna, University of Missouri
Co-Authors: Julie Birt, University of Missouri; Sheunghyun Yeo, University of Missouri; Deborah Hanuscin, Western Washington University


The purpose of this study is to describe key features of an innovative field-based model (namely, the CoLABorative Field Experience) implemented in a Midwestern elementary teacher education program. The CoLAB model aims to develop pre-service teachers’ knowledge about students’ ideas and skills to enact teaching practices such as noticing and respond to students’ scientific ideas. The model integrates pre-service teachers’ learning experiences in the elementary science methods course and a local STEM-focused school, to support learning and enactment of such practices with elementary students. Drawing on pre-service teachers’ artifacts, reflections, and perceptions of self-efficacy, we characterized the ways pre-service teachers developed their understanding of students’ scientific ideas and refined their classroom practices to notice, interpret, and respond to these ideas. Preliminary findings indicate that pre-service teachers can develop—through the CoLAB model—a better understanding of students’ ideas, in deeper and more nuanced ways. Moreover, they are able to use this knowledge to design, enact, and refine effective lesson plans based on student evidence.  Likewise, pre-service teachers had significantly higher scores in measures of Personal Science Teaching Efficacy with regards to a comparison group. Despite this, pre-service teachers tended to struggle in identifying the rationale for interpreting and responding to students’ ideas and tended to persist in the identification of their ideas as right and wrong. In this study, we analyze how the CoLAB model features may enable pre-service teacher learning of scientific ideas and discuss emerging challenges to better support pre-service teachers’ growth. We also consider implications of the CoLAB model to address a critical gap in pre-service science teacher education and offer practical action for teacher education programs.

Paper #10418: How Secondary Preservice Science Teachers’ having Inquiry Orientations View Inquiry Instruction: Implications for Practice in Science Teacher Education

Principal Author: Peggy D.. Ward, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: William F.. McComas, University of Arkansas


Inquiry instruction (and science practices) continue to permeate discussions regarding science education reform (Crawford, 2014; NRC, 2012; Osborne, 2014) necessary to achieve the visionary expression about what students should know and do by the time they graduate from high school (NRC, 2012). Although hailed as a powerful form of instruction, the truth is that scientific inquiry as a critical component of teaching and learning in the science classroom is a confounding, ambiguous concept that is often conspicuously absent from institutional settings (Bybee, 2000; 2010; Settlage, 2003) despite decades of reform efforts to prioritize it as a valuable teaching strategy. More research is needed to unpack the discrepancy between teachers’ knowledge of and preferences for inquiry instruction (Lakin & Wallace, 2015). We need to know more about their views of the goals and purposes of inquiry as well as the underlying motivation for carrying it out in the classroom (Keys & Bryan, 2001).

Teacher preparation programs provide hopeful training grounds to promote accurate conceptions of inquiry teaching and learning. Yet little has been written about the experiences secondary preservice science teacher have regarding their learning to teach science through inquiry. As such, this project sought to understand how select secondary preservice science teachers enrolled in three teacher education programs in Arkansas conceptualize (define, describe, and rationalize) inquiry instruction.

In the framework of a constructivist paradigm and using a constant comparative approach, this study explored 5 preservice science teachers’ conceptions about inquiry. The results indicate the prospective teachers tended to have strong student-centered teaching orientations. Multiple PSSTs tended to associate inquiry learning primarily in terms of exploring before lecture and getting a single correct answer. Additionally, multiple subjects described inquiry in terms of the 5E Model of Instruction, which is emphasized in the Arkansas UTeach lesson design. Implications of these findings and suggestions for program improvement at the course levels are suggested.

Paper #10417: Prospective Teachers’ Science Conceptual Understanding and Technology Self-efficacy: Affordances of an iPad-based Physics Curriculum

Principal Author: Deepika Menon, Towson University
Co-Authors: Matthew Conway, Towson University; Meera Chandrashekhar, University of Missouri-Columbia; Dorina Kostzin, University of Missouri-Columbia


With the growing popularity of mobile devices such as iPads, smartphones, etc., educational institutions are increasing the use of such technologies for students from grade school through college. This calls for preparing preservice science teachers in using mobile technologies in their future science teaching. This calls for preparing prospective science teachers at the college level so they are well equipped in using mobile technologies to teach science in their future classrooms. Using the construct of technology self-efficacy in this study, we investigate (1) the development of prospective elementary science teachers’ technology self-efficacy, and (2) changes in physics conceptual understandings as they engage in an innovative iPad-based curriculum, Exploring Physics, in a physics content course. Data were collected using surveys and open-ended questionnaires. A repeated measures analysis of variance was used to examine the differences between the pre- and post-surveys across time. We found statistically significant positive changes in participants’ technology self-efficacy and physics conceptual understandings. The qualitative trends suggest that the affordances of the curriculum assisted participants in developing deeper conceptual understandings and confidence as teachers capable to successfully integrate mobile technologies in future physics teaching. Implications for preservice teacher preparation for technology integration in future science teaching are also discussed.

Paper #10416: Reframing a Secondary Science Methods Course with Culturally Relevant Science Teaching: A Self-Study

Principal Author: Xinying Yin, California State University-San Bernardino


It is an imperative task for science teacher educators to prepare preservice science teachers for meeting the needs of the increasingly diverse student population in the U.S. Although a significant number of the preservice science teachers entering the teacher preparation program at this university where the study was conducted are from diverse backgrounds, we cannot assume that they will automatically develop the knowledge and skills to teach science in a diverse classroom. This self-study explored a science methods instructor’s effort to reframe a secondary science methods course with culturally relevant science teaching to enhance pre-service secondary science teachers’ (PSST) abilities to provide high quality and equitable instruction to diverse students. Culturally relevant pedagogy is used as the theoretical framework in this study. Various research-based activities and assignments along with reflections were designed and implemented in this course, such as “Draw-a-scientist” activity, nature of science activities, collecting students’ stories about science, eliciting students’ ideas about a science phenomenon, and researching a non-Western science discovery or a non-mainstream scientist. Pre- and post-survey, PSSTs’ work, written reflections and individual interviews showed that PSSTs had developed more sophisticated conceptions about culturally relevant science teaching, and the course activities facilitated this process in various ways. Meanwhile, PSSTs had some challenges in putting culturally relevant science teaching into practice. This study offers insights and implications for preservice science teacher education, given that culturally relevant science teaching has not been widely addressed in science teacher preparation programs.

Paper #10415: The Association between Parental Beliefs and Preferences in Early Science Education

Principal Author: Mesut Sackes, Balıkesir University
Co-Authors: Kathy Cabe. Trundle, NC State University; Maria Shaheen, Primrose Schools


This study aimed to examine the association between parental beliefs regarding their children’s interest and competence in learning science and the parental preferences regarding academic content areas in the early years.  The study sample included 1,490 U.S. parents with children attending Preschool (55.9%) and Pre-Kindergarten (44.1%) classrooms. Parents were asked to prioritize eleven academic content areas, including science, in a descending order. Parents were also asked to complete a scale assessing parents’ beliefs about their child’s interest and competence in learning science (Perceived Science Motivation for Children-Parents Form (PSMC-P)), and respond to the questions about their socio-demographic characteristics. Based on their ranking of science among other academic content areas parents were classified into three groups: High, Moderate, and Low Preference for Science.  The results demonstrated that the number of parents who prioritized science over other academic content areas in Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classrooms was very limited. Only 5.6 percent of the parents ranked science within their first three choices. While parents’ gender was related with their preferences for science, parents’ income, and level of education, and child’s sex and age were not associated with parental preferences for science. On the other hand, parental beliefs regarding their children’s interest and competence in learning science were associated with their preferences for science. More specifically, parents who believed that their children are interested and competent in learning science were more likely to be in High and Moderate Preference for Science groups. The study findings suggest that parental beliefs regarding their children’s interest and competence influence the science learning opportunities parents offer to their children.

Paper #10414: The Experiences of Successful Women in STEM Fields: A Phenomenological Study

Principal Author: Jonathan L.. Hall, University of Central Florida
Co-Authors: David N.. Boote, University of Central Florida; Malcolm B.. Butler, University of Central Florida


Women encounter several forms of gender-based biases and discrimination in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) community.  Understanding these aspects is important for creating inclusive environments within this context.  To further this understanding, the experiences of successful women who are currently professionals in STEM fields were explored through this study.  Participants of the study engaged in semi-structured interviews which aimed to answer two main research questions.  The first question is, what are the experiences of successful women serving in STEM fields?  Sub-questions explored educational and early work experiences prior to their current position as STEM professionals. The second question is, what differences exist, if any, among participants’ experiences are based on race and socioeconomic status?  Descriptive phenomenological methods were used to analyze the data.  Implications of findings provide insight for science education methods instructors, curriculum developers, and educational researchers in several ways.  First, knowledge gained from the study could guide programming aimed to promote diversity in the STEM community.  Second, this knowledge could structure lessons that cover inclusion and equity in methods classrooms.  Third, this knowledge provides insight to constructs and relationships of STEM identity development theories.

Paper #10413: Building STEM Schools from the Ground Up: How Teacher Leadership Teams Shape STEM Integration in Schools

Principal Author: Elizabeth A. Crotty, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Elizabeth A.. Ring, University of Minnesota; Illana Livstrom, University of Minnesota; Gillian H.. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


Recent national reports (e.g., Carnegie Corporation 2009; NRC 2012a; NSB 2007; PCAST 2010) call for increased attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.  STEM education serves to prepare students for the demands of a scientific, technical, creative and critical thinking workforce (Honey, Pearson, & Scweingruber, 2014).  The President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology (PCAST, 2010) recommended, “The Federal Government should promote the creation of at least 200 new highly-STEM-focused high schools and 800 STEM-focused elementary and middle schools over the next decade, including many serving minority and high-poverty communities” (p. 10) to make STEM accessible to a broader student population in the United States.  The call for more attention to STEM is clear, however the ways in which STEM is taken up in schools is largely variable (NRC, 2011).  This project attempts to better understand the ways in which STEM is directed by a teacher leadership team within a school.

This is a case study focusing on how a STEM teacher leadership team developed a new STEM academy within their school.  Interview data were collected at the beginning and end of the year, ongoing team meetings were recorded throughout the year, and survey data coupled with a reflective focus group were all ways in which information for this study was gathered.  Preliminary findings indicate that clear vision setting for how STEM will be enacted within the school from the beginning is important and should account for teachers’ content knowledge and readiness for STEM pedagogies.  Secondly, when teachers take on more leadership to drive STEM initiatives they need to have space and time to intentionally negotiate their teacher identity with their leadership goals.  And finally, the intent to focus on STEM needs to be consistent across members of the leadership team in order for staff to feel like there is a unified direction and mission for the school around this idea.

Paper #10412: Digging into Gardening to Grow Science Learning

Principal Author: Kathy Cabe. Trundle, NC State University
Co-Authors: Katherine McCance, NC State University; Maria Shaheen, Primrose Schools


For decades agricultural extension agencies and horticulture organizations have promoted the integration of gardening into school curricula, and recent research indicates that gardening can increase student motivation and promote science learning. Gardens provide an excellent context for teachers to engage students with science concepts like the basic needs of plants and animals, similarities and differences between parents and their offspring (heredity of traits), and the lifecycles of organisms among other related concepts. Students also develop scientific ways of thinking and process skills through observations, recording of data, data analysis, and representation of findings. In addition to academic learning, gardening can facilitate community building, improve or enhance nutrition habits and interpersonal skills, and encourage environmental stewardship. This study synthesizes previous empirical studies and theoretical literature on gardening and science teaching, with a focus on the efficacy of gardening for science learning. Benefits and obstacles to gardening are discussed along with implications for science teaching.

Paper #10411: Unpacking Pre-service Teachers’ Development of PCK for Using Robotics

Principal Author: Amanda M. Gunning, Mercy College
Co-Authors: Jessica Riccio, Teachers College; Meghan E. Marrero, Mercy College


In this mixed-methods study, the experiences of 13 preservice teachers were examined to find out how a week-long engineering and robotics training at a prominent engineering school would help support their development of PCK for using robotics to teach secondary math and science. PST had hands-on experiences programming and running Lego robotics, along with engineering lectures and lesson planning, as part of the experience. While preliminary findings in this study indicate some familiarity development and strong engagement with the technology, it seems for PST’s future implementation in instruction, more support is needed. Goals of this research include illuminating best practices for facilitating PST’s development of PCK for using robotics in the classroom with the aim of implementing Science and Engineering Practices and for starting a conversation on how the vast resources of schools of engineering, which may be well-positioned to offer additional experiences and resources for teaching k-12 STEM, can be utilized in PST education.

Paper #10409: On Jackalopes, STEM, and the Rapid Decline of Elementary Science Instruction

Principal Author: Joanne K.. Olson, Texas A&M University


This study examined teaching practices in 13 school districts in 21 schools over two years to determine what differences, if any, existed in elementary science teaching before and after the adoption of NGSS. The findings of the study show that rather than maintain their curriculum during the transition year, many districts dropped their science program entirely, but more than 70% of the classrooms observed still taught science lessons. When NGSS implementation was required, the number of science lessons fell dramatically, being replaced by “STEM” lessons. These STEM lessons included building projects, art activities, tinkering, and engineering design lessons, none of which had a focus on science concepts. Teachers use STEM in place of science, and appear unaware that science is missing or diminished in their instruction and in the curriculum materials.

Paper #15013: In alignment with reform in science education: Inquiry-based science teaching

Principal Author: Rose M.. Pringle, University of Florida


Effective science teaching and learning for all K-12 students is the primary goal of current reform efforts in science education. However, if the current reform efforts are to be realized, educators are in agreement there needs to be fundamental changes in the preparation of K-12 science teachers. This is particularly challenging for teacher education programs when one considers the nature of prospective elementary teachers and their initial conceptual orientations to science and science teaching. Science teacher educators working with preservice elementary teachers are therefore faced with the challenge of developing programs that can respond to their learning needs. That is, how to prepare elementary teachers to be effective in laying the foundation for continued science learning within the K-12 education system.    

My syllabus, Inquiry-based Science Teaching, proposed for this presentation, is the third in a series of three courses strategically developed and articulated to address the challenge of how to best prepare elementary teachers, who, upon graduation, will be the linchpin in the effort to reform science teaching. I work within the context of the Unified Elementary Program (UEP) at this university in the southeast.  UEP is a 5-year elementary teacher preparation program that culminates in a Master’s Degree in Education. The science education within the UEP program is comprised of 3 courses sequenced and articulated in a manner to prepare teachers who, themselves have an elevated understanding of science. That is, they understand science as both a specialized body of knowledge that explains natural phenomena and a form of inquiry driven by science and engineering practices.

Inquiry-based Science Teaching (Online) – This course is taught during the yearlong internship and focuses on reform-based science teaching as put forth by the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012).  Attendees will be supplied with a copy of the syllabus along with snapshots of components from the course website. I will discuss the sections of the syllabus including introduction and philosophical framework, learning goals, readings, online course organization, policies and weekly outline, and course assignments. In addition, I will share how Canvas, the online Learning Management System supports and facilitates the instructor-students and students-students’ interactions, and the development and submission of course assignments.

Paper #10407: A literature synthesis of Modeling-Oriented assessment as a form of Authentic Assessment and implications for Science Teacher Preparation

Principal Author: Young Ae Kim, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: J. Steve Oliver


In the research reported here, we synthesize the literature on Modeling-Oriented Assessment (MOA) and its linkages to authentic assessment of learning in the science classroom. This synthesis led to the conceptualization of the Modeling-Oriented Authentic Assessment framework. Further, we bridge this synthesis to research literature on assessment-related issues within science teacher preparation in order to examine how effective practices in science teacher education can be shaped to accommodate Modeling-Oriented Authentic Assessment (MOAA).

In the first part of the presentation, we will examine how authentic assessment has been conducted in K-12 science education and how the essential characteristics of authentic assessment can be matched with the characteristics of MOA. Namdar and Shen (2015) introduced a framework for MOA in K-12 science education and suggested that thinking about assessment of student constructed models and their actions while modeling, should start with consideration of the alignment with curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Authentic assessment in science education is built on parallel considerations and is characterized by three major features: 1) reflection on activities within the curriculum and their similarities to the work that scientists do; 2) alignment between assessment and instruction; and 3) assessment of process as well as product.

The second part of the presentation will connect research related to modeling and model-oriented assessment in K-12 science classrooms to research on science teacher preparation. We highlight the implications that arise from commonalities found in both scholarship related to preparing pre-service science teachers (PSTs) to implement modeling instruction and scholarship that deals specifically with modeling-oriented assessment. An example of those implications would include the need for PSTs to learn about the integration of instruction and assessment. Twelve implications that arose from this literature review will be explored in the presentation.

This study adds to the body of knowledge on science teacher education by framing instructional uses of modeling-related assessment as a form of authentic assessment and extending the established MOA framework. Further, we have synthesized a connection between MOA, authentic assessment, and science teacher education to provide insight into prospective teachers’ learning about modeling.

Paper #16041: Lessons Learned and Issues Identified from the Online Teaching Experience of Science Teacher Educators

Principal Author: David F. Jackson, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Lee Meadows, University of Alabama at Birmingham; Donna L. Governor, University of North Georgia; David L. Pauli, Gwinnett County Public Schools


Online courses are an increasingly common means of delivering professional development and graduate level education, in both science content and pedagogy, for inservice science teachers. Yet very little research specific to science education exists on this topic. With the goal of refining our conception of the most important questions that future research should address, we share our particular experiences, situate the lessons we have learned and the issues we have identified in the context of the more general research literature on online teaching, and solicit input from and discussion by ASTE colleagues dealing with similar issues.

The four participants who will discuss their online teaching experiences are three university science educators, two with over 25 years of full-time experience in science teacher education and one with 32 years of experience in K-12 classrooms, and a middle school teacher with 13 years of teaching experience. The number of years of experience in teaching online varies among the presenters from eleven to four.

The broad theoretical perspective that we find most useful in conceptualizing and envisioning the ideal online environment for inservice science teacher education is the Community of Inquiry model (Lowenthal, 2015), emphasizing the mutual interdependence of three factors: cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000; Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001). This perspective is especially helpful in making sense of the design and conduct of fully online (vs. a hybrid of face- to-face and online) and fully asynchronous (vs. also including synchronous  elements such as videoconferencing) online courses in which the primary mode of communication between students, and between students and their instructor, is text. This is the mode in which most of us operate when teaching online courses and, as outlined by Yuan & Kim (2014), it is imperative that we pay painstaking attention to averting the sense of isolation felt by many students in asynchronous online environments.

Two of the key specific issues addressed are challenges of, and approaches to, keeping students consistently engaged and motivated in an online course, and the relative advantages and disadvantages of accelerated/compressed format courses (often taken by teachers in the summer) vs. those scheduled over a more traditional, longer period of time (an academic-year semester).

Paper #10406: Linking Grade 1-2 Achievement and Transfer to Grade 3 Data in Science and Literacy to Promote Reform in Curricular Policy and Practice in Elementary Schools

Principal Author: Nancy Romance, Florida Atlantic University
Co-Authors: Michael R. Vitale, East Carolina University


Both the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS recommend increasing instructional time allocated for science learning opportunities for early elementary students. Recent research from a NSF-funded multi-year study indicates that when science is linked with reading comprehension, student achievement increases in both subjects across the grade levels, transfers to other grade levels, and can impact subsequent patterns of achievement in middle school and beyond. Such early learning opportunities enable students to engage in meaningful experiences that develop their ability to use the practices of science and the core concepts in developing their real-world explanations of phenomena being investigated. In effect, such an approach builds the essential background knowledge that supports content-area reading comprehension. Yet, even with the realization of the benefits resulting from such a curricular approach, district policies governing an increase in the time allocated for elementary science have yet to change. The presentation will provide an evidenced-based rationale for supporting science educators in working with school districts to address ways in which evidence can be used to reform district policies and practices that would result in an increase in instructional time for an integrated approach to elementary science teaching. In turn, such a change in policy would support the intent of the Framework and NGSS and support more in-depth student learning in science and content-area reading comprehension in later grade levels, both of which have been identified by NAEP as areas of weakness for American students. Such reform efforts are particularly critical for children from underrepresented groups who depend on school to build the background knowledge essential for success in school and beyond.

Paper #10404: A new approach to evolution curricula: Development and pilot testing of a new, NGSS-aligned unit that integrates evolution and heredity

Principal Author: Dina Drits-Esser, University of Utah
Co-Authors: Sheila Homburger, University of Utah; Molly Malone, University of Utah; Kristin M. Bass, Rockman et al; Jo Ellen. Roseman, American Association for the Advancement of Science; George E. DeBoer, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Joseph Hardcastle, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Amy J. Hawkins, University of Utah; Louisa A. Stark, University of Utah


We describe the development and pilot test results of a new 8-week unit for ninth- and tenth-grade introductory biology students entitled Evolution: DNA and the Unity of Life. This unit provides a model for curriculum materials that exemplify the vision for 21st  Century science education put forth in The Framework for K-12 Science Education  (NRC, 2011) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (Achieve, 2013) derived from the Framework. The unit integrates all three dimensions of the Framework—science practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas. It was built to address identified needs and calls for instruction that integrates quantitative data analysis, incorporates evidence-based argumentation, and provides a strong curricular connection between the core ideas of heredity and evolution – all of which are lacking in most current biology materials. The unit includes common ancestry as one of the major foci, which research shows students understand even less than natural selection (Flanagan & Roseman, 2011). During the unit students engage with phenomena, collect data that are based on published scientific studies and analyze data from these studies. Progressive scaffolding throughout the unit builds students’ abilities to engage in the science practice of evidenced-based argumentation, which has been shown to increase science content understanding. The unit also incorporates technology-based interactive virtual “labs,” simulations, and multimedia, which research shows can decrease students’ misconceptions and increase their understanding of evolution (Abraham et al., 2009; Heitz et al., 2010). Finally, the Crosscutting Concepts of Patterns and Cause and Effect are addressed throughout the unit.  Preliminary pilot test results in the classrooms of 20 teachers around the U.S. indicate statistically significant student increases in conceptual understanding of evolution and genetics, along with increased skillfulness in understanding and applying the Scientific Practices used in the unit, particularly in scientific argumentation from evidence. Teachers reported a deepening of student conceptual understanding of evolution and notable increase in skill in scientific argumentation.

Paper #10403: Increasing elementary teacher science self-efficacy through cross level teaching experiences

Principal Author: Elisabeth Pope, University of North Texas


There are many proposed explanations for and solutions to addressing the existing problem of inadequate classroom time spent on science instruction in the primary grades.  A review of the literature shows a large amount of research on the role of bolstering elementary school teacher efficacy in an effort to encourage these teachers to increase the time they spend on science.  The study proposed in this paper suggests utilizing the concept of cross-level mentoring by combining primary and secondary teachers and their students for combined instruction to increase elementary teacher self-confidence and self-efficacy for teaching science.  Pairing the elementary teacher with a science expert (the secondary science teacher in the secondary teacher’s laboratory classroom) sets the stage for a mastery teaching experience that could boost the self-confidence of the elementary teacher.  Shifting the focus from the students in a cross-level setting to the elementary teacher would allow for an examination of any resulting positive effects of the experience on teacher self-efficacy and hopefully lead to an increase in time spent teaching science in the primary grades.

Paper #10402: Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Planning for Supporting Student Sense-making: Use of Science and Literacy Practices

Principal Author: Anna Maria Arias, Illinois State University
Co-Authors: Grace Kang, Illinois State University


Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards call for learning through use of disciplinary practices (e.g., science and engineering practices, literacy practices) to make sense of ideas and concepts. A potential avenue to support this learning is through the integration of content areas, such as science and literacy. However, elementary teachers face many challenges in developing the essential knowledge, skills, and pedagogy to support this in-depth learning. One challenge is lack of coherence across different courses and experiences within teacher education programs. This presentation describes a research study aimed to characterize preservice teachers’ abilities and knowledge around making connections between science and literacy within a teacher education program. Using qualitative methodologies, the study considers the planning of a cohort of 24 preservice teachers in terms of supporting students to engage in disciplinary practices. The data sources, including lesson plans and other assignments, come from a literacy methods course and a science methods course in which the preservice teachers were concurrently enrolled. The findings suggest areas of strengths within the preservice teachers’ plans, such as use of varied science practices. However, variation existed between the plans from the literacy and science methods courses. For example, during the science methods course, the preservice teachers did not plan to use a variety of texts to support learning of disciplinary practices as compared to the literacy methods course. The findings have implications for teacher educators and teacher education programs.

Paper #10401: STEM Lesson Studies: A Preservice Teacher-Driven Professional Development Model

Principal Author: Jeni R. Davis, Salisbury University
Co-Authors: Michele Wiehagen, Hillsborough County Public Schools


This presentation will describe a university-district partnership and illustrate how preservice teachers used lesson studies as a professional development model to improve classroom practice, instructional sequence, and build students’ knowledge and skills during the development and implementation of integrated STEM lessons. Data were collected from preservice teachers and collaborating teachers to understand the impact of lesson studies as a professional development model on preservice teachers’ understanding of STEM teaching and learning. Participants will hear how groups of pre-service and inservice teachers worked collaboratively to: (1) formulate goals for students learning; (2) plan, conduct, and observe a STEM lesson; (3) carefully observe student learning and engagement during the lesson; and (4) discuss and revise the lesson and the approach to instruction based on the groups’ observations (Takahashi & Yoshida, 2004). Findings suggest participation in the lesson studies increased knowledge of STEM content, increased knowledge of STEM instruction, increased ability to observe students, developed collegial conversations, connected instruction to student learning goals, stronger motivation and sense of efficacy, and improved quality of STEM lesson plans. Our presentation will conclude with implications for teacher preparation and STEM teaching and learning.

Paper #14019: Achieving the Promise of STEM Education as a Vehicle for Inclusivity

Principal Author: Heather A.. Pacheco-Guffrey, Bridgewater State University
Co-Authors: Sami Kahn, Ohio University; Michele Koomen, Gustavus Adolphus College


While precise definitions of STEM education vary, a widely accepted interpretation of this construct is that it involves integration of its component disciplines (Czerniak & Johnson, 2014).  The need for and benefits of integration have been well supported, including alignment with the ways that people learn (Drake & Burns, 2004), preparation for a range of careers, national security and economic advancement, and scientific literacy for all people (Rennie, Venville, & Wallace, 2012). The recent emphasis on STEM education, punctuated by the incorporation of engineering in the NGSS provides an opportunity for reaching wide audiences by engaging a range of student talents and abilities while ensuring a diverse student workforce.  Ideally, STEM education should serve as “a vehicle for inclusivity” (Kahn, 2015, p. 151).  This inclusive view of STEM is derived from the view that it should tap skills and talents that otherwise might have been overlooked, thereby facilitating a strengths-based (Armstrong, 2012) rather than deficit model for student achievement. The authors of “All Standards, All Students” (NGSS, Appendix D) envision STEM as uniquely positioned to appeal to increasingly diverse classrooms by providing students who have been traditionally marginalized with the opportunity to apply engineering solutions to local problems, thus making science and all STEM disciplines relevant and personally meaningful. Yet the promise of increased inclusivity has yet to be realized, as students with disabilities continue to underperform in standardized STEM assessments and adults with disabilities are underrepresented in STEM fields (National Assessment of Educational Progress, [NAEP], National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2011; National Science Foundation [NSF], 2013).  Where in the pipeline can these disparities be addressed? Unquestionably, the “leaky” pipeline involves a lack of preparedness of STEM educators to teach students with special needs but also requires very clear attention to areas including mentoring and role modeling, recognition of student strengths across disciplines, and disciplinary literacy for all students in STEM.  This themed paper set examines research on STEM education for students with disabilities with specific emphases on how and where in the STEM pipeline can science teacher educators focus their efforts to solidify the promise of STEM as an interdisciplinary approach to teaching for all.

Paper #10400: Student Teachers’ Images of Science Instruction During Field Trips

Principal Author: Karthigeyan Subramaniam, University of North Texas
Co-Authors: Pamela Esprivalo-Harrell, University of North Texas; Eunyoung Lee, University of North Texas


This presentation details a study of student teachers’ images of science instruction in during field trips. The study sought to explore and explain student teachers’ images through the use of drawings, and narratives as data. In this study, field trips refer to planned and adaptable way of learning science content and scientific practices guided and/or directed by the teacher that occurs outside the science classroom/laboratory and explicitly connected to the school science curriculum. Analysis of data revealed three predominant themes: (1) science instruction during-field trips as social constellations of the students and the teacher, (2) science instruction during-field trips as lacking connections between in-school science and out-of-school science, and (3) participants’ science instruction during-field trips was predominantly situated within the school yard.

Paper #10398: Using analogies to capture personal beliefs of pre-service elementary teachers

Principal Author: Deborah L. Hanson, Hanover College


Elementary teachers are not confident in their ability to teach science. Eighty-six percent of K-2 and 74% of teachers in grades 3-5 teachers feel very well prepared to teach English-Language Arts while only 44% K-2 teachers and 33% in grades 3-5 feel well prepared to teach science. One key factor in determining teacher classroom practice is teacher beliefs. To capture the pre-service teachers’ beliefs about teaching, candidates in their methods course were asked to create analogies based on the prompt teaching _____ is like _______.   Students did this for all four subject areas at the completion of their methods coursework. Candidates were asked to explain their analogy and discuss what they liked and struggled in teaching each content area. The pre-service teachers completed the same analogy prompt pre/post of their science methods course; they also completed the STEBI (Enochs & Riggs, 1990), to see how the analogies compare with their Personal Science Teaching Efficacy (PSTE) subset of the instrument. The analogies were coded, and then grouped into seven categories to search for trends.

Fifty-nine percent of the analogies for English-language arts (ELA) and SS were positive or mostly positive with one negative caveat; this compares to 19% for math and 44% for science. The analogies reflecting a journey or event with a surprising positive ending for science and math were the highest for math and science at 52% and 38% respectively. The personal science teaching self-efficacy increased for the preservice teachers during the methods; their analogies generally reflected this trend.  This insight into the personal beliefs of elementary pre-service teachers at the end of their methods sequence can help guide methods instructors to personal beliefs that may hinder teacher candidates’ ability to integrate science into other subjects, a skill needed to meet the demands of the Next Generation Science Standards.

Paper #10397: The Characteristics of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) in Community College Biology Instructors

Principal Author: Brandy L.. Bowling, North Carolina State University


The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2012) reported most students who changed majors do so after participating in an introductory course of mathematics, science, or engineering. Given that, community colleges have a great opportunity to provide students with positive STEM experiences in introductory courses that may encourage them to complete STEM-related degrees and pursue STEM-related careers.  Prior research has shown that pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is a key component in shaping teacher practice and positively influencing student learning outcomes in primary and secondary (K-12) education.  However, most K-12 teachers have been formally trained in pedagogy with a secondary emphasis placed on acquiring the necessary content knowledge.  In contrast, many post-secondary science faculty do not have any formal pedagogical training or education because they are only required to have post-baccalaureate degrees in the content area they are expected to teach.  For example, community college faculty must have a master’s level degree while science faculty at 4-year institutions must have a doctorate level degree in their content area.  Hence, findings from research on K-12 teachers’ PCK might not be able to be applied to post-secondary instructors because of the difference in educational training and preparation between these two groups.  In this regard, this multiple case study aimed to describe the characteristics of PCK in community college biology instructors.  Data sources included interviews, observations, documents, and researcher’s field notes.  The data were analyzed using the constant comparative method for each case and across cases.

            Data analysis revealed four themes, including teacher-centered orientations, time as a limiting factor, use of visual and verbal representations to enhance student learning, and limited use of formative assessment.  These results suggest that providing professional development designed to address the needs of community college instructors PCK development, such as the use of formative assessment techniques, may be used to provide positive STEM experiences in the classroom, which in turn can improve student learning outcomes, increase completion rates in STEM courses, and encourage more students to pursue STEM degrees and STEM careers. 

Paper #14018: The Practices of Science: Developing Explanations and Assessment for All Students.

Principal Author: Michele J.. Koomen, Gustavus Adolphus College
Co-Authors: Kevin Finson, Bradley University; Kevin Fleming, Area Cooperative Educational Services Professional Development and School Improvement; Dina Secchiaroli, Area Cooperative Educational Services Professional Development and School Improvement; Judith S.. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology; Selina L.. Bartels, Concordia University


A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead states 2013) all call for egalitarian access to science education based on the premise that all children can learn and practice science including students from underrepresented groups with special needs. This themed paper-set seeks to mediate the gap in the research and published literature in inclusive science teacher education as a needed educational resource for learning about how to educate students with exceptionalities in general education science classrooms, including the pedagogies advanced by the Frameworks and the NGSS.

  • Paper 1: Scientific Inquiry and Developing Explanations for All by Kevin Finson. This paper reports on research that in making the skills of scientific investigation and reasoning more accessible to students with special needs. His paper will discuss strategies teachers can follow to provide opportunities to instill the skills necessary for every student to engage in science exploration in an inclusive community of learning.
  • Paper 2: Learning Science by Doing Science: Developing Scientific Explanations and Engaging in Argumentation in the Inclusive Science Classroom by Dina Secchiaroli and Kevin Fleming. This paper will focus on using scientific argumentation to develop stronger engagement and conceptual understanding in an inclusive science classroom. The authors present literature-based guidelines which can enable any teacher assist all of their students as they delve deeper into scientific understanding.
  • Paper 3: Assessing the Ultimate Goal of Science Education: Scientific Literacy for All! by Judith S. Lederman and Selina L. Bartels. The purpose of this paper is to describe valid and reliable assessment protocols that can effectively assess views of science of students with reading and writing challenges and provide examples of classroom implementations.

Paper #11062: The Nature of Solutions and Solubility—Diagnostic Instrument English Language Version (NSS–DI Eng) pilot evaluation for alignment to US test and item layout norms

Principal Author: Mandy McCormick Smith, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Jon Breiner, University of Cincinnati


The Nature of Solutions and Solubility—Diagnostic Instrument (NSS–DI) developed by Adadan and Savasci (2012) was designed to assess students’ understanding of solution chemistry concepts. While results indicated that the first English version of the NSS-DI had statistically adequate reliablilty as an assessment tool, authors also saw indications for improvement (Authors, 2016a; 2016b; in review). This presentation focuses on the third implementation of the instrument, where changes were made to test items to specifically appear more like traditional large-scale US tests and then administered to 50 students in both the original NSS-DI Eng V.1 and the NSS-DI Eng V.3 versions.

  1. participants will take the original English translation instrument (NSS-DI Eng V.1) (Authors, 2016a;b; in review) and two weeks later the same participants will take the newly modified NSS-DI Eng V.3 instrument. Participant indentifiers will be made only to track progress over the results of the two instruments, not for the purposes of collecting personal identifiable data. Statistical tests will be run to re-evaluate the reliability and the discriminatory power of this third version (NSS-DI Eng V.3), five statistical tests will report out, focusing on both item analysis (item difficulty index, discrimination index, point-biserial coefficient) and the entire test (Cronbach’s alpha and Ferguson’s delta). If available, interviews will be performed to collect qualitative data around student reasonings and differences between test administrations (if seen).

This poster presentation will make comparisons to data from the first English version, interpretations of the cultural nature of test design, common alternative conceptions of solution chemistry concepts among first-year college chemistry students, as well as comparisons to findings from the original Turkish instrument. Future hopes for the NSS-DI Eng V.3 include additional rounds of implementation in January 2018 with over 1000 students from 3 different universities further citing the reliability of the instrument. Furthermore, once reliability is statistically established, the NSS-DI Eng will provide chemistry educators and researchers insights into common solution chemistry conceptions, alternative conceptions, student understandings, and will lead to improved chemistry education.

Paper #10396: Elementary Teachers’ Conceptions and Integration Methods of iSTEM Education: An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Survey Study

Principal Author: Kathryn "Annie" Arnone, NASA Endeavor
Co-Authors: Deborah Hanuscin, University of Missouri


Because elementary teachers are typically responsible for teaching all subjects, there is a unique opportunity for integrative approaches to teaching iSTEM Education at the elementary level (Becker & Park, 2011). However, there is a need for professional development if teachers are to be successful in teaching iSTEM Education (NRC, 2011), as elementary teachers may lack strong content knowledge in STEM disciplines (Ginns & Watters, 1995; Trygstad, 2013; Honey et al., 2014; Fulp, 2002; Ma, 1999; Hanover, 2012). Elementary teachers are prepared as generalists--they take few courses in STEM content, and experiences with iSTEM Education in their teacher preparation programs are rare (Fulp, 2002). Beyond the need for professional development related to STEM content knowledge, however, we know very little about the unique needs of elementary teachers regarding instructional approaches to iSTEM Education. This study examines and describes the ways in which elementary teachers conceptualize iSTEM Education and the integrative approaches they use when teaching STEM content, with the intent to inform the development of elementary specific iSTEM Education professional development.

Paper #14017: Reimagining Preservice Science Teacher Preparation through the Lens of Access and Inclusion

Principal Author: Christopher L.. Atchison, University of Cincinnati
Co-Authors: Teresa Shume, North Dakota State University; Keri DeSutter, Minnesota State University Moorhead; Jenna Porter, CSU Sacramento; Christina Carnahan, University of Cincinnati


Many higher education institutions prepare their pre-service teachers to accommodate the needs of diverse learners by integrating inclusive pedagogies into their teacher preparation programs.  Many go so far as to offer a dual certification in content and special education.  However, the traditional focus of inclusive design has typically rested on instructional theory rather than practical experience. 

While Disabilities Studies in Education (DSE) advocates emphasize students’ abilities and talents, educational scholars and practitioners are recognizing that more practical experience is needed to ensure quality science instruction that include students with disabilities persist.  This is particularly more urgent given the lack of specialized training general education science teachers receive to support students with special needs during both pre-service programs and in-service professional development.  Early in science teacher educator programs, teacher candidates should become aware of cutting edge research and instructional best practices on frameworks such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and strength-based approaches. Among other strategies, these approaches may consist of inclusive science methods courses, models of collaboration between general and special education teachers and science teacher educators, and assessments that enable accurate and fair interpretations of student learning.  Only through quality science teacher preparation can we attain the promise of the NGSS and a national science agenda that emphasizes excellence and equity for all students. In this themed paper session, authors from the forthcoming book, Toward Inclusion of All Students through Science Teacher Education, will share their perspectives on Preservice Science Teacher Preparation, which, using a Disability Studies in Education (DSE) lens,  provide an array of approaches for ensuring quality science experiences for all students through science teacher education. 

Paper #10395: Framing Technological Literacy: Questions worth exploring in STEM Education

Principal Author: Michael P.. Clough, Texas A&M University
Co-Authors: Jacob B.. Pleasants, Iowa State University; Joanne K.. Olson, Texas A&M University


Contemporary civilization is dependent upon science and technology, yet the general public’s understanding of science and technology is woefully inadequate for informed personal and societal decision-making. School science classrooms have been a locus of efforts to improve both science and technology literacy. The Science-Technology-Society curriculum movement in the 1980s, the enduring interest in socio-scientific issues, and the recent emphasis in the United States’ Next Generation Science Standards’ (NGSS) on STEM are examples of efforts to improve public understanding of both science and technology. But emphasizing technology and social issues has faced criticism (DeBoer, 2000) as has aspects of the NGSS (e.g., Clough & Olson, 2016; Zeidler, Herman, Clough, Olson, Kahn & Newton, 2016). These concerns are not directed at whether technology should be addressed in the science curriculum, but what about technology should be addressed, to what extent it should be addressed, and how it should be addressed.

Given the inconsistent and inadequate treatment of NOT within standards documents, a need exists to study what NOT scholars have identified as central issues in their field, consensus views regarding those issues, and the resulting implications for addressing the NOT in STEM education efforts. The study reported here employed a deliberate structured review of extensive literature by scholars in the nature of technology to answer the following research questions: (a) What are the fundamental questions about technology that appear within the NOT literature; and (b) What thinking exists among scholars of technology regarding those questions?

Our analysis produced ten themes, framed as the following fundamental NOT questions:

  1. What is technology?
  2. How are new technologies created?
  3. Why are new technologies created?
  4. How are science and technology related?
  5. To what extent, and in what ways, does society impact technological development?
  6. In what ways, and to what extent, does technology determine the structure of society?
  7. In what ways, and to what extent, does technology affect how people think and act?
  8. How is technology related to nature?
  9. How should technologies be evaluated?
  10. How should humanity orient itself toward technology?

Several of these issues and the consensus views among scholars are particularly relevant to STEM literacy, and we address the implications of these for STEM education efforts.

Paper #10394: Merging classroom and field-based investigation to support students’ understanding of water quality: The impact of a science field camp experience

Principal Author: Cathy Wissehr, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: Lisa Wood, University of Arkansas; Madison Brown, University of Arkansas


Environmental education has garnered progressively more attention in recent years as schools prepare to enact the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS include an increased focus on environmental issues such as environmental impacts and climate change. Educating young students is essential to developing a generation of stewards that are knowledgeable of their environmental impact and motivated to incite positive change in their surroundings. Using a mixed-methods study, a quantitative and qualitative analysis was conducted to evaluate fifth grade students’ understanding of material learned during the Creek Critters class, a hands-on macroinvertebrate investigation with a focus on using the invertebrates as indicators of water quality and taught as part of a residential field-based environmental education program. Students attending the program were given pre-and post-assessments that evaluated their knowledge of the concepts of water quality and benthic macroinvertebrates discussed at the residential program. These assessments focused on students’ labeled drawings of organisms that live in and around aquatic environments. The researchers developed a coding system for analyzing the drawings for accuracy to determine students’ understanding of the related concepts. Assessments were “scored” based on their accuracy in addressing questions and demonstrating knowledge of environmental concepts. Evaluation of the post-assessments demonstrated a statistically significant decrease in overall scores related to understanding environmental issues in general; however, a significantly positive increase was recorded in the scores pertaining to water quality and benthic macroinvertebrates, the focus of the Creek Critters class. Other data included researcher observations and field notes both while the students were collecting samples and observing conditions in and along the creek and well as back in the classroom where they explored more in depth how to use the macroinvertebrates to determine the quality of the creek water.

Paper #10393: An Early Shared Clinical Experience as the Foundation for Successful STEM Teacher Preparation

Principal Author: Gayle N.. Evans, University of Florida
Co-Authors: Kristen Apraiz, University of Florida


Integration of university-based coursework with meaningful and relevant clinical experiences is an essential component of successful teacher preparation programs. Arranging opportunities for undergraduates to design, plan and implement weekly lessons in a supported setting can be a powerful way for potential PSTs to explore their own interest in teaching, while also building a strong pedagogical and experiential foundation for later coursework and experiences. In this presentation we share the dramatic revision of the introductory course in a STEM teacher preparation program targeted at undergraduate students majoring in STEM fields who hope to teach math or science in grades 6-12. The primary focus of the re-designed course is an intensive, collective and supported clinical experience in which PSTs spend two hours per week together in an elementary afterschool program teaching 5E STEM lessons to small groups of students in grades K-5. Preliminary analysis of data collected through weekly and final reflections indicate that students valued the support they receive from both university faculty and peers through the shared clinical experience.  Pre and post concept maps administered at the beginning and end of the semester show the development of PST thinking about what it means to be a math or science teacher. There have also been significant gains in program retention from this introductory course into subsequent courses in the program.


Paper #10392: Examining the Impact of a Relatively Short Intervention on Science Teachers’ Robotics Teaching Efficacy Beliefs and Interest in Educational Robotics

Principal Author: Erdogan Kaya, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Co-Authors: Ezgi Yesilyurt, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Hasan Deniz, University of Nevada Las Vegas


We aimed to examine to what extent science teachers' robotics teaching efficacy beliefs and interest in educational robotics change as a result of two weeks of classroom intervention about educational robotics as part of a graduate level technology course designed for science teachers. We found that science teachers improved their both confidence and interest in teaching educational robotics. However, they were not sure to what extent they could improve their students' knowledge and skills in robotics. 

Paper #10391: A State-Wide Initiative for Professional Learning: SciCamps

Principal Author: Catherine Koehler, Southern CT State University
Co-Authors: Jeff Thomas, Central CT State University; Todd Campbell, University of Connecticut; Marsha Bednarski, Central CT State University; Cindy Kern, Quinnipiac University


In 2015, Connecticut became the 15th state to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] (Lead States, 2013). As with many other states that are contemplating or have already adopted NGSS, there are many challenges to take into consideration before these new standards will roll out in each state. Since CT has adopted this reform initiative, it is essential that all parties in the science education pipeline be part of the restructuring movement of our curriculum, professional learning, assessment as well as preservice and inservice science teacher training. In this proposal, we will describe phase 2 of the CoNSEPT project, and how we leveraged a strong IHE professional learning community (PLC) to work toward our goal of introducing NGSS teaching and learning to inservice teachers through SciCamps in Connecticut. One of our IHE faculty members suggested that we explore the notion of EdCamps. An EdCamp is a free, voluntary, participant-driven “unconference” where professionals gather to discuss their professional learning needs. These camps are usually conducted on Saturdays when teachers have time for professional learning. EdCamps are multi-disciplinary and any teacher from any discipline can attend (Carpenter & Linton, nd). We decided to restrict our SciCamp to only teachers of science, and to focus on the implementation of NGSS.  During our presentation, we will discuss how we developed the SciCamps and data we collected from the two sessions that took place during the 2016-2017 academic year. We will show how to organize a SciCamp and discuss the challenges and strategies that we used to make them successful.

Paper #11061: Exploring pedagogical content knowledge of pre-service teachers through their participation in lesson study

Principal Author: Sandra A. Lampley, University of Alabama in Huntsville


Too often in teacher education there is a disconnect between acquiring knowledge in university coursework and applying that knowledge in the classroom (Feiman-Nemser & Buchman, 1986; Kennedy, 1999). While the coursework, lectures, and discussion generated in class may provide a strong theoretical basis for teaching, without situated knowledge, there may be a disconnect in pre-service teachers understanding of how this knowledge applies to the classroom (Kennedy, 1999).  This theory-to-practice gap is a major factor contributing to the lack of success of many teacher education programs in influencing teacher learning (Tabachnick & Zeichner, 1999). 


One potential method of bridging the gap between theory and practice could be through the process of lesson study.  Originating in Japan, lesson study is a type of teacher professional development that has been credited for the steady improvement of Japanese instruction (Fernandez & Yoshida, 2004; Stigler & Hiebert, 1997) and has gained popularity in the U.S. (Kriewaldt, 2012; Lewis, Perry, & Murta, 2006). This study evaluated the potential that lesson study holds for advancing pre-service teachers’ PCK in science teaching in a secondary science methods course. PCK was examined because it is believed to have the greatest impact on teachers’ classroom actions (Gess-Newsome, 1999; Grossman, 1990) and the promotion of student learning (Shulman, 1986).


Findings indicate that implementation of lesson study in a science methods classroom was a helpful tool in advancing pre-service teachers’  PCK for science teaching.  Most participants demonstrated growth in at least one aspect of PCK, and many demonstrated growth in several constructs.  The constructs of PCK that showed the most growth included knowledge of instructional strategies followed by knowledge of curriculum.  Most participants stated their goals for participating in lesson study were met and all participants stated they would like to participate in lesson study again. 

Paper #11060: Give bugs a chance: Increasing preservice teacher knowledge of life sciences through hands-on experiences with live insects and related arthropods

Principal Author: Faith J. Weeks, Towson University


Like it or not, insects and their arthropod cousins are all around us – under our lawns, on our trees, and in our homes.  There are more than one million different species of insects known today, making them the most dominant group of animals on the planet.  Along with their cousins the arachnids, crustaceans, and myriapods, a very large amount of the biodiversity in this world is just arthropods. However, most schools teach very little about arthropods, and even fewer teacher preparation programs include instruction for preservice teachers on how to teach or use these animals in the classroom.  Yet children are often interested and intrigued by this group of animals, especially live arthropods, suggesting that more instruction in arthropod biology and behaviors may be needed in teacher preparation programs to help the preservice teachers not only learn how to teach about and with arthropods, but also to learn the content themselves.  To determine the impact of using live insects and related arthropods to teach life sciences to preservice elementary teachers, this study examined the use of pictures and videos of arthropods in class compared to including live arthropods, such as butterflies, cockroaches, millipedes, and spiders, into the curriculum.  The results show that providing students the opportunity to observe and interact with live arthropods increased their knowledge of this group of animals over those that only saw pictures and videos of arthropods.  This suggests that teacher preparation programs may wish to include courses that give students these important experiences to strengthen their understanding of life sciences, help them overcome any concerns or tension, and to demonstrate how to incorporate live animals into their future classrooms.

Paper #10390: Learning the Engineering Design Process through Framework of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR)

Principal Author: Meghan Phadke, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Justine Kim, University of Minnesota


In this study, upper elementary students explored the engineering design process through the framework of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). YPAR is an emerging and dynamic approach to participatory learning that is youth-directed and situated in the lived realities of students (Cammarota & Fine, 2008). Rather than single-disciplinary inquiry pursuits, this study aimed to integrate engineering and civics inquiry in order to bridge limitations of siloed, disciplinary-centered approaches. In this eight week study, 32 fourth and fifth grade students identified and investigated a desire they had for their community, self-selected into six research teams investigating distinct questions, took action to design a solution(s), and reflected on the impact of this process, finally presenting their findings and proposals to appropriate decision-makers.

In addition to the YPAR work, student interviews and open-ended surveys were evaluated and coded for themes using grounded theory. Two themes emerging from this analysis are the development of agentic learning and collective learning skills. We believe YPAR empowered students to become agents of their own education, leaving the students to decide the trajectory and content of their learning. Additionally, the collaborative and cooperative nature of the work built trust and solidarity amongst the students. Our analysis revealed that students felt a disconnect between engineering, as presented in existing science curriculum, and their civic and social lives both inside and out of the classroom. YPAR, as a framework for engaging in engineering inquiry, served to bridge this disconnect. In order to meet the needs of the 21st century, not only must education move away from siloed disciplinary-centered class sessions towards student-centered, project based, integrated study, but it must also encourage students to assert their roles as agents for equitable change. We argue that YPAR, as an important complement to engineering inquiry, can achieve this.

Paper #10389: Make to Learn Invention Kits

Principal Author: James Rutter, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Nigel Standish; David Slykuis; Glen Bull, University of Virginia; Joe Garofalo, University of Virginia


This paper reports on student and teacher outcomes in the implementation of the Make To Learn Invention Kits, an integrated STEM curriculum leveraging key inventions of the 19th Century (e.g., the telegraph and electric motor). 

The goal of the currently reported study was to determine the extent to which the initial results could be replicated at a geographically remote sites , without on-site support for implementation of the Make to Learn Intention Kit. Teachers and students at three middle schools at other sites implemented the Solenoid Invention Kit through use of resources provided on the Make to Learn web site (www.maketolearn.org).

Student outcomes, in the form of science content knowledge, were measured prior to and after completing the Solenoid Invention Kit. This analysis provides a summative evaluation of results. To provide additional context for interpretation of results, teachers and students were interviewed after completion of the unit.

Paper #10388: Learning about culturally relevant pedagogy and simple machine through the creation of a cultural book

Principal Author: Line A.. Saint-Hilaire, Queens College/CUNY


Teachers should help students make connections between known facts and experiences to foster new understandings. Inquiry-based instruction must help students make meaningful connection with their cultural backgrounds to facilitate science learning. Without culturally relevant pedagogy, inquiry-based science instruction may not be efficient in helping most students in United States classrooms to learn science. In this case study, I used the integration of one strategy, the creation of a culture and science book, to bring cultural awareness and scientific knowledge to teachers within the context of learning science and provide them with a strategy that they can replicate. The creation of a culture and science book by a diverse group of future teachers, allowed them to learn about their own culture, the cultures of others and about simple machines. While preservice teachers were able to gain knowledge about simple machines when CRP was used in my science methods course, several could not fully articulate the physics concepts involved when simple machines is used to do work. I think that PSTs need to be given more guidance doing this assignment and/or the concept should be taught in class as well.

Paper #10387: Development and Analysis of Middle and High School Students’ Conceptions of Weather, Climate, & Climate Change

Principal Author: Tina J. Cartwright, Marshall University
Co-Authors: Deb Hemler, Fairmont State University; Paula Magee, Indiana University Indianapolis


An important global and environmental challenge facing the citizens of the 21st century will be climate change. Yet, climate change understanding remains problematic for students and teachers. Conceptualizing the small fluctuations associated with long term changes in temperature and precipitation is a daunting task for the general public let alone for the middle-aged adolescent. This study examined students’ understandings of climate change, climate and weather in a rural mid-Atlantic section of the US over a 4 year period. A initial questionnaire was given to 7th/8th grade students to assess their ideas and knowledge about the topics just prior to a typical unit of instruction. To better understand the development of students’ ideas, the questionnaire was readministered (N=32) three times post instruction (immediately after, 6 months after and 4 years after). Interviews were also conducted with 10 students twice - 6 months post instruction and 4 years post instruction. Data were analyzed using both Next Generation Science Standards and National Research Council core ideas. Students’ understandings and their development over time, are identified and will be discussed. Possible interventions to support stronger learning will be presented. The questionnaire will be discussed along with the results and recommendations for science teacher educators who are preparing teachers for the NGSS and NRC.

Paper #10386: RISE-ing to the Occasion: Collaborative Action Research to Improve STEM Teacher Recruitment, Preparation, and Retention

Principal Author: Frederick B. Bradley, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Allan Feldman, University of South Florida


A persistent and growing shortage of STEM students, teachers, and professionals in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields is seen by many as a threat to the nation’s global economic standing. An inadequate supply of quality STEM teachers is often cited as a reason for deficits in these areas. This collaborative action research (CAR) is situated within the long-term goals of a National Science Foundation funded, Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at a research-intensive university in the southeast US. This initiative seeks to improve STEM teacher recruitment, preparation and retention in high-need middle and secondary classrooms and has partnered with a large local title I school district. It offers two different of scholarship options for students wishing to supplement their undergraduate STEM degree, with a Master of Arts in Teaching. However, because these scholarships are only open to 3rd year STEM majors or degree holders, an eight-week Research In STEM Education (RISE) internship is used to promote interest in teaching amongst 1st and 2nd year STEM majors. The 2017 RISE internship is the setting for this research, and it is designed to allow interns to examine their practice as teachers of STEM in two informal learning settings (a science museum and an aquarium). It is hoped the interactions, which take place during the course of RISE will provide the 1st and 2nd authors with opportunities to critique their roles as designers and facilitators of an undergraduate CAR experience, and to gain an understanding of factors, which may promote interest in STEM teaching. Additionally, each RISE member is made conscious of their participation in a community of practice (COP), and also work to improve their individual and collective practice in this area. The method of enhanced normal practice (ENP) will be used to guide participants through their research journey, and is expected to lead to understandings as the COP shares anecdotes, tries out new ideas, and engages in systematic inquiry. Although data analysis is incomplete, insights regarding interns’ recognition and implementations of successful teaching strategies have emerged, whether such growth translates into a genuine interest in STEM teaching remains to be seen. Regardless, the 1st author is emboldened by the interns’ progress, and has gained confidence by virtue of their successes in both the teaching and research arenas.

Paper #11059: Using Action Research to Improve an Elementary Preservice Teacher’s Science Self-Efficacy

Principal Author: Melanie E.. Kinskey, University of South Florida


        While previous research has explored the need to improve elementary preservice teacher science teaching self-efficacy (Avery & Meyer, 2012; Plourde, 2002; Knaggs & Sondergeld, 2015), this continues to be an area of concern for elementary science teacher educators. With a substantial quantity of research having been conducted in the area of utilizing science methods and content courses to improve elementary preservice teacher confidence in teaching science (Kirst & Flood, 2017; Menon & Sadler, 2016; Kazempour & Sadler, 2014; Scott, 2016), there is limited research in the area of improving elementary science self-efficacy through action research during field experiences. This poster presentation shares a case study of one preservice teacher’s practices as she engages in action research during authentic teaching opportunities in an effort to improve her confidence and abilities with teaching elementary science.

            Through a series of qualitative data collection, including semi-structured interviews, collaborative planning sessions, and recorded teaching experiences, the preservice teacher identifies which elements of teaching has the largest impact on her science self-efficacy. Initial results demonstrate a parallel to Shulman’s (1994) theory of knowledge bases, specifically a lack of curriculum knowledge, which provide a platform for the development of goals during action research. The results of this presentation provide recommendations for utilizing action research in field experiences with elementary preservice teachers as a method of improving science teaching self-efficacy.

Paper #10384: Preservice Science Teachers’ Impressions of Initial Teaching Experiences and the Impact of Those Experiences on Motivation for Choosing Teaching as a Career

Principal Author: Toshinobu Hatanaka, Toho University
Co-Authors: William (Bill) F. McComas, University of Arkansas


There are several unique elements in the UTeach model for science and mathematics teacher preparation developed by the U of Texas at Austin and now adopted by more than 40 institutions across the U.S. One aspect of the program ensure that all candidates have early real-world teaching practice in initial classes called Step 1 and Step 2. We conducted a survey of preservice teachers at one university enrolled in Step 1 to clarify their impressions of this initial (try-it-out) teaching practice, specifically to examine their motivations and reasons why some stepped out of the program after Step 1.


We developed the questionnaires by reviewing related research on early field experiences including preservice teachers’ feelings of anxiety for teaching and their motivations for the teaching profession. The questionnaire consisted of sections asking for their 1) impressions of the early practice experience through closed response items with space for their suggestions and 2) motivations before and after participating in the STEP 1 program with closed response items and space to state their reasons. Besides that, their length of study at the university, their reasons for taking Step 1, and their intention for continuing the program were asked.


We provided the questionnaire survey to all preservice teachers enrolled in Step 1 in the 2017 Spring semester with all 23 teachers responded. From the survey, we found that the preservice teachers did not have much anxiety even during this initial teaching practice experience likely because they worked in pairs and the class instructors coached them. In addition, we found that their motivation with respect to teaching had increased. By analyzing the items that showed increased from pre-STEP 1 to post, we can infer that this initial teaching practice experience provides opportunities for these potential teacher candidates to determine if teaching as a profession is a good fit. Reasons stated for their decision not to continue in the program were not related to anxiety or discomfort during initial teaching practice, but several students mentioned changing their major as a reason not to pursue teaching as a career. Overall, the results of this student strongly suggestion that TE programs should contain similar opportunities for early field practice even at the beginning stages of preservice teacher education.

Paper #10383: Teleological alternative conceptions about evolution in pre-service and in-service science teachers

Principal Author: Kathryn Green, North Carolina State University
Co-Authors: Cesar Delgado, North Carolina State University


Evolution is the basis of all biological sciences; however, evolutionary concepts are often difficult to teach and learn. Alternative conceptions about evolution are present in teachers and students alike. One type of alternative conception often seen is based on teleology, which is the belief that there is a purpose behind natural processes – for instance, the belief that llamas have evolved thick fur in order to survive in the cold Andes mountains. Instead, random mutations resulted in some llamas with thick fur which were better able to survive and reproduce in the cold Andes – they did not evolve the fur so that they could survive. This study presents the intervention about teleological alternative conceptions delivered to pre-service and in-service middle and high school science teachers. A set of items from a validated evolution instrument that measures teleological alternative conceptions was administered as a pre- and post-test; statistically significant gains of very large effect size (>1) were obtained.

Paper #10382: History of Science in the Preparation of Future Science Teachers: Illustrations from Multiple Cases with Implications for Science Teacher Education

Principal Author: William (Bill) F. McComas, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: Noushin Nouri, University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley


Many have advocated the inclusion of nature of science (NOS) in the preparation of future science teachers often accompanied by a recommendation that history of science (HOS) but be an appropriate vehicle for including NOS ideas in the classroom. We were fortunate to recognize that the UTeach program, a national model for undergraduate teacher preparation, includes Perspectives on Science and Mathematics, (herein called Perspectives) a class – based on a model syllabus provided to instructors — designed to share content about the History of Science (HOS) with preservice teachers. This allowed us the opportunity to explore syllabi and interview instructors in a variety of institutions from a variety of backgrounds to address the following issues: to (a) gain insights into rationales and methods for teaching such a class, (b) describe and evaluate the model science lessons provided; (c) compare the relationship of the various versions of the Perspectives class with the model curriculum; (d) to highlight the instructors’ best practices as a basis for improving the UTeach model curriculum. In addition, the study highlighted the relationship between Perspectives and the nature of science (NOS) by following the possible links to the NOS in the model curriculum and instructors’ classroom practices.

This study includes information collected from 11 individual university sites by conducting 16 instructor interviews, reviewing syllabi and other course materials, and analyzing survey responses resulting in a case study for each site. Analysis of the 11 cases showed that few instructors adheres strictly to the model curriculum, but adapted portions. Instructors had a variety of rationales for the class and exhibited a number of interesting teaching techniques including lecture/discussion or assigned readings, role playing activities and re-enactment of historical experiments to be shared with those attending this session. We were critical that few explicit links to NOS were noted but opportunities for such links will be discussed.

Paper #10381: Beyond the classroom: Advancing preservice teacher’s pedagogy to include out-of-classroom learning experiences

Principal Author: Kelly K. Feille, University of Oklahoma


Providing students with learning experiences outside the science classroom can help to solidify science understandings connected with real-world learning experiences (Klemmer, Waliczek, & Zajicek, 2005; Ozer 2007; Wagner 2000), positively impact their social and cognitive development (Martin 2003; Rivkin 1997; Thorp & Townsend 2001), and as a result, hopefully deepen their interest in the field of science and science education. To encourage the use of learning environments beyond the four walls of a classroom, teacher preparation programs should integrate learning experiences for preservice teachers that engage them in learning science and methods for science teaching beyond the classroom. The purpose of this study is to investigate how preservice teachers’ learning and pedagogical moments in a elementary science methods class that extends beyond the classroom setting may influence the frequency and type of out-of-classroom experiences they include in self-constructed, 5E lesson plans. Findings in this exploratory study thus far indicate that preservice teachers who experience out-of-classroom learning in their science methods course are more likely to include similar types of learning in their written lesson plans. However, limited and one-time exposure may not be enough to provide the intense pedagogical moments needed by teachers to shift their perspective to one that frequently includes non-traditional environments for teaching science.

Paper #11058: Accessing Science through Wonder: The Use of Wonder Journals and a Wonder Investigation Project with Pre-service Elementary Teachers

Principal Author: Christie C.. Byers, George Mason University
Co-Authors: Andrew Gilbert, George Mason University


Teacher educators worldwide face the ongoing challenge of engaging pre-service elementary teachers (PSETs) in meaningful science teaching and learning experiences that help them develop a connection to the subject matter and become competent teachers of science. Due to limited or negative experiences with science learning during their own schooling, many PSETs hold tentative or unfavorable views of themselves as future science teachers, and may risk avoiding teaching science altogether. Further, there is a widespread representation of science in school contexts as a compilation of disconnected facts requiring memorization and regurgitation, rather than as a dynamic subject area involving engagement in various scientific practices and full of emotive/aesthetic elements. Scientists themselves often refer to the emotive/aesthetic concept of wonder as an integral element of their work – a state of mind or feeling – and a powerful force that drives them deeper into exploration of phenomena. Thus, evoking wonder with future elementary teachers holds potential to break this cycle of disconnection and discomfort with science in a manner consistent with its authentic epistemic nature. We report on an ongoing qualitative case study looking at PSET responses to a pedagogy designed to evoke wonder within a science methods course, specifically through the use of wonder journals and the preparation and presentation of a final project based on a personal science wonder. The elicitation of wonder is examined for the potential to bolster PSETs with the pedagogical courage and positive engagement with science necessary to make room in their future classrooms for meaningful and authentic science instruction. In addition, the findings point to connections to elements of identity and views of self, suggesting a means by which PSETs might develop a stronger personal relationship to science - as a part of who these PSETs are now, and who they hope to be in the future. We include the theoretical foundations underpinning conceptions of wonder in relation to science education as well as the empirical results of a qualitative case study examining PSETs’ responses to these pedagogical elements. We discuss how wonder is an integral emotive, epistemic aspect of learning and practicing science, and how the elicitation of wonder can help students of all ages tap into this natural part of themselves as a means to connect with science.

Paper #10380: Impacts of the Concept Mapping Strategy in Introductory Biology Courses on Learning & Retention of Underrepresented STEM Students

Principal Author: Catherine Martin-Dunlop, Morgan State University
Co-Authors: Samala Lewis, Morgan State University; Ernest J.. Steele, Morgan State University; Robert Javonillo, Morgan State University


The most critical factor in recruiting and retaining STEM majors is the first two years of college (Engage to Excel, 2012, p. ii). However, many students change their major from STEM to non-STEM majors after enrolling in the introductory biology courses, BIOL 105 and BIOL 106 at our university, part of the 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities system in the United States. A lack of pedagogical knowledge among college and university faculty is likely contributing to this problem and may lead to decreased retention in STEM majors and a narrowing STEM workforce pipeline for many underrepresented students. The goal of this study is to evaluate the use of concept mapping as an active learning strategy to improve students’ academic self-efficacy, metacognitive skills, academic performance, and ultimately, retention and graduation rates in STEM majors.  The study uses a mixed-methods, pretest-posttest design with 122 undergraduate students in the experimental group and 84 in the control group.  Year 1 results from this three-year, NSF-funded project reveals a statistically significant difference for two of the seven scales when comparing pretest and posttest scores from the new instrument we created called the Self-Efficacy And Learning Survey (SEALS). Effect sizes were considered large for the intervention group for the two scales—0.63 standard deviations (SD) for Elaboration and 0.70 SD for Metacognitive Self-Regulation.  Other scales include Self-Efficacy, Organization, Peer Learning, Critical Thinking, and Metacognitive Responsiveness.  The 43-item instrument uses a 1-7 response scale assessing how ‘true or untrue’ a statement is for a student.  For both groups, Self-Efficacy dropped noticeably by the end of the semester likely due to students going through an ‘adjustment phase’ as they adapt to post-secondary education.  A subsample of students were also interviewed and both paper versions and digital concept maps were periodically collected for assessment of student’ mapping skill.  Correlations will also be investigated between all of the SEALS’ variables, course grades, and mapping skill. 


Paper #11057: A Scientist, Teacher Educator and Teacher Collaborative: Innovative Professional Learning Design focused on Climate Change

Principal Author: Mary K. Stapleton, Towson University
Co-Authors: Asli Sezen-Barrie, University of Maine


The new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for a dramatic shift in science teaching and learning, with a focus on students engaging in science practices as they make sense of natural phenomena. In addition, the NGSS have a significant and explicit focus on climate change.  The adoption of these new standards in many states across the nation have created a critical need for on-going professional learning as in-service science educators begin to implement three-dimensional instruction in their classrooms.  This paper describes an innovative professional learning workshop on climate change for secondary science teachers, designed by teacher educators and scientists.  The workshop was designed to improve teachers’ capacity to deliver effective three-dimensional climate change instruction in their classrooms. We present the structure and goals of the workshop, describe how theories of effective professional learning drove the design of the workshop, and address the affordances and challenges of implementing this type of professional learning experience.

Paper #10379: Predicting Persistence through Science Teaching Identity and Course and Field Experiences

Principal Author: Vishodana Thamotharan, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Zahra Hazari, Florida International University


There is a growing need for science teachers around the world, including the United States. The alarming turnover rate is compounded by the issue of equity as the highly qualified teachers are accepting positions in high socioeconomic status schools (Marder, 2017). While there is a national call to produce more science teachers, students cite safety, low salary and lack of advancement opportunities as reasons for not pursuing a career in teaching (Guarino, 2006). Yet, Marder found that approximately 50% of STEM majors have some interest in teaching (2017).


This study is based on a program that capitalizes on this interest. The program allows students to graduate with both a STEM Bachelors Degree as well as a Secondary Science Teaching Certificate. Students have the option to enter graduate school, professional school, STEM industry or science teaching upon graduation. The study examines the math and science teaching identity (MSTI) and career interests of students, with STEM majors, enrolled in science education courses in this program. The researchers/presenters have chosen to focus on identity because research has shown that identity is linked to persistence (Hazari et al., 2011). The findings from this study reinforce the link between identity and persistence and provide tangible experiences to include in science education course and field work to impact MSTI and thereby student’s persistence within the program as well as student interest in pursuing a career in math and science teaching.


The presenters adapted MSTI instrument from disciplinary identity instrument and tested its validity and reliability. We performed factor analysis which loaded three factors aligning with the three subconstructs: recognition, interest and performance competence. All items loaded >0.5. For predictive validity we found that the correlation with career choice to be very significant (r=0.58***). We also found the correlation with taking the next course to be very significant (r=0.35***). For reliability, we found the instrument to be reliable (a=0.95). In regards to predictive course and field experiences, we found students’ perception of the instructor’s preparedness and the mentor teacher’s positive feedback to be significantly predictive of MSTI.

Paper #10378: Using the MASTER model framework to support teachers in incorporating research practices in the secondary classroom

Principal Author: Kathleen M.. Hill, Pennsylvania State University
Co-Authors: Amanda J.. Smith, Pennsylvania State University; Matthew M.. Johnson, Pennsylvania State University; Annmarie R.. Ward, Pennsylvania State University


Recent STEM education reforms emphasize the learning of disciplinary ideas through the practices of experts, however, teachers often lack experience in research. Immersion experiences in research settings provide opportunities for teachers to increase their knowledge of content and science and/or engineering practices. The goal of our immersion program was to influence classroom learning by changing teachers’ practice such that they teach content and the nature of research using the practices. The program engaged teachers in research 80% of the time and PD 20% of the time. Each week, the teachers participated in six hours of PD designed to support them in translating their research experience into the classroom setting. The Modeling Authentic STEM Research model (MASTER model; Ward, 2015) was used as an intervention to support teachers in translating their research experience into classroom research activities designed to for students to investigate and ultimately explain a particular phenomenon or solve an identified problem. Two of the high school science teachers who teach in highly diverse, urban settings are the focus of this study. Data from these teachers – Amy in an academic science lab and Sara in an engineering industry setting – are explored to investigate how the MASTER model framework supported them in planning, organizing, and implementing classroom research projects with their students. Each teacher had a set of three MASTER models – one representing the researcher’s work, one representing their summer research project, and one representing the classroom research project. Both teachers directly incorporated investigations from their summer research into their classroom investigations. In addition, Amy included other aspects of her research scientist’s work into her student projects. Using the MASTER model as an intervention, the teachers were able to develop practices-based curriculum for their secondary-level students. Consistent with other studies, this study indicated that teachers can be supported to successfully transfer the science and engineering practices of their research experiences into classroom research projects for their students. While the teachers had engaged in nearly all of the practices in their research projects, it is evident that the MASTER model framework supported them in planning and implementing student-led investigations of phenomena and engineering problems.

Paper #10377: How Teachers’ Beliefs About Climate Change Influence Their Instruction, Student Understanding, and Willingness to Take Action

Principal Author: Molly T. Nation, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Allan Feldman, University of South Florida; Glenn G. Smith, University of South Florida


This research study examines the complex nature of science teacher beliefs about climate change, their instructional practice in the marine science classroom, and the impacts on student outcomes. The study takes place within four marine science classrooms over the course of one semester. The teachers taking part in the study and their respective students are representative participants of the greater school district. The purpose of this study was to better understand teachers’ understandings and beliefs about climate change, and how individuals feel their beliefs impact instructional practices. Teacher and student data were collected from classroom observations, surveys, interviews, and a comprehensive midterm exam of the content. The qualitative and quantitative data collected were analyzed and compared through a fully mixed methods approach by which the findings of both types of data were compared and contrasted to triangulate findings. Findings from the study suggest teachers have strong beliefs about the causes and implications of climate change, they have high levels of concern for the impacts it will have on future generations, and value the topic as a necessary component of science education. However, this study revealed the controversial nature of the topic, current political climate, and potential resistance from stakeholders inhibited teachers from espousing these beliefs within their instruction of the curriculum. This resulted in teacher beliefs having essentially no impacts on their classroom instruction or resulting student outcomes.

Paper #10376: STEM Readiness: Connecting Science, Engineering and Business Entrepreneurship with Middle School Teachers and Students

Principal Author: Amy Cox-Petersen, Cal State Fullerton
Co-Authors: Jidong Huang, Cal State Fullerton; Pradeep Nair, Cal State Fullerton; Kim Case, Cal State Fullerton; John Jackson, Cal State Fullerton; Len Annetta, East Carolina University


Abstract: This paper explores the findings related to STEM-Inc, an afterschool program in four southern California middle schools that combines team-based, real-world engineering and computer science projects with business entrepreneurship concepts. One important goal of the program is to sustain student interest in STEM subjects and introduce them to a variety of STEM-related careers. Middle school students work with university student mentors and middle school teachers to develop a problem that necessitates a business plan for developing a product. While interest in STEM activities, teamwork, and entrepreneurial confidence for students were positively impacted, no significant improvements were observed in STEM skills and interest in STEM fields. Also, data indicates that the STEM-Inc program resulted in considerable positive influences on college student mentors and middle school teachers. Two mentors reported that they are considering a career in teaching after their involvement in STEM-Inc program while middle school teachers reported being confident in the inclusion of engineering examples and the design process in their math and science courses.

Paper #10375: Supporting teacher development: Science teacher trajectories

Principal Author: Julie A. Luft, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Brooke Whitworth, University of Mississippi; Shannon Navy, Kent State University; Amanda Berry, Royal Melbourne Technical Institute; Vanessa Kind, Durham University


Science teacher professional development is complex. Phases in a teacher’s career necessitate different professional learning opportunities. Furthermore, knowledge bases, practices, and attributes need to be cultivated during these times. For science teachers, it is not always evident how to progressively link professional learning opportunities towards different outcomes, including being a department head, a teacher leader, curriculum developer, or even a “master teacher.” In order to spur a discussion about purposeful learning, this paper uses a theory of transformative learning to examine research pertaining to the professional learning of science teachers. The result is a framework that suggests teachers should build their knowledge, practices, and attributes in a way that allows them to realize their potential within specific communities. The conceptual framework acknowledges that teachers change over time; that knowledge, practices, and attributes are involved in these changes; and that the situated positions of teachers contributes to these changes. Examples associated with this framework are shared in the paper. By articulating this framework, educational researchers may approach the study of science teacher development in different ways, which can help guide program development, teacher learning and potential policy decisions. Most importantly, this framework offers science teachers a way to consider their own professional growth.

Paper #10374: Comparison of teacher preparedness between face-to-face and online elementary science methods courses

Principal Author: John L. Pecore, University of West Florida
Co-Authors: Jennifer Mesa, University of West Florida; Benjamin M. Waller, University of West Florida


Empirical research comparing student learning in online and face-to-face course offerings have generally found no significant differences in achievement (Means, Toyama, Murphy, & Baki, 2013). Blended courses, however, were found to have a slight advantage in student achievement compared to fully online or traditional face-to-face offerings. Notwithstanding, Xu & Jaggars, (2013) caution that online coursework may be less effective in some disciplines. Few studies have attempted to compare learning of students enrolled in traditional face-to-face and online (or blended) teacher education courses. Within science education specifically, no research to date has examined the learning of pre-service science teachers in traditional face-to-face and online courses. Using a quasi-experimental design, this research study investigated the following question: Do students taking an online elementary science methods course perform as well or better on the science portion of the required state elementary science teacher certification exam than students taking a similar face-to-face course? Study participants consisted of 118 students completing an elementary science methods course, 56 students in a face-to-face offering and 62 in an online offering, and taking the state elementary science teacher certification exam. Both the face-to-face and online courses shared the same syllabus with the same learning outcomes and course topics. Additionally, the courses were designed using the UDL framework to account for the three constructs of usability, interactivity and reflection. Data collection included state exam pass rates and potential influencing factors such as age, GPA, first time in college, and transfer student. Findings revealed no statistical difference in participants’ state elementary science teacher certification exam pass rates between the face-to-face and online course.

Paper #10373: A Diagnostic Assessment of Secondary Teacher Candidates’ Views on Science Teaching

Principal Author: Nate Carnes


The DASTT-C instrument provides participants with a prompt to draw a picture of themselves as science teachers at work. Additional prompts encouraged them to explain what the teacher and students do. A scoring sheet and continuum assists in the analyses of the drawings. In this exploratory case study, this instrument was used as a diagnostic assessment. As the DASTT-C was designed to analyze images of science teaching and learning through quantitative means, it was adapted to document secondary science preservice teachers’ knowledge of instructional practices and issues in context of course objectives. The following questions guided the analyses. What images did the candidates have of science teaching? What images did the candidates of have science learning? What experiences and/or sources influenced the candidates’ images? Even though most of the illustrations were considered to be teacher- centered, the accompanying narratives touched upon some practices supported by science education scholarship. Furthermore, candidates’ initial views helped the course instructor modify planned course experiences so that they were personally meaningful and relevant. While this exploratory case study focuses on secondary teacher candidates, it should be of particular interest to ASTE members who prepare teacher candidates at all levels.

Paper #13026: Promoting Language and Literacy in the Science Classroom: Pre-service Collaboration

Principal Author: Annie Duguay, Center for Applied Linguistics
Co-Authors: Jennifer Renn, Center for Applied Linguistics; Jillian Wendt, University of District of Columbia; Maria Peters, University of District of Columbia; J'Aron Heard, University of the District of Columbia


Introducing students to academic language is a challenge for all teachers, especially as classroom content becomes more complex with college and career readiness standards. This one-hour session will focus on preparing middle school science educators to meet the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students. Through an NSF-funded grant, instructional experts on language and literacy development from the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) have partnered with the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) to create lesson modules related to developing language skills in the middle school science classroom. These modules, which focus on academic language development for students who are English learners or speakers of non-standard dialects, are part of UDC’s Master’s in Teaching (MAT) program for middle school science educators. Drawing on the literature surrounding the academic language of science and language development in English learners, the content of these modules was developed to be appropriate for teacher educators and science teachers at all levels.



In this experiential session, we will describe the collaboration between CAL and UDC, how the modules were created, observations from the delivery of the modules, and outcomes in terms of how teacher candidates applied the information and strategies directly with students. We will also introduce participants to the module content by engaging them in hands-on activities and discuss direct classroom implications and outcomes.



Through attending this session, participants will be able to meet the following objectives:

  • Explain the difference between ‘academic styles’ of language use in science and ‘conversational styles’ of language use in everyday situations.
  • Analyze a science text and classroom lesson at the three levels of academic language.
  • Write language objectives that target academic language use in science lessons.
  • Connect theoretical models of academic language to classroom instructional practices.

Paper #10372: Science Teacher Professional Noticing: What do “expert” teachers notice and how does professional development change their noticing ability?

Principal Author: Meredith Houle Vaughn, San Diego State University
Co-Authors: Lauren Stewart, San Diego State University; Megan D'Errico, San Diego State University; Donna Ross, San Diego State University


Research on professional noticing in science education is a recent development and the current literature is only focused on prospective teachers, not in-service teachers. In conjunction with an on-going five-year NSF-funded project, our research seeks to further inform this area.

This project is a professional development (PD) program focused on students’ ideas and teacher leadership that 16 experienced science teachers participated in. Noticing is a compilation of attending to and interpreting students’ ideas and responding. Our study considers only the attending and interpreting components of noticing. A noticing task was developed in which the teachers watched a six-minute video clip of a student-directed genetics activity, and were provided with artifacts of the student work corresponding to the video. The teachers responded to prompts which sought to elicit the teachers to attend and interpret what they had observed in the video. The teachers’ responses were blinded, transcribed and then coded by the researchers to examine in what ways the teachers were demonstrating their noticing skills. A coding scheme was generated that included the categories of attend and interpret with subcategories of content and practices (focusing on students’ ideas) and teacher moves and classroom features. Each response was coded by at least two researchers and then the researchers discussed and resolved any discrepancies that existed for the codes that were applied to each teacher’s response. Two rounds of data collection have been completed, once in 2013 and again in 2018. Final data collection will occur at the end of the project in 2018. Therefore, our current dataset represents baseline and midpoint measures in relation to the duration of the PD program.

Our preliminary findings show that teachers attend more to teacher moves and classroom features than to students’ ideas, and that the number of instances that teachers attended to teacher moves and classroom features in 2016 than 2013. We also found that teachers attended to more instances of students’ ideas in 2016. It is notable that teachers attended to more instances of practice than content. It is also notable that 75% of the interpretations reported by the teachers were teacher moves and classroom features. Our findings are consistent to what is reported in math education literature, namely that it is very difficult for teachers to notice student ideas and that learning how to do so takes time.

Paper #10371: Integrating Science and Technology Into Literacy Learning: Results from a year-long professional development project with early elementary (K-2) teachers.

Principal Author: Kimberly Lott, Utah State University
Co-Authors: Sarah Clark, Utah State University; Mark Larese-Casanova, Utah State University


In the past decade, there have been numerous K-12 STEM initiatives proposed, and implemented, to address the declining number of students pursuing STEM-related professions. Because of the major paradigm shift outlined by Frameworks for K-12 Science Education, a restructured model for Professional Development (PD) is needed to assure the successful adoption and implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). These changes in PD development and delivery will be especially critical for K-2 teachers, who historically have avoided STEM topics in their teacher preparation. This presentation will present the results of data gathered to evaluate the success of the integrated early education project INSTILL (Integrating Science and Technology Into Literacy Learning). The primary goal of this project is to increase the capacity of K-2 teachers to provide innovative, integrated STEM learning opportunities that leverage technology tools for the enhancement of learning not only science concepts, but also core literacy content. Both teacher and student outcomes were measured and will be presented.

Paper #10370: Within-School Churn and the Re-Novicing of Elementary Teachers in Science

Principal Author: Deborah Hanuscin, Western Washington University
Co-Authors: Dante Cisterna, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Kelsey Lipsitz, University of Missouri; Mark Ehlert, University of Missouri


While the label ‘out of field’ does not obviously apply to elementary teachers, who are generalists and as such certified to teach multiple grades, there is growing recognition of negative impacts of ‘within school churn’, a phenomenon in which elementary teachers remain within a school but are assigned a new grade level (Blazar, 2015). We argue that elementary teachers are in essence ‘re-noviced’, or teaching out of their field of expertise, when they encounter a new set of grade-specific standards, new subject matter topics, and new curricula. One important support for teachers developing this expertise is professional development—yet, teacher churn has consequences for professional development efforts that are not well understood. Teacher professional development is a huge investment—in terms of time, money, and human resources. While PD programs are often designed to address teachers’ specific needs in terms of grade level science topics, that investment is essentially squandered as teachers are re-assigned to new grade levels following their participation. That reassignment, in turn, sets up a vicious cycle by creating the need for more professional development for those teachers who are reassigned. In this paper, we explore the impacts of re-novicing and within-school churn through a case study of one NSF-funded elementary science teacher professional development program for grades 3-5.

Paper #10369: Ongoing Elementary Science Teacher Mentorship: Reflections on the Benefits of an Extended Apprenticeship Model of Teacher Professional Development

Principal Author: Katie L. Brkich, Georgia Southern University
Co-Authors: Tamra Lamb, Mattie Lively Elementary School


This presentation provides a detailed examination of an extended apprenticeship model of teacher professional development, established between one P-5 science methods professor and an inservice elementary science teacher—her former student—with three years’ teaching experience. Using a research framework of self-study of teacher education practice (S-STTEP; Pinnegar & Hamilton, 2009) with a constructivist paradigm, both the university professor and classroom teacher collaborated to coauthor the presentation, detailing their experiences over the course of the three-year duration of their professional relationship. We endeavoured to contrast our approach to three nontraditional approaches to professional development—the professional learning community (PLC) (George & van Horne, 1996), the summer institute (Goldschmidt & Phelps, 2010), and peer coaching (Lumpe, Czerniak, Haney, & Beltyukova, 2012)—and note that the extended apprenticeship model to professional development fills a gap between these approaches to PD.

Ultimately, we identify major benefits enjoyed by both the practicing classroom teacher and the university faculty member, detailing that the relationship was bidirectional in nature. Benefits included improved teacher self-efficacy and confidence, deepened content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge, establishing a rich and meaningful scholarly agenda, gaining regular access to an elementary school classroom, and—important from an affective dimension—establishing a meaningful friendship.

Paper #10368: Differences in Teachers’ Practices and Ways in Which Their Conceptual Models of STEM are Enacted During Implementation of an Integrated STEM Curriculum Unit

Principal Author: Elizabeth A.. Ring, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Emily A.. Dare, Michigan Technological University; Gillian H.. Roehrig, University of Minnesota; Jeanna R.. Wieselmann, University of Minnesota


National reform documents (National Research Council [NRC], 2012; NGSS Lead States, 2013) have called for an increase in the number of K-12 students exposed to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related coursework in an effort to increase the competitiveness of the United States in the workforce of STEM-related fields. With this emphasis on the implementation of STEM curricula in K-12 classrooms, there is a need to improve the understanding of teachers, teacher educators, and administrators as to what it means to implement integrated STEM curricula as well as how teachers’ conceptions of integrated STEM influence this implementation. This study, contextualized in a professional development (PD) experience, extends prior research and addresses this issue by exploring what science and engineering practices K-12 science teachers use when implementing an integrated STEM curriculum in the classroom and how teachers’ conceptions of STEM are enacted during this implementation (Moore, Glancy, Tank, Kersten, & Smith, 2014; NGSS Lead States 2013). Classroom implementation videos, field notes, author-created memos, and post observation interviews were analyzed to better understand teachers’ practices and the role of their conceptions of STEM during implementation of the STEM curriculum.

Our findings suggest that, while science teachers are open to implementing integrated STEM curricula, their understanding of what this looks like in the classroom is impacted by how they conceptualize integrated STEM education. Additionally, the science and engineering practices used by teachers differ according to each teacher’s conception of integrated STEM during implementation of STEM curricula in classrooms. Implications for this work include important considerations for teacher educators, district administrators, and other school personnel responsible for developing and/or implementing integrated STEM curricula and those creating and facilitating professional development related to STEM integration.

Paper #15012: Interdisciplinary STEM Education Graduate Certificate Program

Principal Author: SoonChun Lee, Wichita State University


The interdisciplinary Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education graduate certificate is designed for STEM educators, and graduate students interested in designing and delivering an interdisciplinary STEM curriculum. The curriculum is developed in a way that facilitates key features to effective interdisciplinary STEM curriculum preparation, induction, and implementation including models and characteristics that guarantee quality curricula. The certificate comprises 18 credit hours in the following way: (1) Entry course (3CH), Selected STEM courses for an individualized pathway (12CH), and Exit/Capstone course (3CH). In the entry course, students learn methods of integrated STEM instruction, using the lens of STEM content knowledge and modeling, inquiry and design practices. A set of methodologies that students can effectively adapt to a variety of situations beyond their specific disciplines are introduced. This course includes a comprehensive overview of the theories of and instructional strategies for integrated STEM education to identify, develop, deliver, and evaluate interdisciplinary STEM activities with models of project-based learning. By the end of the course, students have numerous opportunities to evaluate curricula that have been developed for integrated STEM education as well as the procedures for developing a new STEM curriculum.

While the exit course is designed to cultivate students’ STEM content knowledge and pedagogical skills for implementing interdisciplinary STEM teaching by providing practical experiences in formal and informal STEM settings. This is an experiential and application-based course. Students have learning or working experience in STEM fields and will design a curriculum with two or more interdisciplinary STEM challenges/activities. To complete this certificate/course, students conduct an action research and present their interdisciplinary STEM activities in their assigned K-12 classrooms. Students are required to collect materials, resources, and documentation that demonstrate what they have learned and their commitment to their developed interdisciplinary STEM curriculum. The portfolio including a lesson plan and a video-taped lesson demonstration will be evaluated by the STEM education faculty and peer students.

Paper #10367: Knowing the how, but not the why: Teachers’ struggles integrating literacy and STEM in an Elementary STEM school

Principal Author: Jonah B. Firestone, Washington State University
Co-Authors: Judy Morrison, Washington State University; Sarah N. Newcomer, Washington State University


With the advent of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013), engineering has been given equal weight as science in national and state standards. Along with this, is an increasing emphasis on technology in elementary and secondary classrooms (Brown, 2012). In order to address these issues, schools are re-designing their curricula to be inclusive of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) vocabulary, practices, and issues across all disciplines. At the same time, districts are opening elementary, middle, and high schools that specialize in STEM education. While there are many studies of middle and high school STEM programs (Thomas & Williams, 2009) there are virtually no studies on elementary STEM schools. In this presentation we focus on some of the struggles and tensions for teachers at a new elementary STEM school as they work to integrate both STEM and literacy instruction together. This challenge is becoming more prevalent with the advent of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the push for STEM instruction as more and more, teachers are being asked to teach STEM via a focus on informational text. The examples offered here come from a multiyear, in-depth study of teachers’ experiences with implementing the STEM-based curriculum at Roslyn Franklin. Our findings suggest that there are certain key structures/processes that support teachers in successfully integrating literacy and STEM Finally, we will conclude with implications/suggestions for how teachers might overcome such tensions and struggles.

Paper #10366: Using Explicit and Reflective Strategies in a Biology Course to Develop Pre-Service Elementary Teachers’ Understandings of Specific Aspects of Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry

Principal Author: Jennifer C.. Parrish, University of Northern Colorado
Co-Authors: Grant Gardner, Middle Tennessee State University; Katherine Mangione, Middle Tennessee State University


Developing teachers’ epistemological understandings of nature of science (NOS) and scientific inquiry (SI) has been and continues to be a major goal of K-12 science education reform. Providing opportunities for future science teachers to develop sophisticated conceptions of NOS and SI, beginning with even a few aspects, is the first step in meeting the goals set forth in K-12 science reform documents.   Although a variety of approaches have been used to improve teachers’ conceptions of NOS, a large body of evidence supports that using explicit and reflective (ER) strategies in the context of teacher preparation courses is an effective means to improve teachers’ NOS conceptions. The current study evaluated the effectiveness of two researcher-created ER NOS/SI strategies that could easily be assimilated into preservice teacher science courses. Two course sections of an upper-level biology content course for preservice elementary teachers (PSET) were randomly assigned to engage in either the Nature of Science in Science Education (NOSSE) Guide ER strategy or the NOS Exemplar strategy. Both strategies included the use of one page, researcher-created NOSSE Guides constructed by compiling information about specific NOS and SI aspects from K-12 standards documents, position statements on NOS, and relevant research literature in teacher education. Each guide explained a particular NOS or SI aspect in a manner congruent with K-12 science reform recommendations. Participants in the NOSSE Guide ER group evaluated whether course activities reflected information in the NOSSE Guides. The NOS Exemplar strategy required PSET to determine whether naïve and sophisticated exemplar responses from open-ended NOS and SI surveys (e.g., VNOS) were more or less like the NOSSE Guides. Overall, both strategies resulted in PSET professional growth toward more expert-like views of NOS and SI, evidenced by small to medium effect sizes (r) for each aspect addressed by the interventions. The NOS Exemplar strategy group, however, showed slightly larger effect sizes for some aspects and more instances of teacher reflection. Reflection was analyzed using a coding framework developed during this study. In addition, after the intervention, PSET in the NOS Exemplar group perceived themselves as more ready to incorporate NOS in their future classroom instruction.  

Paper #10365: Developing the tool analyzing the components of science competency with indicators and its implementation in STEAM program

Principal Author: Young Shin Park, Chosun University
Co-Authors: Miso Park, Chosun University; Gu Reum Park, Chosun University


New policy in science education has put the emphasis of equipping students with the critical science core competency which are scientific thinking ability, scientific problem ability, science engagement and life-long education related ability, scientific inquiry ability, and science communication ability. However, science teachers in teaching site are confused how to recognize those science core competency and how to teach them in science teaching. First, to provide practical Sci_Co_Co_AT, research team contacted current science teachers in the classroom and science communicators in science museum and asked them (10 experienced) to answer the questions in the survey. Survey consists of items asking to fill out concrete practical episode or operational definition of 5 different components of science core competency. 10 experienced science educators responded those items and the researcher worked on those responses to provide certain numbers of indicators in each core competency by coding process and interrater cross checking for the validity and its reliability. During this state, the researchers also reviewed the former literatures related to each core competency. Second, the partially completed analyzing tool was responded by another group of current science educators (33 experienced) as the Likert scale for its validity and reliability once more. Lastly, the final analyzing tool was validated once more by the policy maker, one of whom revised the science curriculum of 2015. The final Sci_Co_Co_AT consists of 5 different core competency with 4 indicators each. This analyzing tool has been used to see what components and indicators can be explored in exemplary STEAM program, releasing STEAM program is pretty appropriately well developed to include all components of core competency, but its weight in each component can be different according to specific topic. The following implication can be made; STEAM program in Korea has been developed well enough to meet the needs of science core competency critical to solve the problem raised in the 21st century.

Paper #10364: How religion influences elementary preservice teachers’ discernment of science from non-science

Principal Author: Mark A. Bloom, Dallas Baptist University
Co-Authors: Ian C. Binns, UNC Charlotte


The theory of evolution by natural selection is supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence from multiple scientific fields, such as biology, geology, anthropology, etc. Yet, evolution is one of the most socially controversial topics when it comes to science education. In this study, we explored the influence of religion elementary preservice teachers’ (PSTs) decisions to include or exclude alternative explanations to evolution in the science curriculum. This investigation included 76 PSTs who were enrolled in an elementary science methods course. Data collection came from an activity entitled “Science in the Public Schools - School Board Scenario” and a demographics survey based on the 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study conducted by the Pew Research Center. The purpose of the activity was to assess the PSTs conceptions of science and then to challenge them to use their definition of science to justify the inclusion or exclusion of creationism and/or intelligent design into the public schools’ science curriculum. The two researchers independently read and coded the data using an inductive, constant comparative approach. These codes along with the responses on the demographics survey were used to characterize the PSTs rationales for including or excluding alternative explanations to evolution to the curriculum. Findings revealed that 32 would not add creationism or ID, 26 would add both, 9 would add creationism, 6 would add ID, and 3 would only mention them. Their diverse explanations for their decision as well as the role religion played will be addressed.

Paper #10363: The Impact of a Blended Professional Development Model on Panamanian Elementary Science Teachers

Principal Author: Katie Laux, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Jeni Davis, Salisbury University; Allan Feldman, University of South Florida


This presentation will describe research related to a professional development program designed for elementary science teachers in Panama. This professional development was comprised of three month-long experiences in which the teachers learned about elementary science teaching methods, biology, ocean science, and physical science. Each experience was primarily online--80% online and 20% face-to-face components. The face-to-face components were delivered by US faculty in Panama. The purpose of this mixed-methods research was to explore the effectiveness of this professional development program. Specifically, we sought to understand the experiences of and the changes in the Panamanian elementary school teachers’ self-efficacy towards teaching elementary science, perceptions of nature of science and inquiry, and science content knowledge as they participated in the professional development. Collected data included surveys, teacher notes and reflections, informal conversations with participants, and artifacts such as admission essays and class assignments. Findings suggest the teachers have an improved understanding of science concepts and vocabulary, utilizing inquiry activities in their own classrooms, and planning and implementing 5E learning cycles.

Paper #10362: The World in a River: Designing an Entry-Level Earth Science Course for Preservice Elementary Teachers That Incorporates the NGSS, Active and Placed-based Learning, and Technological Tools

Principal Author: Danielle Ford, University of Delaware
Co-Authors: Susan McGeary, University of Delaware; Jennifer Gallo-Fox, University of Delaware; Cheryl Ackerman, University of Delaware


The authors will discuss their efforts to (1) redesign an earth science course for preservice elementary teachers that is place-based, hands-on, technologically enriched, and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and (2) understand the course’s effect on preservice teachers’ science knowledge and science teaching confidence. Elementary teacher education students typically lack strong scientific content knowledge, have a limited understanding of the nature of science and scientific processes, and have limited confidence in their ability to learn and teach science. These attitudes are known to impact teachers’ classroom science instruction and the amount of time spent teaching science. Our redesigned earth science course was developed using the three-dimensional framework of the NGSS and allows aspiring teachers to experience the practice of doing science while also learning how to access and interpret environmental data on the Internet. The overarching theme of earth system processes is exemplified within a single stream watershed; each unit is tied to observations the students make in the field and online. The delivery of this redesigned course is intended to impact preservice elementary teachers by increasing their learning and skill development, bolstering their confidence future in their ability to teach science, and increasing their motivation to learn science. We are using a design-based approach to curriculum improvement, with iterative design, enactment, analysis, and redesign cycles, and a quasi-experimental design for evaluation, where the outcomes of the redesigned course are compared with the outcomes of a traditional-format course. This allows us to test and evaluate the impact of these research-based pedagogical approaches and curriculum modifications on teacher learning, which can inform educational research on earth science instruction for preservice teachers.

Paper #10361: A Dialogic Analysis of Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices of Language Systems in the Middle School Science Classroom

Principal Author: Jeffry King, Texas State University


Although current science education research suggests that using dialogic strategies may increase students’ scientific reasoning and conceptual development, teachers continue to rely primarily on traditional forms of pedagogy in their instruction.  This study examined the impact of the relationship between teachers’ perceptions of dialogic language systems and their discourse practices with students on this pedagogical discord.  Bakhtin’s (1984) notion of becoming and Arendt’s (1961) concept of natality informed the study’s theoretical understanding that language and all forms of discourse are inherently dialogic.  Sutton’s (1996) insistence that science instructional practices must incorporate both labelling and interpretive language systems relies on this same dialogic principle.  Successful dialogic science instruction involves the recognition of and reliance on the relationship between the two systems.  When one system is used exclusively, the relationship is no longer the instructional focus, and dialogic pedagogy cannot exist.  According to Sutton, this negation diminishes the opportunities for student learning in the science classroom.


The study’s findings suggest that, while the participating teachers generally agreed with Sutton’s relational insistence, their perceptions and practices reflected a non-dialogic understanding of language systems.  This monologic approach hindered the teachers’ ability to structure classroom discourses centered on language system relationships.  Classroom interactions involved the use of science as a labelling language almost exclusively, despite the teachers’ perceptions of their use of language systems as interpretive or relational.


In order for dialogic curriculum and strategies to be effective, teachers must begin to think and act more dialogically. Sutton offers several suggestions for restoring the relational focus by recovering the interpretive voice in pedagogical discourse.  Although considerable improvement has been made in the last twenty years, there is still much work to be done, specifically with regard to students’ use of interpretive language in the classroom.  This study concluded with a discussion on how we, as educators of educators, can promote more authentic perceptions and practices of dialogue and language systems among the pre-service and in-service teachers with whom we work.

Paper #10360: Student teachers’ attitudes to teaching evolution, creationism, and intelligent design: A comparative U.S.-German study

Principal Author: Ian C. Binns, UNC Charlotte
Co-Authors: Armin Lude, PH Ludwigsburg University of Education; Mark A. Bloom, Dallas Baptist University; Alexandra Higelin, PH Ludwigsburg University of Education


The theory of evolution by natural selection is supported by an overwhelming amount of evidence from multiple scientific fields, such as biology, geology, anthropology, etc. Yet, evolution is one of the most socially controversial topics when it comes to science education. In this research, we explored how preservice teachers from the United States and Germany justify including or excluding alternative explanations to evolution in the science curriculum. This investigation included 76 U.S. participants enrolled in an elementary science methods course and 63 German participants enrolled in a biology lecture course. Data collection came from an activity entitled “Science in the Public Schools – School Board Scenario”. The scenario proposed that the local school board was considering a motion to alter the science curriculum by introducing creationism and intelligent design (ID) to the unit on biological evolution and participants had to offer their informed recommendations. The purpose of the activity was to assess participants’ conceptions of science and then to challenge them to use their definition of science to justify the inclusion or exclusion of creationism and/or ID into the public schools’ science curriculum. The two U.S. researchers independently read and coded the U.S. data using an inductive, constant comparative approach. Because the German researchers chose to replicate the U.S. study, that data analysis initially used the existing codes and modified the codes based on the available data. The highest percentage of participants for each study indicated they would not add creationism or ID (U.S. = 42.1%; German = 44.4%). The next highest percentage for both studies was the yes to teaching creationism and ID (U.S. = 34.2%; German = 20.6%). More U.S. participants (11.8%) wanted to teach creationism compared to the German participants (3.2%). This was the opposite for teaching ID (U.S. = 7.9%; German = 11.1%). Participants’ justifications for their decision were explored and will be shared at the presentation.

Paper #10359: Are we underestimating overconfidence? A disconnect between clinical educator and elementary student teacher perceptions of science ability and content knowledge

Principal Author: Bryan Nichols, Florida Atlantic University
Co-Authors: Lori Dassa, Florida Atlantic University


Teacher preparation programs must carefully consider the self-efficacy of their students as they move through methods courses into practical experiences. The student teaching experience is important for new teachers, both to their self-efficacy and their employment prospects  (Klassen & Durksen, 2014). In the internship, the combination of content knowledge and teaching skills are tested in a practical setting, which has implications for both the student and the teacher education program (Shulman & Shulman, 2004).

As part of a broader study, we examined student teacher self-efficacy related to their science content teaching ability, as well as their science content knowledge. To see if a disconnect exists, we also asked similar questions of the coordinating teachers and university supervisors. The elementary education program, part of a mid-sized public, Hispanic-serving university in the Southeast, includes theoretical and methodological coursework in addition to two practicum experiences. Students in the program (n=146) are reasonably diverse; for 2016 demographics were 58% White, 15% Black, 27% Hispanic and less than 1% Other. Over 94% of the candidates were female. Clinical educators (n=146) are successful classroom teachers selected from the two largest school districts affiliated with the university, and have a minimum of three years of teaching experience. University supervisors (n=30) provide additional supervision and guidance, and include faculty and school district professionals hired by the College of Education.

In all cases, student self-perceptions were higher than those of the professionals evaluating them, a potentially problematic disconnect. This gap was reinforced in the qualitative responses, when student teachers often mentioned that they did not need additional training while clinical educators and university supervisors reported they needed more, especially in content and teaching standards. Our results suggest that the structure of our four-year undergraduate program may not be instilling enough healthy doubt in many future new teachers. It has helped us, and may help other programs, to align the feedback that pre-service teachers receive with the overall perceptions of their mentors, and better strike the difficult balance between under and over-confidence about content knowledge and teaching ability.

Paper #14016: Teacher learning in informal settings: Research, trends, and emerging opportunities

Principal Author: Lara K.. Smetana, Loyola University Chicago
Co-Authors: Tiffany-Rose Sikorski, George Washington University; Matty Lau, Teacher Learning Consultancy; Jenna Carlson, Loyola University Chicago; Amy Bedford, Loyola University Chicago


The National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA) defines informal science education as "programs and experiences developed outside the classroom by institutions and organizations" (NSTA, 1998). Informal science learning opportunities have been cited as critical to increasing the accessibility and relevance of science to a wider variety of learners (NRC, 2009). At the same time, there is also a recognition for the need for learners to be able to make connections across formal, informal and everyday learning (Bevan, 2016; NRC, 2015). Ensuring that teachers have an understanding of ecological perspectives on learning (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) and are aware of and comfortable and adept at accessing capitalizing on these informal science learning opportunities and resources to support the teaching and learning that takes place in their classroom is needed. There is growing interest by teacher educators at ASTE in these types of collaborations, as evidenced by the number of articles that address informal science collaborations as part of initial teacher preparation courses recently published in the new Innovations journal. Yet, the involvement of informal learning institutions (i.e. museums, aquariums, zoos) in initial teacher preparation remains largely underexplored. This themed paper set explores the issue from a variety of angles. First, Paper 1 offers a critical review of the relevant literature. Paper 2 presents on findings from studying the dynamics of a collaborative group of university and informal educators that works together to prepare teacher candidates. Paper 3 reports on findings from a survey capturing undergraduate teacher candidates’ views of museums, aquariums, and other types of informal learning institutions.

Paper #10358: Impact of Nature of Science Teaching on Elementary Teachers’ Nature of Science Conceptions

Principal Author: Elif Adibelli Sahin, TED University
Co-Authors: Hasan Deniz, University of Nevada Las Vegas


This qualitative study aimed to explore changes in elementary teachers’ NOS conceptions throughout an academic year-long professional development program. The multiple embedded case-study design was employed to explore changes in teachers’ NOS conceptions in depth and within the context of elementary school setting. Four elementary teachers participated in the study. The professional development program, particularly designed for elementary teachers, consisted of two phases: NOS training and NOS teaching. Data collected from multiple sources (questionnaires, interviews, videotaping of teacher meetings, artifacts, and field notes) after the NOS training and NOS teaching were analyzed using Yin (2003)’s pattern matching, explanation building, and cross-case synthesis. Our findings showed that NOS teaching followed by a NOS training helped participants to solidify their newly acquired understanding about empirical evidence, to further elaborate on NOS aspects by using more examples with increased amount of detail, to develop additional connections among NOS aspects, and to further increase their confidence in NOS conceptions. Our findings provide implications for future NOS research and future professional development program on NOS by considering and showing the act of teaching NOS as a means to further reflect on NOS conceptions and to test the applicability of newly acquired conceptions with students.

Paper #10357: Mental models and instructional shifts: An analysis of teachers’ drawings of science teaching and learning in their classrooms before and after an NGSS-based PD experience

Principal Author: Carrie-Anne Sherwood, Southern Connecticut State University


The vision for science education articulated in the Next Generation Science Standards and the Framework for K-12 Science Education, requires significant instructional shifts toward “three-dimensional (3D) teaching and learning.” Teachers who enact 3D, ambitious science instruction provide students with learning opportunities for legitimate participation in science. However, teachers’ transition toward more ambitious science instruction, and the pathways to real change in science teaching and teacher education in light of the Framework and NGSS, is not always clear. While the goals for science learning (the NGSS) are clearly articulated, the means for how to support student learning and achieve those goals are not, nor is there broad consensus about how best to teach science. In order to transition toward the ambitious science instruction required for 3D teaching and learning, and to help teachers understand the means required to achieve the NGSS goals, many science teachers will need substantial support in the form of professional development (PD) to develop their disciplinary knowledge, understand relevant instructional strategies, and adapt their teaching practice. The first step in supporting teachers in this way – and in understanding the pathway to real change in science education - is to understand how they conceptualize their current instructional practice relative to more ambitious science teaching practices. This exploratory study employed a mental models framework and analysis of drawings to examine how in-service secondary science teachers conceptualize their practice relative to ambitious practices for 3D teaching and learning before and after a three-day NGSS-based professional development experience. Results of this study indicate that although teachers’ conceptualizations of their science instruction generally grew more in line with the ambitious science instruction required to effectively implement 3D teaching and learning, some significant barriers to change still remain in teachers conceptualizations of what real change in science instruction looks like. Other results, implications for research, and recommendations for science teacher education will be presented.  

Paper #10356: Exploring Science Teachers’ Beliefs Toward Culturally Relevant Teaching During Their First Year Classroom Teaching

Principal Author: Preethi Titu, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Hillary A. Barron, University of Minnesota; Julie C. Brown, University of Minnesota; Gillian H. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


In recent decades, schools in most Western countries, including the United States, have become increasingly culturally diverse and as global migration continues to rise, cultural diversity in schools will continue to grow worldwide (UNESCO, 2004). Though research addressing equitable science teaching and practices is emerging, very little attention has been given to culturally relevant teaching in science in the literature. The purpose of this study was to explore in-service teachers’ beliefs about culturally relevant science teaching in their first year as a classroom teacher. In this single embedded case study, we analyzed two primary data sources: teacher responses during post-observation debrief conversation that were conducted twice during the year and semi-structured interviews that were conducted throughout the course of a year. The participants (n=8) were first year classroom teachers who were part of a large National Science Foundation research project that focused on improving the induction experiences of beginning science teachers who work in high-need schools. These teachers were also enrolled in an M.Ed. program where they were required to take nine credits which include an online induction course, a face-to-face course on equity and social justice, and an online action research course. 

Preliminary data analysis of the interview transcripts indicate that the teachers’ beliefs toward culturally relevant teaching (CRT) varied among the teachers. In general, the findings revealed that their beliefs centered around three themes: 1) beliefs about what culturally relevant teaching is, 2) beliefs about what aspects of culturally relevant teaching are difficult, and 3) beliefs about what aspects of culturally relevant teaching are easier. Further analysis of sub-themes is also discussed. 


Paper #16040: Now I Get It! Scientific Argumentation in Middle School Science

Principal Author: Deborah Lan, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Teresa Shiverdecker, The Ohio State University


Scientific argumentation has been positively linked to content knowledge, understanding of the nature of science, and participation in scientific practices. However, teachers struggle with incorporating argumentation in their classrooms due to a lack of experience with argumentation and a shortage of instructional support for teaching argumentation. This research study explores changes in teachers' content knowledge, attitudes/beliefs towards teaching science, and understanding of argumentation as a result of participating in a 2-week summer institute focused on teaching topics in life and physical science through argumentation. Participants were given pre-assessments at the start of the workshop, a post-assessment at the end of the two week workshop, and delayed post-assessment after the following academic year. Results indicate that participants had significant learning gains in content knowledge of both life science and physical science concepts. Additionally, participants experienced a shift towards higher levels of inquiry-based learning in their science teaching. Finally, participants had significant increases in their understanding of argumentation. 

Paper #10355: Towards an Understanding of the Need for Holistic STEM Faculty Development A Systematic Literature Review

Principal Author: Daniel M. Alston, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Co-Authors: Sandra Linder, Clemson University; Cindy Lee, Clemson University; Karen High, Clemson University


In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) reported a need for approximately one million more college graduates with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees. However, STEM programs in higher education have a history of high student attrition (Baldwin, 2009). This attrition may lead to a decreased workforce in STEM fields. If the United States expects to maintain its role as a leader in science and technology, STEM programs must ensure students enroll and persist in their majors (Chen, 2013; PCAST, 2012). To that end, researchers and other stakeholders in STEM education continually advocate for faculty development (FD) support in higher education STEM programs to improve experiences for STEM majors (Henderson, Beach, & Finkelstein, 2011). The goal of this article is to provide a review of the research on higher education STEM FD to begin understanding the need for holistic FD which attends to the various roles faculty have and therefore the different types of barriers they face. This review quantitized (Sandelowski et al., 2009; Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998) and applied open-ended coding (Saldaña, 2015) to analyze 74 empirical research articles.  We then conducted a qualitative analysis of the research purpose, findings, and implications for the 74 articles using a constant comparative method (Corbin and Strauss, 2008). Three themes with accompanying sub-themes emerged and were overlaid with faculty role categorizations. Findings suggest that the majority of faculty development has attended to the teaching role of STEM faculty. Findings also suggest that most of the research on faculty development focuses on what motivates STEM faculty to engage in FD (e.g., beliefs, values, identity, institutional incentives). Implications following these findings are that researchers should strive to conceive and design STEM FD that attends to all faculty roles—holistic faculty development—and assess the effectiveness and design of these FD programs.

Paper #11056: Before the mangroves disappear: Moving towards education for sustainability in the education of prospective science teachers

Principal Author: Deborah Tippins, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Sophia (Sun Kyung) Jeong, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA


In this poster session we share how a learning community comprised of prospective and practicing teachers, together with university faculty, engaged with issues of sustainability during a science teacher preparation field experience course. Our poster illustrates the tensions and paradoxes that emerged for us as we entertained new ideas shaping our understanding of sustainability in a rural community.

Paper #10354: Who Succeeds in STEM? A Study of Elementary Girls’ Perceptions of Gender and STEM

Principal Author: Jeanna R.. Wieselmann, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Justine N.. Kim, University of Minnesota; Gillian H.. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


Increasing demand for skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and ongoing underrepresentation of females in certain STEM fields have resulted in a need to explore ways to maintain girls’ interest in STEM throughout the elementary and middle school years. With a limited amount of time allocated to science instruction at the elementary level, out-of-school science education may be central to providing students with positive STEM experiences. This study is situated within the context of the STARBASE Minnesota program, which is a STEM nonprofit that focuses on engaging urban youth in authentic STEM experiences. Participants were fourth and fifth grade girls who attended the 20-hour STARBASE program with their grade-level peers. Thirty girls were interviewed before and after STARBASE, and researchers analyzed these interview transcripts to better understand students’ perceptions of STEM disciplines and how gender is related to STEM involvement and outcomes.

Three key findings emerged in this study. First, although students’ prior experiences with mathematics in the formal elementary classroom resulted in less positive dispositions toward mathematics than other STEM disciplines, their experiences at STARBASE revealed that mathematics can be fun and valuable when used for real-world purposes. Second, despite observing female behavior that is more aligned with success in school, fourth and fifth-graders still identified STEM advantages for boys. Finally, participants in this study defined success and intelligence in STEM based on speed and tracking, and their perception of their own speed and tracking placement in relation to others influenced their perception of their ability in STEM.

Implications from this work include careful consideration of the messages, both explicit and implicit, being sent to students. Valuing student effort and critical thinking can help students recognize that intellectual ability can grow and there is more to success than speed of completion. In addition, both rigor and pedagogy must be considered in STEM teaching to ensure that students are both engaged and challenged by classroom lessons.

Paper #16039: Using Culturally Relevant Teaching as a Framework for Science Methods: Making Whiteness Visible

Principal Author: Paula A. Magee, Indiana University - IUPUI


In this roundtable discussion I will share my own philosophical stance, activities and actions that have been used to develop a culturally relevant, racially-aware elementary science methods course. I will engage the participants in a critiquing discussion of my work as well as a critical discussion of their own work in developing such a course.

Paper #10353: Informal STEM Afterschool Program: Preservice STEM Education Majors, Engineering Majors and Diverse Middle School Students

Principal Author: Anne P. Gatling, Merrimack College
Co-Authors: Cynthia Carlson, Merrimack College


Preparing preservice teachers to be more effective at teaching science to ELLs (English Language Learners) once in their own elementary and middle school classrooms is a great concern for our field. Providing authentic experiences for preservice teachers to engage with ELL students allows the future teachers to encounter their own preconceptions and debrief with their cohort about the experiences.

In an effort to meet this need, our preservice teachers participate in our small northeastern college’s 14 year Math & Science Partnership program (LMSP) that extends into local schools’ afterschool programs. Our LMSP has served more than 1,200 at-risk, ELL middle school students (5-8 grades).

However, our recent PEAR (Program in Education, Afterschool and Resiliency) Common Instrument survey results helped us to realize the desperate need to increase the rigor of our LMSP. Although diverse middle school students are reporting more gains in some areas, other important areas, such as Science Enjoyment, and Perseverance for girls, declined post- program. As a result we are re-thinking the LMSP, and incorporating some of our college’s engineering-majors into the LMSP.

While STEM education preservice teachers are enthusiastic about education, they are sometimes lacking in science and engineering skills. Engineering students, while perhaps lacking communication or education skills, are enthusiastic about engineering. Engineers need more communication skills than engineering students may realize; practicing these skills with middle schoolers allows the engineering students to practice being technical experts in need of simplifying concepts for their audience. We hope that by pairing the two majors in the after- school program, we may improve engagement in all three populations, middle schoolers, education-majors, and engineering-majors.

We will discuss how we are connecting the well-established partnership more closely to STEM students on campus, by recruiting our college student volunteers from our STEM Ed program and Engineering programs. This method will give STEM Ed students more practice and support with the technical areas, and Engineering students more practice and support with communicating technical concepts.

At ASTE, we hope to discuss these changes with other institutions, and share ideas on how else to address both the needs of our preservice teachers and STEM students and the needs of the urban community youth. 

Paper #16038: The Standard Comes First: Place-based Teaching and the Next Generation Science Standards

Principal Author: Regina Toolin, University of Vermont
Co-Authors: Michael Blouin, University of Vermont


The goal of this roundtable presentation is to discuss the outcome of research that examines teachers’ conceptions of project and place-based education and the influence of the NGSS on the design and implementation of a place-based project that teachers create as participants in the Champlain Research Experience for Secondary Teachers or “CREST” program. 

This study is the result of four years of program implementation and evaluation that prompted the researchers to more closely examine teachers’ conceptions of “project” and “place”. In order to gain a better understanding of the forces that affect teachers’ project implementation, we asked teachers to consider the question “What does project and place-based education mean to you?” before and after program participation. During the 2016-17 academic year, we conducted classroom observations and interviews with the 2016 CREST teacher cohort (n=9) that sought to better understand two aspects of place-based practice:   

  1. How do teachers conceptualize place-based education?  Do teachers conceive of place-based education in different ways?   

  2. How do the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) influence place-based teaching and learning?   

Paper #10352: Vertically Aligned Professional Learning Communities for Professional Development and Support of Elementary Science Teachers

Principal Author: Peter C. Hillman, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: Felicia Moore-Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University


Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) implementation has serious consequences for practicing elementary school teachers.  In most of the United States, elementary teachers have traditionally been prepared as generalist educators with very little focus, if any, on science teaching during their coursework. In addition, many elementary teacher candidates and practicing elementary teachers have an inadequate academic background for teaching science.  There is also a dearth of confidence and minimal desire for teaching science at the elementary level.  As well as this, many district and government-level policies have focused on ELA and math above all else, which has had a detrimental effect on science in elementary schools.  Such policies and business as usual teacher preparation programs have resulted in national concern with elementary science teaching in the United States.

When a state implements NGSS, the level of expected rigor in elementary science teaching must increase in order to ensure that students gain the necessary grounding for their school career. NGSS present a view of K-12 science instruction in which an expected knowledge progression occurs from grade band to grade band that gives students the opportunity to learn more complex material, leading to an overall understanding of science by the end of high school.  If the elementary science experience is reduced or lacks appropriate rigor, students will enter middle and high schools with significant science deficit.

This research study addresses these concerns with a project that was conducted over a five-year period in five high-needs school districts with 60 science teachers (K-12).  This study examines the use of vertically aligned professional learning communities (V-PLCs) to support practicing elementary science teacher growth, development, and professional learning in the context of NGSS adaptation.  V-PLCs provide a professional space for teachers to engage in the articulation of science knowledge and content as called for in NGSS.  Additionally, V-PLCs provide the opportunity for teachers to share their experiences and build knowledge of practice and content using the vertical alignment as a focus.  V-PLCs help elementary science teachers see the connections between the science content the teacher covers in their curriculum and the science a student is exposed to over the course of their school career. 

Paper #10350: The Reformed Teacher Observation Protocol and NGSS-aligned instruction: Challenges and limitations

Principal Author: Joshua A. Ellis, Michigan Technological University
Co-Authors: Emily A. Dare, Michigan Technological University; Gillian H. Roehrig, University of Minnesota; Timothy D. Sheldon, University of Minnesota


Recent national documents call for improvements in K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education to increase STEM literacy and motivate students to pursue careers in these fields (National Research Council [NRC], 2012). In particular, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) provide guidance for improving K-12 STEM education, with the addition of engineering within science standards being a prominent change. However, the development of tools that assess the kind of STEM-integrated learning that the NGSS advance has been slow (Authors, 2011; Authors, 2012). Until such tools are developed, many science teacher educators continue to rely on proven instruments that predate the NGSS, such as the Reformed Teacher Observation Protocol, or RTOP (Sawada et al., 2002), an instrument used to quantitatively assess reform-based instruction in both science and mathematics classrooms. We sought to explore the results of analyzing STEM-integrated, NGSS-aligned instruction using such a tool and identify which contexts, if any, proved challenging to analyze in this way.

This study focuses on classroom observations of nine middle school physical science teachers who participated in an NGSS-aligned professional development. A primary focus of this professional development was the teacher-team creation of STEM-integrated curriculum units that included scientific content, engineering practices, and an engineering design challenge. These teachers were observed while implementing their STEM-integrated units during the school year. This study explored the question: How do RTOP scores vary between middle school science lessons that include science, mathematics, and/or engineering content?

Results indicate that the RTOP penalizes engineering-only lessons for a lack of content. Additionally, the RTOP identifies multidisciplinary lessons as higher quality compared to single-discipline lessons. These findings highlight the need to define what engineering content is in the context of a K-12 classroom before attempting to assess it. We invite a discussion with our science teacher education colleagues regarding how they currently assess STEM-integrated instruction and define engineering content. This presentation may also interest educational researchers, curriculum developers, and classroom evaluators who wish to understand how to assess STEM integration in practice.

Paper #10349: Community College Students’ Interest and Motivation to Study Science.

Principal Author: Hope M. Sasway, Stony Brook University/Suffolk County Community College
Co-Authors: Angela M. Kelly, Stony Brook University


There is a need for science education research that explores community college student, instructor, and course characteristics that influence student interest and motivation to study science. Increasing student enrollment and persistence in STEM is a national concern. Nearly half of all college graduates have passed through a community college at some point in their higher education. This study at a large, ethnically diverse, suburban community college showed that student interest in and motivation to study science were affected by past personal and academic experiences and relationships with instructors and classmates.

            This explanatory sequential mixed-methods case study of student course interest utilized quantitative data from 639 pre-and post-surveys and these data were related to motivation and interest by interviewing 12 students selected through maximum variation sampling in order to reach saturation. Qualitative data were coded and categorized according to the constructs of the survey instrument. Qualitative data corroborated and provided insights for quantitative results. The interviews revealed the importance of support structures in students’ lives and that their academic circumstances and status as a community college student were often a result of past personal and academic experiences. Emergent data were a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors and resulted in a new conceptual framework.

            The implications are interventions such as implementation of professional development in andragogical training for instructors and support personnel are necessary in order to properly address the needs of community college students. Policy makers and administrators need to ensure that proper academic and financial counseling systems are in place, as well as create infrastructure for these commuters to bond with their peers. Students were affected by past experiences and required support to increase their interest and motivation to study science. Community college students’ persistence in the pipeline to join in the STEM workforce or transfer to four-year colleges is reliant on the development of support structures.

Paper #11055: STEM Picture Books: An integrated and collaborative STEM project for Preservice Elementary Methods teachers.

Principal Author: Kathy L. Malone, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Theodore Chao, The Ohio State University; Hochieh Lin, The Ohio State University; Ayse Ozturk, The Ohio State University


Concerns about STEM education in the United States are often linked to fears about maintaining and growing our innovative capacity and our competitive edge in the global marketplace (NAE & NRC, 2009).  In order to make lasting headway to providing future students for STEM fields, we need to start with training of our pre service education majors – especially early education pre-service educators.  The STEM picture book pre-service early elementary educators project is collaboration between the mathematics and science education methods instructors at a Midwestern research university. The main activities for the project include training early elementary education pre-service educators to incorporate literacy and integrated STEM into their future classrooms via the use of literacy.  The pre-service educators were tasked with constructing electronic picture books that could be used to jumpstart either integrated STEM, mathematics, science or engineering units.

The picture books were assessed using a rubric during class and later assessed for diversity/equity/inclusion, graphics, diversity/equity/inclusion, engineering design process, as well as how STEM topics were presented.

Our presentation will describe the project and the research findings for the first semester of implementation.

Paper #14014: The Impact of Professional Learning Community Collaboration on Teacher Self-Efficacy in Mastery Grading and Assessment

Principal Author: Daniel Carpenter, Texas Tech University
Co-Authors: Margaret R.. Colicchio, Texas Tech University; Kimberly Myers, Texas Tech University


Mastery learning, grading, and assessment practices in schools provide opportunities for students to master the curriculum as well as providing high-quality content understanding for every student.  Mastery teaching, learning and assessment are an outcomes-based series of strategies rooted in constructivist theory.  When taken together and applied to a current school setting, students show increased success through high-quality corrective instruction and progress monitoring.  

Communication about mastery pedagogy and the implementation in classrooms has been lacking and therefore the adoption of these practices have been slow to implement.  Ineffective teacher professional development (PD) on mastery teaching, learning and assessment has been a consistent issue.  Several models have been introduced to help teachers to change teaching, learning and assessment practices from traditional to more modern mastery based approaches.  Job-embedded PD models have recently shown great promise in obtaining these changes in schools.  Professional learning communities (PLCs) are one such job-embedded PD model that has been widely accepted in schools all over the world.  

In the research setting, grading and assessment policies were lacking in substance.  A PLC-based PD model utilizing a book study on Ken O’Connor’s A Repair Kit for Grading:  Fifteen Fixes for Broken Grades (2010) was implemented in the research setting to engage teachers with the concepts of mastery grading and assessment.  The purpose of this investigation was to determine the impact the implementation of a PLC had on a teacher’s self-reported self-efficacy on changes made to innovations in the adoption and adaptions of progressive mastery teaching, learning, and assessment practices from the collaborative culture.  

Self-efficacy of teachers was qualitatively measured before and after the book study using semi-structured interviews, open-ended questionnaires, observations, and teacher artifacts created during the book study.  Preliminary findings indicate that while teachers are still wary of policy change and PD expectations, the PLC model and open-discussion forum made teachers comfortable and excited to implement mastery grading and assessment techniques in their classrooms.

Paper #10348: Not as Easy as it Looks: Ranking Different STEM Models in a Continuum

Principal Author: Emily A. Dare, Michigan Technological University
Co-Authors: Elizabeth A. Ring, University of Minnesota; Gillian H. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


As more and more science teachers are now expected to bring STEM to their classrooms, it is important to understand how teachers understand what STEM is. Understanding that not all representations of STEM are equal, this study examines science teachers’ perceptions of eight different teacher-created models of STEM integration. We asked teachers to rank these eight models in a continuum, explaining their order choice, in order to understand what models of STEM are accepted or rejected by teachers. Findings reveal that teachers are most attracted to a model of STEM that shows places of overlap between the disciplines represented in the acronym, but that also allows for non-intersecting sections. Teachers were also optimistic about a model that explicitly addresses the connection between school and the real world. These findings have significant implications for classroom practice. This study sheds light on how different models of STEM are perceived by teachers, which can play a role in educating both pre- and in-service teachers about STEM.

Paper #10347: Developing STEM Teachers’ Identities in Emerging STEM Schools

Principal Author: Mohamed A. EL Nagdi, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Felicia D. Leammukda, University of Minnesota; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota


With the expansion of STEM schools all over  the United States and the world (Forman et. al, 2015; Slavit, Nelson, & Lesseig, 2016), new roles for teachers are being created, and with these roles, new identities are evolving. However, these roles and identities still remain one of the blurry areas in STEM education (Sanders, 2009; Williams, 2011): are they “stand-alone” teachers who teach STEM electives in a school, or are they a part of a collaborative team in a teaching and learning community who are working on STEM-focused curricular units in an integrated manner?

In this paper, the question, ‘how do teachers define their roles as STEM teachers within a STEM school?’ is explored through grounded theory approach (Charmaz, 2014) within a multiple case design (Yin, 2014). Data for this study are drawn from semi-structured interviews conducted with teachers from two schools participating in a project that explores the development of five STEM middle schools within a large urban district in the Midwestern United States. Teams of teachers at each of the five schools worked throughout the year to develop and implement their vision for STEM. Using an iterative, inductive data analysis process, different themes emerged (Lingard, Albert, & Levinson, 2008; Willig, 2013). These themes were categorized under two headings (though sometimes overlapping): professional and personal facets that constitute the STEM teachers’ identity. On the personal level, attributes for effective STEM teachers include being open for change, being flexible, being aware of  community needs, and having communication skills. Attributes at the professional level include an alignment between personal teaching philosophy and STEM understanding, awareness of the evolving nature of STEM identity; collaboration; ongoing learner, and an entanglement between original teaching discipline and new identity as a STEM teacher. This study concluded that while teachers’ identity is an evolving process that can be described as a “marathon” not a “sprint”, an alignment between teachers' personal philosophy and STEM understanding is essential for the success in working in STEM schools. Implications of this study include contribution to the literature of teachers’ identity and roles in a STEM school and helping to inform decision making on levels of teacher preparation, recruitment, and professional development for those working or preparing to work in STEM schools.


Paper #16037: Effect of Participation in Modeling Instruction in Biology Year Long Professional Development

Principal Author: Mary LeFever, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Kathy L.. Malone, The Ohio State University; Karen E.. Irving, The Ohio State University


Modeling instruction in secondary physics has demonstrated increases in student learning. It has also been shown to be effective in dispelling alternative conceptions and aiding students in acquiring and retaining accurate models of how matter and the universe work (Hestenes, Wells & Swackhamer, 1992; Jackson, Dukerich & Hestenes, 2008; Malone, 2008).  Modeling Instruction in Biology has not been thoroughly assessed in terms of student learning. In addition, teacher shifts in classroom practice and barriers to such change have not been assessed for any Modeling Instruction Workshops to date.   Qualitative and quantitative data collected and presented here suggests participation in a 3 week summer Modeling Instruction Biology workshop and four academic year follow-up meetings positively impacted teacher change in terms of classroom practice, based upon comparison data from non-participant teachers. Direct teacher observations were made using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP).  One on one interviews with both groups of teachers were conducted, transcribed and analyzed. Additionally, some participant teachers in the cohort participated in a video analysis opportunity using Edthena (Edthena, ©2017). Edthena is a video annotation tool that allows teachers to post videos and share them with other teachers who can make comments about classroom practice.  This small cohort of teachers posted videos to Edthena of their teaching practice for peers to view and to provide feedback. Participant engagement level in the Edthena piece of the PD experience was assessed and compared with their RTOP scores.   Suggestions for modifications to the protocol used to assess teachers, to better align with the demands of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are presented. Findings have implications for pre-service teacher methods education as well as in service teacher professional development (NGSS Lead States, 2013).

Paper #10346: School reform, collaboration and the shared workspace model

Principal Author: Daniel Carpenter, Texas Tech University
Co-Authors: Maggie Colicchio, Texas Tech University; Kimberly Myers, Texas Tech University


Educational reform efforts over the last several decades have called for innovative ways that leverage job embedded professional learning to address school improvement. Professional learning communities (PLCs) have been a leading school reform model. PLCs have become a component of the culture of schools because of the growing need to establish a collaborative culture. The collaborative culture is a part of school culture established over time based on educators working together to maintain a collaborative focus on student achievement. Increases in student achievement contribute substantially to school improvement goals. 

PLCs are formal networks of educators that have taken the forefront of reform efforts to increase teacher collaboration and impact school improvement. PLCs are a functional model for when educators work together in the collaborative culture to analyze student achievement, share pedagogy, and find areas for improvement in teaching, learning, and student achievement. The professional learning community is structured to create opportunities for educators to share a common workspace, and further share commonality in a collaborative setting. 

The paradigms of school culture and collaboration synergistically intermingle into a collaborative culture that provide opportunities for sharing between educators. Collaboration occurs when there is a physical set of actions focused on communicating and working with others to produce or create something. Collaboration occurs when intellectual social norming ensures effectiveness of collaboration when educators work together from a common purpose and goals. Educators share intellectual contributions in a PLC from mutual planning, decision-making and problem solving based on student achievement. Educators share physical contributions in the form of lesson plans, assessments, pedagogical applications and student outcomes.

The shared workspace is a model that provides a paradigm for the overlap between intellectual and physical contributions for effective collaboration and problem solving on teaching, learning and assessment innovations. The shared workspace is attained when educators mutually share values, vision goals and leadership of shared intellectual and physical contributions to their work. Finally, the shared workspace model synergistically combine the collaborative culture, job embedded professional learning and school improvement.


Paper #16036: Using wonder infused pedagogy to interest preservice elementary teachers in science

Principal Author: Andrew Gilbert, George Mason University
Co-Authors: Christie Byers, George Mason University


Elementary science teacher educators are expected to address multiple issues related to preservice teachers including: mitigating fear and anxiety related to science; building interest in science content; teaching scientific principles (including the Nature of Science), and building future teachers pedagogical content knowledge. This is a tall order and often teacher educators are only given one semester to enact these expectations. It is our contention that in order to make progress across these fronts, we must help future teachers connect their emotional responses to scientific phenomena in order to rewire their relationship with science learning. We further contend that infusing wonder into inquiry pedagogy represents one possible avenue to address the crisis of interest. This presentation will engage participants by providing examples to infuse wonder into inquiry pedagogy and provide actual preservice teacher examples of wonder journal entries and final wonder projects as a means to stimulate conversation for both the process and the possibilities of wonder infused pedagogy. The goals of these conversations are be designed to a) provide examples for wonder-based approaches that have been developed over a number of years by the authors, b) for audience members to envision possibilities for wonder in their own practices, c) provide feedback to further develop our approach to journals and final wonder projects and d) conceptualize possibilities to engage in these types of activities while simultaneously meeting science education program goals and parameters for assessing these approaches.

Paper #10345: Emergent Models of STEM integration when Prescribed Standardized Curricula is Present

Principal Author: Justine N. Kim, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Julie C. Brown, University of Minnesota; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota


“Prescribed Standardized Curriculum” according to the US Department of State, is “a set curriculum determined by the school or other authorizing body (Powell, 2004).  Traditional education, based on prescribed standardized curriculum, is criticized for the inability to prepare students to be higher order thinkers and problem-solvers (Council, T. A., & National Research Council, 2014). STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is an alternative and progressive paradigm on the rise, with a growing reputation to instill 21st century learning skill sets in students (Bybee, 2010). In order for teachers to use STEM curriculum that offers students the skills they need, they must navigate how to do so when prescribed standardized curricula is also present.

This study followed  24 core content teachers who were tasked to find ways to meaningfully integrate STEM under the restrictions prescribed standardized curricula imposed on them by district and schools mandates during the 2016-2017 school year. We examined the ways in which teachers combined STEM with core content prescribed standardized curricula. An explanatory case study was used because the design allowed us to give detailed consideration to the development of integrated STEM models over the course of the school year. Their curricula models were inductively coded, allowing varying models of STEM integration to emerge. Models suggest different approaches and levels of STEM integration that were used amongst teachers. Preliminary findings revealed the following three models:  combining a prescribed standardized curriculum unit with a STEM unit, alternating between prescribed standardized curricula lessons and a STEM lesson within a unit, and teaching a STEM unit at the end of the school year after the prescribed standardized lesson were completed. Understanding why teachers have created these models help us better understand what limitations and affordances teachers encounter when trying to teach STEM in a school that enforces teachers to use prescribed standardized curriculum.


Paper #14012: Designing and implementing short-term travel study for preservice teachers

Principal Author: Michael T. Svec, Furman University
Co-Authors: Robbie L. Higdon, James Madison University


International comparisons are a useful tool for exploring the assumptions made about schools, children, the science curriculum, and future educational reforms. Travel study provides an opportunity for preservice teachers to look at other international classrooms with a critical eye and examine previously unquestioned values and their own biases and prejudices. Studies have indicated the value of travel study for preservice teachers (Pence and McGillivray, 2008; Willard-Holt, 2001; Quezada, 2004; Stachowski, 2001). The presentation will contrast two short-term travel study programs that engage pre-service teachers within European public education.  The first program focused on cross-cultural experiences with field experiences in Irish classrooms with the goal of engaging the preservice teachers in reflecting upon one’s cultural identity and how that shapes one’s understanding of being a globally engaged citizen. This program included 45-hours of active participation within a primary or secondary classroom. The second involved multiple school visits in Finland and the Czech Republic with the intention of engaging future teachers and other undergraduates interested in public education policies to learn from experienced teachers and students about that country’s culture, policies, curriculum, and successful teaching practices. Between the two countries a dozen schools were visited in addition to several guest speakers. The second program was also interdisciplinary with faculty and students from sociology and education participating. The itineraries, rationale, student assignments, and qualitative data based on participants’ writing and reflections will be presented.  The presentation will also address how science educators can contribute their expertise within a travel study program to help students understanding the role of STEM in schools and the national economy.

Paper #10344: Preservice Secondary Science Teachers’ Developing Understanding of the Science Practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Principal Author: Corinne Lardy, California State University, Sacramento
Co-Authors: Hui-Ju Huang, California State University, Sacramento; Michelle Sinapuelas, California State University, East Bay; Michele Korb, California State University, East Bay; Rachelle DiStefano, California State University, East Bay; Donna Ross, San Diego State University; Larry Horvath, San Francisco State University; Jennifer Clasgens, Weber State University


The practice Analyzing and Interpreting Data is integral to both the scientific community and the modern science classroom, but can be difficult for preservice teachers to effectively apply in their lessons. In order for instructors of science teaching methods courses to effectively help our preservice teachers (PSTs) understand and apply the practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data into their teaching, we must first understand our students’ prior knowledge and conceptualization of this core practice. This study aims to describe that conceptualization for a sample of 110 secondary PSTs enrolled in seven methods courses at six universities in the western region of the United States. In addition, PSTs’ descriptions of this practice were collected and analyzed at the end of participants’ methods courses, after they had engaged with a tool designed to aid them to critically reflect upon the practice in the context of a lesson. Data were also collected from audio and video recordings in the courses as well as interviews from a subset of PSTs in order to gain insight into PSTs’ developing understanding of Analyzing and Interpreting Data in the secondary science classroom. Results indicate an overall growth in PSTs’ descriptions of this practice from the beginning to end of the course, with an increasing alignment with the vision of the practice as described by the Framework for K-12 Science Education and NGSS, and an increasing amount of complexity and detail. Patterns in the descriptions of the practice of Analyzing and Interpreting Data, however, varied among students with different methods course instructors. This presentation will describe the patterns seen in PSTs’ initial and final descriptions of this practice, and explore some of the potential reasons behind and implications for these emerging patterns.

Paper #16035: The UTeach Maker Showcase: A Micro-credentialing framework

Principal Author: Shelly R.. Rodriguez, The University of Texas, Austin
Co-Authors: Jason R.. Harron, The University of Texas, Austin


Over the last several years, the maker movement has transitioned from a sub-culture to a worldwide phenomenon. This has been accompanied by the technologies, resources, and habits of mind that characterize the maker movement making their way into formal education. The practices of making are in line with inquiry-based education and support practices called for in the NGSS standards. And, though there is potential for making to help us re-imagine PK-12 learning, the training teachers need to implement making  and use new tecnologies effectively is still lacking. UTeach Maker is a selective micro-credentialing program developed to fill this gap. UTeach Maker provides preservice science teachers with an opportunity to develop an understanding of both the philosophical foundations and practical applications of the maker movement as an educational approach. This session will provide an overview of UTeach Maker and provide an in-depth explanation of the Maker Showcase that serves as the program framework. The program overview will provide a discussion of recruitment strategies, technology integration, program milestones, and the UTeach Maker micro-credentialing process. Additionally, this session will provide details about the Maker Showcase external review and the presentation process that occurs prior to micro-credentialing. Session participants will be provided with the UTeach Maker Showcase checklist and rubric and will have the opportunity to use this tool to examine recent Maker Showcases. This session should appeal to anyone interested in maker education and the integration of its accompanying technologies into formal school settings. The session will offer concrete tools that can be used to support preservice science teachers interested in making. It will also provide an opportunity to share ideas and collaborate on best practices in the emerging field of maker education.

Paper #10343: Science Teachers’ Experiences Integrating Culturally Responsive Pedagogy into Standards-based Curricula: Opportunities and Challenges

Principal Author: Illana C. Livstrom, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Julie C. Brown, University of Minnesota


Culturally responsive pedagogy (CRP) is an approach to teaching that uses the cultural experiences and perspectives of ethnically diverse students to drive content and instructional activities in the classroom (Gay, 2000). CRP is a promising strategy in science classrooms and improves students’ science achievement and attitudes (Lee & Buxton, 2010). However, science teachers typically leave their education programs with little exposure to ethnically diverse students and little preparation in attending to their needs (Suriel & Atwater, 2012). It is also challenging for teachers of all subjects to design curriculum and instruction that integrates CRP with standards-based curricula (Darling-Hammond & Wise 1985; McNeil, 2000). Research has focused on the development of culturally responsive teachers, with particular regard to attitudes (Eubanks, 2002; Renee, 2005; Tutwiler, 2007) and critical reflection (Mensah, 2013; Howard, 2003). However, comparatively little attention has been paid to the curriculum design process, especially relating to integrating CRP with standards-based curricula (Wyatt, 2014).

This explanatory case study investigated the curriculum design process of four in-service secondary science teachers as they integrated CRP with their standards-based science curricula. Using teachers’ original science units, their modified culturally responsive science units, daily updates of their unit planning progress, their curriculum ideas log, and daily reflections on curriculum writing, we examined the curriculum modification process, the challenges teachers encountered during design, the resources they found helpful, and the successes they reported.

Preliminary findings reveal that specific resources — student artifacts, the Culturally Responsive Instruction Observation Protocol (CRIOP, Powell & Rightmyer, 2011), and collaborative support — were important resources for teachers in the curriculum design process. However, a major challenge teachers faced when designing culturally responsive science units was working within the constraints of standards-based curricula. Specifically, we found that teachers prioritized state mandated standards over cultural relevance in their final units. This study has implications for supporting science teachers through the curriculum writing process particularly when integrating culturally responsive pedagogy into standards-based curricula.

Paper #10341: Establishment of the STEM experimental materials in Japan –using Vargula hilgendorfii-

Principal Author: Naoko Kosaka, Shizuoka University and Katoh Gakuen Gyoshu junior and senior high school
Co-Authors: Yoshisuke Kumano, Shizuoka University


STEM education, though it is widely used in other countries such as America, is not very familiar to junior and senior high school educators in Japan. Currently, educators in Japan are reviewing its classroom pedagogy and practices to provide students with opportunities to develop the 21st century skills. In this study, activities are designed and conducted with 11 junior and senior high students which were framed under the eight practices of the STEM education. Vargula hilgendorfii, a native Crustacea in Japan, is mainly used as the experimental material for students to work with. Vargula hilgendorfii is a nocturnal animal and emits blue light when it surfaces to shallow waters in the evenings. This was chosen as a material for this study since this is not known for many Japanese students and could easily be mistaken as Noctiluca scintillans. The blue light from this animal is mainly produced by the chemical reaction of luciferase and luciferin. One of the surprising results as the students studied the behavior of this animal is that it releases its brightest blue light at 4oC(39.2). This data shows that there are could be possibly more characteristics is not known about this animal. Also based on students’ responses, they enjoyed working with Vargula hilgendorfii and have realized that they can work with another framework different from what they have been used to in the Japanese education system. It is concluded that Vargula hilgendorfii could be a great choice for students to work with as a STEM experimental material when working with luminescent creatures. It is also possible to use the relatives of Vargula hilgendorfii  which could be found in the Carribean Sea, Southeast Asia and so on.

Paper #10340: Learning through classroom observation: Evaluation feedback that helps teachers and program leaders

Principal Author: Stephanie B. Philipp, University of Louisville
Co-Authors: Steve Henderson, Briarwood Enterprises, LLC


Teachers across the US are participating in professional learning programs to deepen their knowledge of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and to learn how to plan, teach, and assess across the three dimensions of the standards. To create and report on effective NGSS professional learning programs, we need to evaluate programs in terms of teacher reaction and learning, organizational reformation, application by teachers of new knowledge and skills, and student outcomes. For this presentation, we are particularly interested in evaluating how teachers are applying their new knowledge and skills with their own students. To examine this, we have developed an easy to use classroom observation instrument aligned with the NGSS that gives descriptive feedback to both teachers and professional learning program leaders. We are currently using this instrument to formatively evaluate our two-year professional learning program that supports teachers deveoping and using NGSS-aligned classroom-embedded assessment tasks.  Preliminary results show that the instrument gievs targeted, descriptive feedback to teachers and points out program changes that could be made to support teachers' mastery of using science and engineering practices with their students.

Paper #10339: The Effects of a Sustained, NGSS-based Professional Development of Teachers’ Beliefs

Principal Author: Cindy L. Kern, Quinnipiac University
Co-Authors: Emily Sparago, Quinnipiac University; Amanda Bozack, Radford University; Rosemary Whelan, University of New Haven


The National Research Council’s Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework) (2011) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) represent a major shift for science educators. To date, 18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the NGSS, representing 35% of the US student population. Each state is presented with the challenge of providing meaningful professional development (PD) to support science educators’ enactment of the standards with efficacy and fidelity. However, educational reform requires more than an understanding of the standards and learning theory based instructional practices. Girvan et al (2016) state, “At a time of radical educational reform, stakeholders can present either seemingly insurmountable barriers to change or be the greatest advocates as agents for that change.” Melville et al (2015) acknowledge that reform takes its toll on teachers because of powerful socialized norms that make changing the perceptions of how science is taught challenging. Haney et al (1996) suggests that identifying teacher beliefs and understanding how these beliefs influence teacher behaviors is essential for successful reform efforts. As states adopt and enact science education reform, we need to better understand the relationship among PD, teachers’ beliefs, and the behavior of interest--learning theory aligned science instruction.

The study described here is part of a larger, 2-year state-funded PD, designed to introduce NGSS-based instruction simultaneously to beginning teachers (BTs), their mentors (MTs), and their administrators. Additional optional bi-monthly PDs were offered throughout the school years for PD participants and their colleagues. In this study, we chose to focus on the effect a sustained, NGSS-based PD had on BTs and MTs’ behavioral beliefs about effective science teaching and perceived behavioral control associated with implementing the NGSS as indicators for teachers enacting effective science teaching practices (Ajzen, 2011). This study sought to answer the following research questions: What effect does a sustained, NGSS-based professional development have on beginning and mentor teachers’ beliefs about effective science teaching? What effect does a sustained, NGSS-based professional development have on beginning and mentor teachers’ perceived behavior control for enacting effective science instruction?

Paper #10338: Engineering in Elementary School Year 2: Building 21st Century Learners

Principal Author: Vinta A.. Tiarani, Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Karen E.. Irving, Ohio State University; Kathy L.. Malone, Ohio State University; Trudy Giasi, Ohio State University; Rachel L.. Kajfez, Ohio State University


The EiE-Ohio – Building 21st Century STEAM Learners project is a collaboration between the ZZZ City Schools (LEA), the College of Education, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of Engineering to bring STEM integrated engineering units to high needs elementary schools. The main activities for the project include training for three elementary teachers from ZZZ City Schools and one graduate student to implement the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) units designed with support from the National Science Foundation by the Science Museum of Boston. By introducing one teacher from each participating building to the Teacher Educator professional development, the teachers in participating schools have a peer mentor to guide their implementation of the units with their students.


The second element of the project includes Summer Institutes I and II. The third element of the project includes after school and Saturday Follow-Up Sessions to continue the professional learning community and to provide opportunity to share and critique video of classroom implementation.


Our presentation will describe the project and the research findings for the first and second year of implementation. Expected outcomes for the project include for teachers: improved pedagogy in STEM instruction; improved content knowledge in STEM fields; increased teacher self-efficacy, and increased teacher dialogue within professional learning communities. Expected outcomes for students include: increased content knowledge in STEM content; improved attitudes toward science and engineering career; improved understanding of engineering and scientific practices. We will describe the project and present student learning measures and teacher measures for the first two years of implementation.

Paper #10337: Teaching Old-dogs New Tricks: Creating Space for Project-based Learning in a Vocabulary-focused Classroom through a Year-long Professional Development

Principal Author: Rory J. Glass, State University of New York at Albany
Co-Authors: Alandeom Oliveira, State University of New York at Albany


The growing ELL population in our public schools continues to rise and is of great concern to many educators. Recent reform efforts at both the national and state level have emphasized the need to improve outcomes for this high-needs, and traditionally underperforming, group of students. This presentation will discuss some of the results from our ongoing professional development project working with content area (science and math) teachers and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. Our teaching teams work collaboratively through a process of structured reflection, on the development of plans of intelligent action over one full school year – including pre and post school year summer institutes. This presentation will share some of our initial findings which include: the importance of external supports for classroom teachers from both inside and outside of schools; the contextual forces that limit success when teachers collaborate; a need to shift from a “comprehensible input” philosophy when working with ELLS to one more supportive of “reproducible output” (in both spoken and written forms); and, the importance of a consistent context for students even when exploring more project-based oriented activities.  

Paper #10336: Bridging the gap between science and society: Exploring citizens’ motivations and influences in attending science cafés

Principal Author: Gina Childers, University of North Georgia
Co-Authors: Donna Governor, University of North Georgia; Stacey Britton, University of West Georgia


Science Cafés create an open dialogue between scientific experts and the public by promoting conversations focused on general science knowledge, scientific breakthroughs, implications and changes in public policy due to recent scientific findings, and practical applications of science. However, little is known of the motivation and influence that inspire individuals to attend Science Café events as well as what individuals do with the information or knowledge they gain at an event. This study explored Science Café attendees’ (n = 124) motivational factors in attending Science café events as well as documenting what attendees did with the information presented at the event. The majority of Science Café attendees (65%) reported learning and gaining information or knowledge, social interactions (30%) with other attendees, and fulfilling a personal need (38%) were motivational influences to attend Science Café events. Documenting what Science Café attendees do with the information gained from an event, the majority of participants (54%) share and/or discuss the information gained from a Science Café event with others (e.g., family members, friends, colleagues), and 40% of participants (n = 50) stated a specific catalyst for personal growth or development indicating the attendee actively participates in additional research and reading of materials connected to the Science Café event. In contrast, 17% of participants responded either they do nothing or very little with the information shared at the event. Because Science Café events enable scientific experts to communicate with the public in an informal learning space, there may be significant implications in the science teacher education community. This information could inform best practices in connecting with the public including families, school administration and policy makers, informal science centers, and businesses/industries about scientific endeavors and the profound effect science has on the public and education.

Paper #11054: Science Museum and STEM Preservice Teacher Preparation: A Collaboration

Principal Author: Karen E.. Irving, Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Patti Brosnan, Ohio State University; Lin Ding, Ohio State University; Brittany Garvin-Hudson, Ohio State University; Sarah Donley, Ohio State University; Craig Kelley, Center of Science and Industry (COSI)


Preservice STEM teachers participated in a summer field experience at a Local Science Museum (LSM) presenting discovery hands-on learning opportunities using existing STEM carts. This provided the preservice teachers with the opportunity to practice engaging people with science and math content, using language appropriate to the prior knowledge of the visitors, and testing a variety of approaches with the same content. The carts’ purpose was to engage visitors and connect them to STEM learning through discussion and hands-on activities. They aimed to extend experience beyond ordinary STEM activities while keeping the experience real and relevant. Following the summer field experience, the preservice STEM teachers worked with science museum designers to create new STEM carts for future use. The task of creating these carts enriched the preservice teachers’ understanding of the STEM topics, planning of pedagogy and the role of informal education in the community. The partnership provided more knowledgeable summer volunteers for the science museum, a stronger partnership between the local science museum and the university and community schools, and a source of new ideas and teaching tools for the science museum. Benefits to the preservice teachers included attention to and subsequent improvement in their communication skills.

Paper #10334: Relational-Cultural Theory as a Lens to Understanding Science Teacher Induction: Exploring the Relational Maps of a Newly Hired Alternative Licensed Science Teacher’s Induction Experiences

Principal Author: Angela W. Webb, Louisiana State University
Co-Authors: Leiflyn Gamborg, Louisiana State University


The benefits of induction for newly hired science teachers are well noted in the research literature, and comprehensive induction can be a key component in teacher retention. However, the association between induction support and teacher retention is not unilateral. Participation in a formal, comprehensive induction program does not necessarily guarantee teacher retention. Rather, there are often numerous factors mediating teachers’ experiences and their commitment to teaching, such as teachers’ relationships during their induction into the teaching profession. This presentation explores the induction experiences of a newly hired alternatively licensed science teacher through the lens of Relational-Cultural Theory (RCT), which frames growth and development in and through relationships within sociocultural contexts. Specifically, we present the teacher’s relational maps across her first three years of teaching and the ways in which resilience in her job was advanced through various relationships. Implications of RCT for science teacher induction will be discussed.

Paper #10333: A Comparative Analysis of Nature of Science Representations in National and Science High School Curricula in the Philippines

Principal Author: Mila Rosa L. Librea-Carden, Kent State University
Co-Authors: Tanzimul Ferdous, Kent State University; Bridget K. Mulvey, Kent State University


This investigation addresses a gap in the nature of science (NOS) literature concerning analysis of science curricula. We analyzed and compared how NOS aspects were included and represented in the Philippine national science curriculum and the curriculum of a main public science high school—Philippine Science High School (PSHS). As science high schools may focus more on high quality science teaching and learning than other schools, we hypothesized that the PSHS curriculum would include more informed statements related to NOS than the national science curriculum. The PSHS curriculum is aligned with the national mandated curriculum but specifically designed for learners with strong understandings and interest in science. Curricula were analyzed for implicit and explicit NOS representations as well as for level of understanding (informed, partially informed, or naïve). Both were analyzed first by subject and then across subjects, using the analysis and scoring rubric by Abd-El-Khalick et al. (2017). Two researchers independently assessed each curriculum, and inter-rater reliability was 90% with disagreements resolved through extended discussions and a third rater. Results indicated that NOS representations in both curricula were mostly implicit yet informed, although there was an overemphasis on experimentation. In both curricula, the empirical and inferential NOS were found to have a higher percentage representation than all other NOS aspects. Overall, both curricula lack explicit NOS topics and representations, but PSHS curriculum has more NOS related statements than the national curriculum. This oft-neglected inclusion of NOS in curricular documents is one of the most important barriers to teaching NOS (McComas, 2015), and also consistent to previous research in the U.S. (e.g. McComas, Clough & Almazroa, 1998; Peters-Burton, 2015) and internationally (e.g. Irez, 2009; Ma, 2015). This study will inform teacher professional development programs informed by curricula as well as curricular revisions internationally. Understanding the differences between science high schools and other schools, including NOS in their curricula, will support efforts to improve curricular alignment with reform efforts and teaching and learning. Science high schools may be an important starting place for teacher professional development interventions to change science instruction in a country such as the Philippines.

Paper #10332: STEM Education through Project Based Learning Lesson in Wastewater Issue

Principal Author: Lely Mutakinati L. M. Mutakinati, Shizuoka University
Co-Authors: Kumano K. Y. Yoshisuke, Shizuoka University


 This research is to investigate the students` critical thinking skill by using STEM education through Project-Based Learning. In these lessons, the participants were 160 first grade Japanese middle school students from four classes. They were divided into nine groups each class. The instruments are worksheets to explore students’ initial knowledge about how to clean up wastewater and critical thinking processes. Worksheet was consists of designing solution, and understanding of concepts. Students were asked to design tools to clean up the wastewater. Students were given more than one chance to design the best product for wastewater treatment. The lessons consist of six lessons. First lesson is introduction of colloid, solution, and suspension, and discussion about wastewater. Second lesson to fourth lesson were finding solutions and designing products. Fifth lesson was to watch video of wastewater treatments in Japan and to optimize the solutions or products. Last lesson was to make conclusion, to exchange presentations, and to develop discussion. The result showed that mean score of students` critical thinking skill was 2.82. Criteria of students` critical thinking skill were advanced thinker: 41.6%, practicing thinker: 30,6%, beginning thinker: 25%, and challenged thinker: 2.8%. And criteria of students` critical thinking is practicing thinker. Practicing thinker is a stage of critical thinking development, they have enough skill in thinking to critique their own plan for systematic practice, and to construct a realistic critique of their powers of thought.

Paper #15011: Conceptual Development of Chemical Knowledge of Preservice Middle School Teachers

Principal Author: Mary M. Atwater, University of Georgia


The syllabus of the physical science content course for preservice middle school teachers will be shared; however the focus will be on the chemistry component of the course.  The actvities, along with documentations of chemical learning, will be shared  with the group.

Paper #10331: Teacher Attrition: Comparing Retention between Traditional and Alternate Route Certified Teachers

Principal Author: Gabriel A. Posadas, Mississippi State University
Co-Authors: Katie Huston, Mississippi State University; Aressa Coley, Mississippi State University; Ryan Walker, Mississippi State University


To better understand professional support needs among Mississippi public school teachers, the Mississippi State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) was employed to examine the magnitude of teacher attrition among novice teachers. The SLDS allowed researchers to link teachers’ educational and workforce records in order to determine the impact of teacher attrition based on licensure pathway. Mississippi utilizes two pathways to teacher licensure: traditional route and alternate route. The traditional route requires a bachelor’s degree in education and a passing score on the Praxis II subject area assessment. Alternate route license recipients are individuals with non-education degrees, who pass the Core Academic Skills for Educators exam and the Praxis II subject area exam. To examine the extent of teacher attrition, researchers analyzed the number of individuals who earned bachelor’s degrees from a Mississippi public university across five cohorts and tracked graduates who entered the education workforce for five subsequent years to determine if and when they left the teaching profession. Comparing the two routes revealed that an average of 57.4% of all alternate route certified teachers in Mississippi exited the teaching profession within their first five years, while the rate was 26.51% for all traditional route certified teachers. By the end of their third year, nearly half of all alternative route teachers in Mississippi exited the teaching profession, nearly doubling the overall rate of turnover for traditional route teachers within five years. The breakdown of high attrition rates suggests the need for targeted professional development, potentially through the forms of mentoring and learning communities that uniquely addresses barriers to teacher retention among novice teachers.

Paper #10330: Science Education within the Cultural Context: A Sense of Purpose, A Sense of Place

Principal Author: Lori Fulton, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Co-Authors: Jon Yoshioka, University of Hawaii at Manoa


The Pacific Islands have a rich history, culture and sense of place. However, like many places in the world, the traditional knowledge of the indigenous culture is not always recognized or valued by the dominant culture. This paper will focus on two areas that have been colonized by the United States of America – Hawaii and American Samoa. Both places have struggled to maintain their sense of cultural identity while trying to integrate the federal education mandates of the dominant culture, which focus on standards and student achievement. To make education more culturally responsive and relevant for both the students and teachers in Hawaii and American Samoa, many educators have been planning and integrating place-based pedagogy in an attempt to strengthen the connections to place for all those involved in the educational process (Gruenewald, 2003).


Demmert and Towner (2003) assert that educational experiences must take place in a context that supports the cultural “traditions, knowledge, and language(s) of the community” (p. 9) in order for students to succeed academically. This idea of culturally relevant education has been promoted through place-based pedagogy, and is prevalent in the area of science education (Aikenhead, Calabrese, & Chinn, 2006; Chinn, 2006; Chinn, 2011; Gilbert, 2011).


In order to promote science education that incorporates not only science content but which also values the culture and history of indigenous groups, it is essential that the educators and students be both willing and able to challenge the existing perspectives of the dominant culture which, in these cases, primarily focus on standardization. This paper will share examples of successful place-based pedagogy that have allowed teacher candidates to make personal connections to cultural aspects as well as standards within various settings. These examples include an investigation of the moon, a citizen science project in the intertidal zone, and the creation of a traditional art form called Siapo.

Paper #10329: Exploring Multiple Language Use in High School Science Classrooms

Principal Author: Rebecca Konz, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Karl G. Jung, University of South Florida


For high school students learning English, science can be a particularly difficult subject.  The extensive use of technical vocabulary in advanced science courses, as well as the language of inquiry and argumentation, can present a significant barrier to scientific concepts that students in public school are expected to learn.  A possible scaffold to help English learners access science content is to allow for use of their primary home languages. 

This study investigated the use of the online social learning environment Flipgrid to provide students with the opportunity to respond to science prompts in both their home languages and in English.  The case study investigated students use of the Flipgrid app and their perspectives about the opportunity to use both languages for their responses. The four cases represent students who speak Spanish, Somali, Karen, or Hmong as their primary home language.

Students reported positive feelings about having the opportunity to use their home language in science class. Video response data showed that students used the app in various different ways, which suggested that the format of the video responses allowed for student agency in their responses.

Paper #10328: Using digital science notebooks to support elementary student learning: Lessons and perspectives from a 5th grade science classroom

Principal Author: Angelina M.. Constantine, University of Minnesota - STEM Education Center
Co-Authors: Karl G.. Jung, University of South Florida


This exploratory case study examines the experiences of an elementary science teacher as he integrates iPads into his teaching. With the intent of finding a purposeful use for the district’s 1:1 iPad initiative in his science classroom, he adopted digital science notebooks. During planning sessions alongside an instructional coach, this teacher worked to harness the maximum potential of the digital notebooks’ capabilities to support his students’ science learning. Data collected from coaching conversations, observations, student notebooks, a stimulated recall interview uncover the ways a teacher plans for digital science notebooks and how they can be used to best support student learning. With the development of structured page templates for his students’ notebooks, this teacher successfully incorporated the digital notebooks to enhance his students’ learning beyond what a traditional composition notebook can provide.

Paper #10327: Engaging Families in STEM Activities in their Homes: A Mixed-Methods Study

Principal Author: Kristie S.. Gutierrez, Old Dominion University
Co-Authors: Margaret R.. Blanchard, NC State University


This mixed methods study investigates the experiences of families of middle school students (in the school-based STEM club) who took part in STEM Career Club: Home Edition (SCCHE) from Fall 2016 through Spring 2017 as part of an NSF-funded project.  This work built off of pilot work by Author (2016) and was informed by Epstein’s (1986) framework.  Forty-two families at three rural, high poverty middle schools participated in SCCHE and received all the materials required to complete STEM activities in their homes (taken home by the student), one activity at a time.  Research questions guiding this study are: In what ways did families participate in the SCCHE project?; What SCCHE content knowledge did participants demonstrate following SCCHE activities?; and, What were family members’ perceptions of the SCCHE experience?  Forty families received Home Edition materials #1 (with two additional families joining the project with Activity #2).  Eleven families persisted and completed all four activities (e.g., Circuit Scribe, Meccano Robot, Germ Glo with book, and Larry’s (Polymer) Lab).  The majority of family members answered more than 50% of content questions correct following the four activities (Parent Range: 47.6% - 91.6%; Child Range: 17.6% - 82.4%).  There were no significant differences in correctness based on family membership (parent or child) except on Activity #1, Circuit Scribe, F (1, 53) = 9.12, p < .01, r2adj = 0.13.  Neither the ethnicity of family members, nor the level of parents’ education were significant predictors of content question correctness.  Parents and their children described developing or re-learning skills and content knowledge, and noted their enjoyment in participating in STEM activities with their families.  This study gives insight into translating school STEM activities into the home.

Paper #10326: Learning Technology Integration in High School Biology: A Case Study of Eight Teachers

Principal Author: Dionysius J. Gnanakkan, Illinois Institute of Technology
Co-Authors: Norman G. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology; Judith S. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology


This multiple case-study investigated how high school biology teachers used modern learning technologies (probes, interactive simulations and animations, animated videos) in their classrooms and why they used the learning technologies. Another objective of the study was to assess whether the use of learning technologies alleviated misconceptions in Biology documented by American Association for the Advancement of Science. The sample consisted of eight High School Biology teachers. Each teacher was followed for two Units of instruction.

Data collected included classroom observations, field notes, student assignments and tests, teacher interviews, and pre-and post-misconception assessments. Paired t-tests were done to analyze the pre-post test data and constant comparative analysis was done to analyze the qualitative data. Each case study was characterized and then a cross-case analyses was done to find common themes across the different cases.

Teachers were found to use the learning technologies as a tool to supplement instruction to visualize abstract processes, collect data, and explore abstract concepts and processes. Teachers were found to situate learning. Teachers used scaffolding and questioning and were observed to make students work in collaborative groups. The genetics, photosynthesis, and evolution misconceptions were better alleviated than cellular respiration. Student work that was collected demonstrated a good understanding of the concepts under discussion even when they had misconceptions. The teachers used the learning technologies in their classrooms for a variety of reasons: visual illustrations, time-saving measure to collect data, best way to collect data, engaging and fun for students and the interactive nature of the visualization tools and models.

The study’s findings had many implications for research, professional development, teacher education, teaching practice, administrators, and learning technology developers. Additional research is needed to validate and refine the teacher technology implementation model developed in the study before it could be used to guide future practice and research. An implication is that learning technology integration could be modeled with instructional scaffolds and questioning and incorporating higher order thinking tasks. Teachers will be informed about how scaffolding looks and works within an integrated technology classroom.

Paper #10325: Filipino Preservice Teachers’ Level of Environmental Literacy and Views toward STS and STS-based Instruction

Principal Author: Aidin Amirshokoohi, DeSales University
Co-Authors: Boyce Jubilan, DeSales University


The Philippines is faced with numerous environmental issues caused by population growth, increasing poverty, rapid and uncontrollable urban sprawl, focus on short-term economic profits, and absence of political will and clear mandates. The solution to the mounting environmental problems of the Philippines lies mainly in developing a society and citizenry that understands the causes, consequences, and possible approaches to tackling of these environmental issues and is willing to take steps to ameliorate or eradicate these issues.

The Science, Technology, Society (STS) framework has been touted as a logical framework for preparing a scientifically literate public because it focuses precisely on this critical junction of science, technology, and society. Implementation of STS-based instruction requires that teachers’ beliefs be compatible with the STS framework and that they have a positive attitude and willingness to teach using such framework.

International studies focusing on preservice teachers’ environmental literacy and knowledge and views toward STS and STS-based instruction have focused mainly on in-service teachers and secondary science teachers. In the Philippines, studies have mainly focused on environmental literacy while STS education has not received similar attention. Studies on environmental literacy remain limited and have focused mainly on the general public, school-aged children, university students in general, or practicing teachers.

The purpose of this study was to explore elementary preservice teachers’ environmental literacy, views toward STS and STS-based instruction and their willingness to implement STS-based instruction in their future classrooms. The sample consisted of 181 elementary preservice teachers enrolled at a private 4-year institution in the Antique province in the Philippines. Data collection consisted of the administration of two separate instruments. This study will be of major interest and relevance to ASTE participants including U.S. and international science educators and researchers interested in issues related to teacher education and environmental and STS-based teacher preparation and professional development.

Paper #10324: Integrating instructional methods: A learning cycle approach to teaching ‘What is Science’

Principal Author: Meredith Park Rogers, Indiana University - Bloomington
Co-Authors: Alex Gerber, Indiana University - Bloomington; Jing Yang, Indiana University - Bloomington; Ranu Roy, Indiana University - Bloomington; Roshan Lamichhane, Indiana University - Bloomington; Jared Allen, Indiana University - Bloomington


The instructional approach described in this study takes the perspective that NOS relates to the other fundamental components of what constitutes science (body of knowledge and methods) and should be taught in an integrated fashion. Considering this stance, we employ a learning cycle that has the preservice teachers first exploring NOS integrated with content and methods of science. Next they individually reflect, then collaborative discuss, how tenets of NOS were represented in each of the activities and how understanding these tenets of NOS were necessary for investigating the topic. Lastly, they apply their understanding of how to explicitly incorporate NOS in their science instruction by modifying a science lesson copied from a textbook. Participants included five sections (N=89) of preservice elementary students. Data sources include preservice teachers’ individual responses to two formative assessment questions given before and after the learning cycle experience. Analysis of these assessments began with the whole research team working together to code one section of students’ responses to refine and come to agreement on the definitions for four codes. Next, team members were paired and assigned 2-3 sections to code. The whole team coding process took multiple iterations but resulted in the pair coding having greater than 90% agreement. Results for the first question showed shifts pre to post in only two of the five sections with respect to the number of preservice teachers’ referencing two or more of the components of science. Question two however, found more than 50% increase pre to post for all sections regarding the number of preservice teachers’ reference to two more components of science. In both questions, NOS was emphasized by asking the preservice teachers to include NOS in their response. However, question one focused on explaining NOS; whereas question two focused on teaching NOS within a science concept. These results indicate from the learning cycle approach the preservice teachers were able to make reference to multiple aspects of science when describing how they would incorporate NOS into topic-specific science lesson versus just being asked to generally explain NOS. Implications for others interested in adopting the pedagogical approach used in this study will be discussed.

Paper #10323: How Citizen Science May Be Integrated into the Science Classroom Using Twitter

Principal Author: Kayla R.. Norville, North Carolina State University



Citizen science is research conducted by “regular people” in coordination with scientists. It “introduces the process of discovery to a wider audience” (McKenney et al., 2016). 

Citizen science is increasingly used in the K-12 classrooms. To be successful, citizen science requires communication among non-scientists (or citizens) conducting the science and the scientists who designed the research. Social media, such as Twitter, has become a cornerstone of modern communication. Twitter could allow for necessary networking to take place to make these connections among citizens (teachers and students) and scientists in ways that would prove difficult otherwise (McHeyzer-Williams & McHeyzer Williams, 2016). This study investigates the social networks of three science teacher hashtags as well as two citizen science hashtags, focusing on the relationships among them to see the extent to which citizen science could possibly be integrated in the science classroom. Findings identify that approximately 4% of participants involved in science teacher hashtag networks are also involved in citizen science hashtag networks. Also, there were no overlaps in top influencers of citizen science and science teacher hashtags. There is still a disconnect among science teachers and scientists involved in citizen science.

Paper #16034: Museum Partnerships for Prekindergarten Science Professional Development

Principal Author: Jenny Ingber, American Museum of Natural History
Co-Authors: Jacqueline Horgan, American Museum of Natural History; Daniel Zeiger, American Museum of Natural History


The value of facilitating science learning experiences for the youngest learners has been increasingly recognized. Professional development of early childhood teachers is essential for enacting the high-quality early childhood science education that has recently been emphasized in both local and national calls to action. We describe a professional development program, designed in partnership between a museum and local community-based organizations. The goals of the program involve enriching individual science content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge among participating teachers. Through a series of learning opportunities at the Museum and at school, set out to bridge museum and school learning with children's home learning These learning opportunities took the form of teacher learning sessions at the Museum and at the school, classroom observations, and facilitated field trips for children and all class parents. Findings relating to teacher gains of new science content and strategies for teaching science, as well as their learning of how to support parents in engaging with their children while learning science or seeking science out of school and their leveraging of Museum assets for learning were generated as a result of the work. Implications for broader support of teachers early childhood teachers' science teaching and relationships building with families of young children will be highlighted. This would be especially useful for informal educators, early childhood teachers, early childhood teacher educators, and staff developers looking to find ways of fostering partnerships to build science learning in schools and/or community based organizations that offer prekindergarten or kindergarten programs.

Paper #13025: Noticing and responding: Attention to linguistic demands of young children during science engagements

Principal Author: Paula S. Calderon, Southeastern Louisiana University
Co-Authors: Mandy McCormick Smith, The Ohio State University; Angela W. Webb, Louisiana State University


This session centers on drawing attention to the linguistic demands and learning opportunities during meaningful science experiences in linguistically diverse preschool classrooms. This experiential session draws upon research around language development for young children and developmentally appropriate science education for young children who speak many languages. Participants will interact with science engagements just as pre/in-service teachers would do in a methods or professional development course, and as young children would in preschool contexts. Session participants will be provided experiences to interact with multiple preschool science concepts (e.g. life, physical and earth) through the Pre-k Learning Cycle for science (Authors, 2017a) with emphasis on drawing attention to the linguistic demands of learners and responding with appropriate scaffolding and linguistic responsive approaches. The session will also center around identifying the diverse language demands of our youngest learners.

Paper #10322: Mobile Apps for Learning STEM (MALS)

Principal Author: Seema Rivera, Clarkson University
Co-Authors: Mahesh Banavar, Clarkson University; Dana Barry, Clarkson University




The central focus of this work-in-progress is to motivate high school students to learn about and develop an interest in STEM and STEM-related areas, as well as prepare teachers to carry out these tasks.

A consistent message from school science supervisors is that students do not have basic skills in science such as representation, modeling, analysis, and interpretation of data. Traditional teaching modes in high schools rely on classes and traditional laboratories to transfer key knowledge to students. While this is effective for some students, most students rely on non-traditional and multimodal methods to learn. Furthermore, traditional methods do not motivate most students to continue in STEM-related majors in college.

The objectives of this project are to design and develop project-based lessons and immersive mobile app-based laboratories that: a) enable and motivate students to learn STEM topics by immersing themselves in interactive apps, b) include lesson content and electronic labs delivered using the latest mobile technology and platforms, and c) provide teacher training to better improve content delivery.  We propose to write STEM Units for high school students that incorporate apps based on our previous work, that is an Android app (a result of applied engineering) that was designed and developed for STEM education with undergraduate students.

Paper #10321: A Multi-Institutional Approach to Methods Courses to Improve Pre-Service Teacher Understanding and Implementation of a NGSS-aligned Teaching Approach

Principal Author: Mark McDermott, University of Iowa
Co-Authors: John Bedward, Buena Vista University


Science teachers at all levels face the challenge of increased responsibilities in their classrooms. These responsibilities include understanding and implementing instructional practices aligned with the NGSS, integrating other STEM disciplines in science teaching, and developing performance and standards based assessments, among other things. These increased responsibilities also call for new and innovative approaches to science teacher preparation. This presentation will describe a pilot program in which students in elementary and secondary methods courses at two diverse institutions collaborate on coursework and on assignments for the course as a way to build an understanding of and ability to implement effective, NGSS-aligned instructional practices in a wide range of future classroom settings. The theoretical framework the project was built on will be explained, as well as the rationale for utilizing Argument-based Inquiry (ABI) strategies as the instructional perspective encouraged will be provided. The process the course instructors utilized to develop the collaborative approach, as well as the course progression will be discussed. Specific examples of student activity, student assignments, and student artifacts will be provided. Benefits and challenges associated with the pilot program will be shared as a way to facilitate feedback and encourage others to build on this model in their own unique settings. Finally, results of analysis of the impact on student comprehension of the NGSS and instructional practices associated with three-dimensional teaching and learning, student epistemic orientation, and student self-efficacy will be reported.

Paper #10320: Chemistry students’ understanding of dissolving and associated phenomena: The case of sodium chloride

Principal Author: James M. Nyachwaya, North Dakota State University
Co-Authors: Katherine Carman, Drake University


This study sought to uncover college general chemistry students’ understanding of the process of dissolving, and properties of the resulting solution. Students (working in groups) were asked to describe the process of dissolving sodium chloride in water, provide a particulate drawing of interactions in the solution, explain whether the amount of water changes after dissolving, and how the entropy of the solution would compare to that of water (solvent). Preliminary results indicate that only six of the forty-six groups appropriately described dissolving. None of the forty-six groups provided an appropriate drawing of interactions in solution. While forty groups correctly predicted that the amount of water would remain the same after dissolving, only thirteen groups provided the correct reason for their prediction. Forty-three groups were correct in noting that entropy of the solution would be higher than that of the pure solvent. However, only four groups gave the correct reason for entropy of the solution being higher. While students in most groups invoked relevant academic language, the use of the language in many groups points to a lack of understanding of fundamental chemistry concepts.

Paper #10319: Exploring the Influence of Situated Work Experiences on Paraprofessional Preservice Teachers’ Science Teaching Self-Efficacy

Principal Author: Lindsay K. Lightner, Washington State University
Co-Authors: Judith A. Morrison, Washington State University


Many United States school districts face an acute shortage of qualified teachers in particular subjects and geographic areas.  This study investigates preservice teachers enrolled in an alternate route teacher certification program in which elementary-level paraprofessionals become certified to teach English language learners, bilingual education, or special education while remaining employed in their schools.  While this route is founded on the premise that paraprofessionals’ prior work experiences will render them effective and long-lasting teachers, an earlier study of participants in this program found that years of paraprofessional experience alone did not predict higher general teaching self-efficacy or science teaching self-efficacy. 

To learn more about how these participants’ school-based work experiences impact their self-efficacy and development as future elementary science teachers, a range sample of participants was studied using a multiple case study design.  Several themes emerged from an analysis of participant interviews, classroom observations, and artifacts from schools and university coursework.  Negotiating tensions around the transition from paraprofessional to teacher, balancing mastery and vicarious teaching experiences, and integrating funds of knowledge with school-based expertise emerged as key factors impacting participants’ self-efficacy for teaching science and for teaching in general.  This presentation will provide information for science teacher educators on how field experiences and situated learning opportunities might be leveraged for their own preservice elementary teachers’ increased science teaching self-efficacy. 

Paper #10318: The Process of Becoming: Identity Challenges for African-American Female Science and Mathematics Pre-Service Teachers

Principal Author: David M. Sparks, University of Texas at Arlington


A group of three African-American female students majoring in a field of Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM), participated in two phases of a qualitative research study to share their experiences in STEM, reasons for their choice of major, obstacles and challenges, instances of racism or sexism, and their identities as a STEM student. The results showed that the females were not discouraged by their underrepresentation, were confident in their abilities, and expressed a wide variation in their identities of race, gender, and field of study. Future studies should explore the place of religion in the work and aspirations of Black females in STEM and seek deeper insights into how their identities are developed and solidified in the predominantly White and male STEM culture.

This research focused on the daily experiences of female African-American students who represent the major fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), specifically mathematics and science teaching. The participants included three students in the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Arlington (all three of which were involved in the teacher preparation program as well). Two of the students were undergraduate math majors and one was a PhD math student. The study included having these students provide a writing sample of a letter to an imaginary STEM student and participate in a one hour semi-structured interview.

The study sought to answer the following research question:

(1) When discussing their choice of and development as a science or mathematics teacher, what do African-American female students consider to be important considerations when adapting to a field in which they are underrepresented?

(2) What factors do African-American female students consider vital for their success in a STEM major and how do they communicate those factors to a fictional student?

 (3) How do African-American female STEM students rank and justify the importance of their identities when given the choice of (1) race, (2) gender, and (3) STEM student and how does this relate to their choice of and development within a STEM degree plan?

The session will focus on the results of the research and its implication for the recruitment and retention of African-American female students in STEM majors. An interactive discussion of future research directions and implications of best practices to support diverse populations will follow.


Paper #13024: Using GIS tools to investigate socio-environmental science in the secondary classroom: Exploring the Urban Heat Island effect

Principal Author: Kate Popejoy, Popejoy STEM LLC
Co-Authors: Thomas Hammond, Lehigh University; Alec Bodzin, Lehigh University; William Farina, Lehigh University; David Anastasio, Lehigh University; Breena Holland, Lehigh University; James Carrigan, Lehigh University; Scott Rutzmoser, Lehigh University; Dork Sahagian, Lehigh University


Geospatial tools have been available for application in K-12 curricula for several decades, yet they remain underutilized by educators. In general, barriers to integrating GIS (geographic information systems) – complexity of the technology, difficulty in accessing datasets, and prohibitive time demands of inquiry learning – have prevented all but the most adventurous teachers from using geospatial tools in their classrooms.

GIS technology is best used as an inquiry-driven, problem-solving, standards-based set of tasks that incorporate fieldwork and provide career pathways that are increasingly in demand. It helps students to think critically and use authentic data while connecting them to their community. It does so in all settings and appeals to today’s visual and tactile learners. GIS helps students understand content in an array of disciplines (e.g., environmental science, geography, social studies and mathematics). However, GIS integration efforts must find the points of connection, and enter into existing curricula to complement established expectations of content coverage and assessments with prescribed learning goals.

Our team is conducting an NSF-supported project to design, develop, and test a series of novel socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) using a geospatial curriculum approach that includes mentoring of youth by STEM professionals in an urban school. The inquiry-driven investigations take advantage of recent developments in powerful, mobile geospatial technologies to promote STEM-related workforce skills. The content of SESI focuses on social issues related to environmental science. The pedagogy is inquiry-driven, with students engaged in hands-on work with data to answer open-ended questions. These investigations can be implemented across multiple content areas commonly found in secondary science and social studies curricula. These issues are multidisciplinary, involving decision-making based on the analysis of geospatial data, examination of relevant social science content, and consideration of social equity implications. We use a design partnership model that includes education professors with backgrounds in curriculum design and development with geospatial technologies, content experts in the natural sciences and social sciences, classroom teachers, and industry partners who use geospatial technologies in their occupation serving as mentors in the classroom.

Paper #10317: Cultivating Environmental Problem Solvers in Urban settings: An Innovative Aquaponics’ System ‘For Teachers, By Teachers’

Principal Author: Yvonne Franco, University of Tampa


Urban settings are in great need of innovative thinkers to solve environmental challenges. Research indicates cities occupy 2% of the world’s surface, but consume 75% of its resources (Girardet, 2008). Long transport from food production to consumption has led to environmental impacts by preventing nutrient recycling, accruing high costs, and resulting in emission problems (Grewal & Grewal, 2012). Education is a means to change “perceptions, attitudes, and human behavior” (Priyanto, Fanani, & Sasmitojati, 2013, p. 7).  However, this comes with several challenges for educators, including lacking: a) accessibility to an agricultural context from which students in urban settings can experience natural elements first-hand; b) understanding of ways environmental education supports inquiry in classrooms; c) content knowledge to meaningfully and collaboratively enact an interdisciplinary STEM approach to environmental learning; d) teacher preparation that thoughtfully supports integration of such curriculum (Louv, 2008; Lozzi, 2009; Stevenson, 2017).

This study investigates, “In what ways, if at all, does an Aquaponics’ system designed for K-12 classrooms support teaching and learning?”  Qualitative data was collected over a 5-month period as early career and novice teachers integrated an Aquaponics’ system in inner city, k-12 classrooms.  Teachers were supported by STEM graduates to facilitate the classroom integration of the system.  Findings indicate: several teachers were challenged to support inquiry-based instruction, while others positioned themselves as inquirers alongside their students; STEM initiatives were present, though limited, due to a need to understand engineering practices; and teachers needed curriculum supporting NGSS, inquiry-based instruction, and STEM education to accompany the technology. Assessed needs informed the strategic development of a curriculum writing workshop, whereby the teachers were led to deepen their understanding of NGSS, inquiry-based instruction and STEM education in order to develop curriculum to advance environmental education in their classrooms using the technology.  The three-day workshop led to the development of curriculum ‘For Teachers, By Teachers.’

Paper #11053: Model Development Using the ASSIST Approach

Principal Author: Nathan A. Quarderer, The University of Iowa
Co-Authors: Kathleen Weiss, The University of Iowa; Mark A. McDermott, The University of Iowa


In-service science teachers must be provided with the opportunity to gain familiarity with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) including the practices of engaging in argument from evidence, and developing and using models. To help meet this challenge, an approach to learning and teaching science known as Argument-based Strategies for STEM-Infused Science Teaching (ASSIST; McDermott, 2016) was developed, featuring weeklong professional development workshops that present teachers with the chance to collaborate with colleagues from neighboring school districts, practice implementing ASSIST in a setting designed to model a classroom being taught using that approach, and create lesson plans based on their shared experience.

Framed around a central conceptual science big idea, and structured on a foundation of science practices, argument-based practices, and multimodal communication, ASSIST draws much of its influence from the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH; Keys et al, 1999) with the added layer of providing explicit opportunity for integration of technology, engineering, and mathematics into the science lesson planning process.

Beginning with an initial engagement activity, the ASSIST approach then creates space for the development of student-generated big science ideas, coming up with questions to address those big ideas, and student-designed tests that they can then use to help answer their own questions. Throughout this process, students are encouraged to share their ideas using multiple modes of communication that can be relied on to support any claims they might make along the way (Lesh, 1998). At the end, time is provided for the students to consult with experts about what they discovered, and how these student findings compare with the scientifically accepted view of the world.

What follows is a description of how our approach to shaping these ASSIST workshops has evloved over the lifetime of the project, including highlights from the most recent iteration that occured over two weeks in July 2017. Attendees can expect to learn about the templates and edcuational resources we provide our participants to assist with lesson planning and implemntation of the ASSIST approach.  The evolving models that our participants created during our most recent workshop will also be discussed, including details of the tests designed to inform those models, and the results of an engineering and design challenge.

Paper #10316: Transitioning From Scientist to Teacher: Coherences and Tensions Experienced by Science Content Experts and Career Changers Becoming Teachers

Principal Author: Shannon L.. Navy, Kent State University
Co-Authors: Melissa A.. Jurkiewicz, Mercer University


Although there are initiatives to attract individuals with STEM degrees and experiences into teaching, little is known about the characteristics and development of qualified professional scientists becoming teachers. One approach to prepare science content experts and career changers for teaching is through teaching fellowships. This qualitative exploratory study investigated the experiences and development of a cohort of science content experts and career changers who were accepted into a one-year, intensive teacher fellowship preparation program. The study focused on the fellows’ transformations over the fellowship year, and what coherences or tensions they encountered between their previous content and career experiences and their current classroom teaching experiences. The data collected consisted of questionnaires, interviews, and teaching observations. Inductive analysis revealed the variety of background experiences and identities content experts and career changers bring into the secondary science classroom. Cross-case analysis revealed similarities and differences in the coherences and tensions experienced by the fellows throughout the clinical preparation year. In addition, the fellows experienced shifting understandings of ideal versus real teaching, and of the profession of teaching. This study suggests that science teacher educators need to recognize the diverse experiences of content experts and career changers and provide assistance to help them balance and negotiate tensions that might exist between previous content and career experiences and current teaching situations.


Principal Author: Yi Li, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: Phillip A.. Boda, Teachers College, Columbia University; Jiahui Zhao, Tilton School; Jiahao Li, Virginia Episcopal School


This paper reports a science teacher leadership professional development (PD) program that sought to train a new generation of PD leaders to support science teachers toward reform in science education. The study employed mixed-methods to analyze participants’ confidence in leading the taught PD, reactions towards the workshop, and investigate the fidelity of the workshop as it was implemented. Findings suggest that when designing such leadership PD, designers need to consider teachers’ expectations of teacher leadership more broadly and intentionally employ adult learning principles. Additional ongoing support may also be required to improve teachers’ confidence in leading such PDs and sustain teacher leadership communities.

Paper #13023: Development and Application of a Video Case Analysis Frameworks in Science Teacher Preparation: A guide for Science Teacher Educators

Principal Author: Brett A. Criswell, University of Kentucky
Co-Authors: Joshua Ellis, Michigan Technological University; Shelly Forsythe, Texas State University; Ling Liang, LaSalle University; Jodi Maker, University of Texas at San Antonio; Vishodana Thamotharan, Florida International University


A geographically-distributed group of science teacher educators has been brought together through a project spearheaded by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. The overarching goal of the project is to identify best practices for using the ATLAS video library (http://www.nbpts.org/atlas) to support the preparation of science teachers. One outcome of the groups is identifying, developing and implementing a framework for video case analysis. We seek to share our current progress and elicit the perspectives of the ASTE membership in this session.

The use of video case analysis to support the education of pre-service teachers has been shown to be an efficacious approach to teacher preparation (Eilam & Poyas, 2009; Santagata, Zannoni, & Stigler, 2007). For those science teacher educators who may wish to use this approach, though, there is little guidance in terms of what things to consider in order to ensure the most productive use of the video cases. Specifically, the field of science[science] education currently lacks a conceptual framework that could identify critical elements for which to account in integrating video analysis into science[science] teacher preparation programs. In choosing two frameworks, the group set the following parameters: (1) the framework’s target audience would be science teacher educators; (2) the framework would have a more general education focus (across grade bands and disciplines), but will also include ideas specific to science education as appropriate; and (3) the framework would describe aspects of effectively analyzing teaching practices.

Those who attend this session will 1) explore the challenges of selecting and utilizing video cases, 2) examine the two video analysis framework candidates identified by the ATLAS working group, 3) become acquainted with the ATLAS library and other freely available video case resources, and 4) pilot the video case analysis frameworks with specific video cases. A primary goal of this session is to catalyze the formation of a community of science teacher educators and researchers around the topic of video case analysis, and we believe that this interactive session would be most beneficial to science teacher educators who seek to integrate video case analysis into their teacher preparation programs and appreciate the added value of incorporating video case analysis into their coursework.

Paper #10314: Strengthening High School Science Teachers’ Inquiry Instruction through an Authentic Green Chemistry Research Experience

Principal Author: Suzanne Nesmith, Baylor University


A major trend in science education is an emphasis toward inquiry-based instruction and away from knowledge transmission instruction.  Yet, despite a plethora of inquiry instruction definitions, delineations, and explanations, the goal of frequent, high-quality, authentic inquiry instruction within today’s classrooms has not been achieved. Though there is disagreement among researchers regarding the reason that reform efforts grounded in promoting inquiry have not achieved the desired changes in today’s science classrooms, there is full agreement that teachers are key to the utilization of K-12 science instruction that is inquiry-oriented and emphasizes problem solving and critical thinking in real-world contexts. This mixed methods study explored findings from a scientist-teacher partnership professional development (STP-PD) experience for high school science teachers. Participants were eighteen high school science teachers who participated in a two-week summer professional development experience in the Sustainable Molecular Design and Toxicology research laboratory at a major research university. Data was collected through a pre- and post-experience survey based on Marshall, Smart, and Horton’s (2009) Electronic Quality of Inquiry Protocol (EQUIP). Results suggest that the experience had a positive influence on the teachers’ perceptions of their inquiry based instruction; specifically, the teachers’ responses revealed movement from developing levels of inquiry towards proficient levels of inquiry in the constructs of instruction, discourse, assessment, and curriculum, with significant impacts in instructional and curriculum factors. Results also suggest the PD experience engaged and supported the teachers’ understanding and utilization of educational tools that aid the dissemination of scientific principles relevant to the design of safer, next-generation chemicals.

Paper #15010: Syllabi for Improving NGSS Uptake in Secondary Science Teacher Preparation Courses

Principal Author: Michele A.. Korb, California State University, East Bay
Co-Authors: Corinne Lardy, Sacramento State University; Michelle Sinapuelas, California State University, East Bay; Jenna Porter, Sacramento State University; Rachelle DiStefano, California State University, East Bay; Christine Baa-Lee, Virginia Commonwealth University


The expanding adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education on which they are based require not only significant shifts in the ways that inservice K-12 science teachers teach science, but also important shifts in the ways that science teacher educators prepare future science teachers. In many cases, these initial shifts take place in the teaching methods courses for science credential candidates enroll in teacher preparation programs. Science education faculty members who teach these courses are often the most knowledgeable about NGSS on their campuses, and their depth of this knowledge depends on experience with these new standards. Faculty members at different campuses vary in the number of colleagues with whom they collaborate, sometimes being the only science education faculty on their campus. In this presentation, we describe the shifts in design of syllabi that resulted from discourse among a research team and eventually a Network Improvement Community (NIC) consisting of 11 science methods instructors from six universities. These shifts in the syllabi reflect attention to student work artifacts, reflections from the instructors and students, videotapes of classroom experiences and interviews with the faculty member who began the pilot stages of the method courses to be studied in the NIC. The NIC was formed in June 2016 as part of the NSF-funded Next Gen ASET project (Next Generation Alliance for Science Educators Toolkit). Each faculty member used components of the ASET toolkit – rubrics for Science and Engineering practices and a graphic organizer for planning - as a way to incorporate NGSS-based practices into their teaching methods courses. This use of common supports acted as a basis to begin sharing of experiences and best practices within the NIC and thus redesign of course syllabi that reflect new practices in preparing teachers. Results pertaining to specific scaffolds implemented in select science methods courses, informed by specific examples of student work and shifts in understanding of NGSS, will be presented. The syllabi presented demonstrate a shift in practices and student outcomes that support some basic understanding of content and pedagogical content knowledge on the part of preservice teachers pertaining to the 3 dimensional aspects of NGSS and phenomenon-based learning.

Paper #10313: Engaging Elementary Students in Sustainability Education: A Service-Learning Project by Pre-Service Elementary Teachers (PSETs)

Principal Author: Carole K. Lee, University of Maine at Farmington
Co-Authors: Patricia H. Williams, University of Maine at Farmington


It is crucial that we, as a society, begin to attend and consider how to best manage and conserve our natural resources to help sustain them for years to come. As stated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA, 2017 website) “everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.” It is vital that we understand how to practice sustainability  or to “create[s] and maintain[s] the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations.”


In this study, sustainability education was integrated in a science methods class designed as part of an elementary school curriculum on energy. PSETs learned energy concepts first and undertook a service-learning project to teach elementary students about energy and ways to save it. This paper discusses opportunities and challenges in sustainability education, the importance of energy education, and how service-learning may help promote a deeper understanding of energy sources, concepts, and the real-world application of conservation practices for elementary school students and PSETs.


The project involved PSETs organizing an Energy Fair on the university campus where all 4th graders from a local elementary school were invited to participate. Through the hands-on activities, PSETs introduced the concept of energy to the students. Results showed that PSETs gained several benefits by participating in the project. The role of PSETs being “teachers” during the Energy Fair motivated them to learn about the concept of energy and to think about how children learn. At the same time, both PSETs and elementary students learned ways to save energy and became more mindful about their own energy habits.

Paper #10312: Pathways to Science: Addressing a Critical Need to Prepare Science Teachers Through The NSF Noyce Program

Principal Author: Andre Green, University of South Alabama
Co-Authors: Susan Martin, University of South Alabama


Noyce Pathway to Science (PTS) is a collaborative program between a university’s College of Education, College of Arts & Sciences, and a public school system. PTS addresses the need to increase the number of science teachers through enabling recent science bachelor’s degree graduates to complete secondary science certification in an intensive four-semester program that culminates with certification and an earned master’s degree. To ensure that the investment in these newly certified teachers is successful, they participate in a mentoring program designed to provide support after graduation. Nineteen students have completed the program since 2012 with the final three graduating in the spring of 2016. The primary goal the mentoring component is to keep scholars connected to each other to strengthen their network of support to enhance their effectiveness as science teachers and retain them as career teachers. Teaching can be a very lonely profession so creating a network where our graduates are linked together and focused on a common goal of supporting one another can make the profession not so lonely. Thus, keeping the scholars connected as practicing teachers to learn from one another is of the utmost importance in moving them forward as professional and in their retention.

Paper #10311: A Comparison of STEM vs. non-STEM majors as career changers in the middle school classroom

Principal Author: Michelle Fowler, Clemson University
Co-Authors: Lienne Medford, Converse College


This NSF-funded longitudinal study looks at the self-efficacy and effetiveness of STEM vs. non-STEM majors as career changer teachers in the middle school math and science classroom.

Of 172 Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) graduates in math and science over a ten-year period, one hundred who were still teaching middlel level math or science in the same state were asked to complete a self-efficacy survey. Fifty-one responded and then tweleve who agreed to be contacted were selected to be interviewed through stratified sampling. These 12 graduates were also asked to provide EVAAS (Education Value Added Assessment System) scores for thier K-12 students.  These scores were compared to the state average, as reported in the state's School Report Card.  A comparison was made between STEM and non-STEM majors at the undergraduate level.

In addition to these quantitiative measures, interviews provided qualitative data on the types of recognition and success the respondents had in their careers.  The combination of survey, interviews, and scores presented clear trends as to whether being a STEM major as an undergradute influences a graduate's success as a career changer teacher, or whether other factors are more important.   

Paper #10310: Professional Identity Shifts Surrounding Outdoor Classroom Experiences

Principal Author: Stephanie Hathcock, Oklahoma State University
Co-Authors: Amy Olson, Oklahoma State University


This presentation showcases research on pre-service elementary science teachers’ professional identity (PI) systems in relation to outdoor classroom experiences. We will discuss the application of a new theoretical framework for professional identity research, and and highlight changes in the PI’s of our students based on their experiences learning and working in an outdoor classroom. Data were collected through Science Autobiographies, Science Teaching Philosophies, Draw-a-Scientist Tests, and Draw-a-Science-Teacher Tests. These were analyzed using the Dynamic Systems Model for Role Identity (Kaplan & Garner, 2017), which is a comprehensive model for analyzing teachers’ PI. Results indicate that students developed more informed perceptions and beliefs about scientists and science teachers over the course of the semester, and began to realize that scientists and science teachers can work outdoors. Most students left the semester with a sense of purpose and action possibilities related to a more active, learner-centered classroom, and many had plans for implementing outdoor learning experiences in their future classrooms.

Paper #11052: Re-thinking about Gender and Racial Inequities in Science Using Actor-Network Theory

Principal Author: Sophia (Sun Kyung) Jeong, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Deborah J.. Tippins, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA


Advances in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) play a critical role in future economic performance, higher living standards, and improved quality of life (Burke & Mattis, 2007). In order to increase the number of students, teachers, and professionals trained in STEM fields, various federal programs have been implemented with an explicit goal of promoting STEM education (Kuenzi, 2008). However, women and minority groups continue to remain underrepresented in STEM (Diekman, Brown, Johnston, & Clark, 2010). The National Center for Education Statistics showed that a higher percentage of bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields were conferred to males than females (65% to 35%) across all racial/ethnic groups (Aud, Fox, & KewalRamani, 2010). Furthermore, the report showed that the percentage of bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields conferred to minority students was lower than the average, with the exception of Asian students (Aud et al., 2010). The gender and racial/ethnic inequalities in STEM are widely reported at the post-secondary education level. However, the area of research, which seeks to explore the gender and racial/ethnic inequities (which carries an ethical valence to the issue at heart) in relation to students’ science learning, still requires rigorous investigation at the K-12 level and, thus, remains under-theorized. In this presentation, the researcher aims to re-think about gender and racial inequities in science using actor-network theory.

Paper #13022: Preparing Pre-Service Science Teachers in Laboratory Design, Safety, and Procedures

Principal Author: Michelle J. Childress, University of Arkansas


A traditional science classroom would be ineffective without a laboratory component.  With the growing popularity of inquiry learning, hands-on demonstrations, and student-centered learning, it has become imperative that student learning also depend on non-traditional approaches as well.  Although laboratory time can be a fun and effective learning tool, it can also be a dangerous place for teachers and adults without proper safety guidelines in place.  The UAteach program at the University of Arkansas has implemented strategies to help prepare our pre-service teachers entering the science classroom.  With an approved laboratory model, students become familiar with proper design as well as learn first-hand appropriate safety procedures.  Pre-service teachers become safety certified according to the Environmental Health and Safety program and are required to create a safety portfolio prior to graduation.  


Paper #10308: Using Biography to Support Pre-Service Science and Engineering Teachers Learning about Engineering Practices and Habits of Mind

Principal Author: Pamela S.. Lottero-Perdue, Towson University
Co-Authors: Malinda S.. Zarske, University of Colorado, Boulder


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) includes eight Scientific and Engineering Practices, each of which represent fundamental ways that engineers do their work. Parallel to these are engineering ‘habits of mind,’ fundamental dispositions and ways of thinking within the engineering community.

In this paper, we describe a project designed to help middle and high school pre-service teachers (PSTs) extend their learning of engineering practices and habits of mind beyond their own engagement in these practices and habits during engineering design challenges. This project involves: 1) reading a biography of a person who engineers (not necessarily a formally trained engineer); 2) reflecting upon and discussing the biography with peers; and 3) writing about the ways in which the subject of the biography engages in specific practices and habits of mind. We select the biography for the PSTs, who purchase it as a required course text. The biography described in this paper is The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by Kamkwamba and Mealer (2009, 2015; Harper Collins Publishers).

This project takes place in our engineering methods courses at our respective institutions. Developed by the first author, it has been taught to 44 students across 4 sections of a required engineering methods course for middle school science PSTs between fall 2014 and spring 2017 at the first author’s university. The second author implemented the project in a spring 2017 course at the second author’s university to prepare 4 STEM PSTs for high school teaching.

The bulk of the paper describes: precursors to the project (e.g., explicit instruction about practices and habits); attributes of the biography for the project; the paper assignment rubric; analysis of data from the middle school PST courses; its implementation at the second author’s institution as an example of its replication in a new context; and two student work samples. Findings include that most students can provide evidence from the text to explain and exemplify the engineering practices (with 59% of 44 middle school PSTs earning a B- or better on this portion of the assignment) and habits of mind (66%), and that PSTs scored equally well with regard to practices and habits of mind according to a t-test. We conclude with ways the assignment can be improved to support PST learning.

Paper #11051: The Diverse Experiences of Four First Year Teachers in Urban Education

Principal Author: Mindy Chappell. Bonilla
Co-Authors: Jennifer Clay-Akakpo; Diana Bonilla; Erin Cathcara; Melanie Butler


Four first year teachers participated in culturally responsive mentoring to complete teacher research during their first year of teaching. These teachers engaged in self guided professional development in the form of teacher inquiry projects to isolate areas of interest to gauge particular skills and practices where they would like to see growth.

High school science, novice and veteran, can learn from us as we share analysis on productive struggle and rigor, the use of informed rubrics and explicit models for building and critiquing designs, engaging students in observational writing and disciplinary literacy, and the creation and application of real world connections to science standards.

Who are we? We are Teaching Fellows with the NSF funded, University of Illinois – Chicago affiliated Project Science Education for Excellence and Equity in Chicago (Project SEEEC). SEEEC focuses on improving Science curriculum and science experiences for teachers and students in order to make science more culturally relevant, socially just, and equitable for all students.


Paper #10307: Promoting “Science for All” Through Teacher Candidate Collaboration and Community Engagement

Principal Author: Sami Kahn, Ohio University
Co-Authors: Sara Hartman, Ohio University; Karen Oswald, Ohio University; Marek Samblanet, Ohio University


The Next Generation Science Standards present a bold vision for meaningful, quality science experiences for all students.  Yet students with disabilities continue to underperform on standardized assessments while persons with disabilities remain underrepresented in science fields.  Paramount among the factors contributing to this disparity is that science teachers are underprepared to teach students with disabilities while special education teachers are similarly ill-prepared to teach science.  This situation creates a pedagogical and moral dilemma of placing teachers in classrooms without ample preparation thereby guaranteeing attitudinal and practical barriers. To address this challenge, the authors of this paper developed a novel project in which, through voluntary participation, members of their college of education’s National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) student chapter co-planned and co-taught inclusive science lessons with student members of their Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) at a local hands-on discovery museum using a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. Pre and post-intervention surveys about teacher candidates’ perceptions of  teaching students with disabililties, collaboration between science and special educators, and the use of informal learning spaces to teach science were analyzed qualitatively using inductive thematic coding. Findings illuminate teacher candidates’ 1) assessment of collaboration as a powerful professional development opportunity; 2) identification of different perspectives between science and special education candidates; 3) common desire to do good work by making accessible for all students; 4)recognition of informal learning spaces as viable teaching venues; and; 5) strong need for more training and opportunities to teach science to students with disabilities.  This paper describes the motivation for, methods, and findings from the project, as well as recommendations for other programs wishing to implement a similar model.

Paper #11050: Increasing Retention in Large Enrollment Undergraduate Courses by Preparing Faculty to Use Active Engagement Teaching and Learning Strategies

Principal Author: Sandra L. Westmoreland, Texas Woman's University
Co-Authors: Tina L. Gumienny, Texas Woman's University


Active learning has been demonstrated to increase college student engagement and, indirectly, student persistence. Students enrolled in large classes (>50 students) may be at higher risk of failure. One reason that student failure rate is higher in large classes is decreased student engagement. The use of active learning practices in classes directly affects student social integration and indirectly affects student departure decisions. The use of active learning by faculty in the classroom shapes student perception that the university is committed to their personal welfare, growth, and development. This leads indirectly to the students' likelihood of persistence in the university. University faculty who teach large lecture classes often do not use active engagement teaching strategies due to perceived time limitations and technology costs, fear of the lack of control, and, most importantly, lack of experience and knowledge of how to implement these changes effectively in their courses. An Active Engagement Academy was formed to train university faculty to implement active engagement teaching and learning in their high-enrollment courses to promote student retention and academic success. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval was obtained to test two hypotheses. First, that the intervention would increase the percentage of students who passed the course as compared with the six long prior semesters of the same course with the same instructor. Second, that the faculty and student perceptions of student engagement would not differ significantly as determined by an analysis of the Classroom Survey of Student Engagement (CLASSE) faculty and student surveys. In this presentation, the Active Engagement Academy organization and implementation will be described and the outcomes of the research study will be presented.

Paper #10306: What Does “Learning About Engineering” Mean to Teachers?

Principal Author: Jacob B. Pleasants, Iowa State University
Co-Authors: Christopher Spinler, Iowa State University; Joanne Olson, Texas A&M


            Engineering design activities are a common way for teachers to incorporate engineering into their science classrooms.  Such activities can support science instruction, but are also often ways to teach student about engineering.  What engineering knowledge can be developed when students engage in design activities?  Learning about engineering is often described as developing design skills and practices (e.g., NGSS), but the research literature also makes clear that students ought to learn what engineering is and what engineers do – the nature of engineering.  While learning about science typically involves science concepts, to what extent do design activities address engineering concepts?

            This study presents findings from an elementary-level professional development and teacher education project.  During this project, grades 3-5 classroom teachers worked with student teachers and an engineering graduate student to plan and implement engineering lessons with students over the course of a semester.  Most of these lessons revolved around engineering design challenges that were presented to students.  At the end of the semester, participants were asked what they thought their students learned from those lessons. 

          To analyze participants’ responses, we present and utilize a framework for describing engineering knowledge.  We found that about 80% of participants described student learning in terms of developing designs skills and practices.  Surprisingly, about 85% of participants stated that students learned about the nature of engineering.  While many of these responses related to low-level knowledge about the steps of an engineering design process, many participants discussed how students learned about how science and engineering are related, and about the nature of engineering work.  While the NGSS is nearly silent on the nature of engineering, the fact that many participants found it a notable learning outcome is intriguing.  This result is especially interesting considering the well-documented difficulties in getting teachers to teach about the nature of science.  On the other hand, very few participants discussed students’ learning of any engineering concepts, which is a substantial difference from how science learning experiences are often described.

Paper #10305: Introducing NOS Box as an Educational Tool for Teaching Nature of Science in Elementary Science Method Classes

Principal Author: Noushin Nouri, University of Texas Rio Grand Valley


In this proposal, the nature of science (NOS) Box is introduced as an instrument that can be used in the elementary science method classes to help preservice teachers make pedagogical content knowledge of the nature of science. For investigating the effectiveness of NOS Box with using the descriptive qualitative research method, the NOS Box of each student, the students’ lesson plans, the students’ curriculum analysis, and the videotapes of the class interactions were analyzed carefully. The results show students began to build knowledge of NOS and used it practically in their products.

Paper #11049: Exploring the Narratives of Youth Consumerism Through a Zika Virus Case: Unintended Consequences of the Commodification of Body, Health, and Diseases in a Science Teaching Methods Course

Principal Author: Sophia (Sun Kyung) Jeong, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Deborah J.. Tippins, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA; Mutlu Sen, University of Georgia; Sun Young Jeong, Medical College of Wisconsin


On August 1, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for people living in or traveling to the neighborhoods in South Miami due to the active Zika virus transmission. Around the time, the instructors of a science teaching methods course were writing a case dealing with socioscientific issues. Given that one of the goals of the course was to engage prospective teachers in a discussion about the nature of science and scientific knowledge, we thought that incorporating the discussion of current events and issues in public health into the classroom experience would be a lucrative approach to developing positive attitudes towards science, as well as science teaching and learning. Thus, the course instructors co-wrote a case, “I Love Mother Nature. But, I Want My Nephew To Live: A Debate Over the Zika Virus and the Use of Pesticides.” By using the Zika virus case in the science teaching methods course, we intended to engage prospective teachers in the discussion of socioscientific issues (SSIs) and the development of scientific reasoning. Through the Zika virus case, they were confronted with complex issues surrounding the use of strong pesticides to control mosquito populations that are contributing to the spread of the Zika virus. However, upon reflecting on our teaching experience of using the Zika virus case, we realized that our lesson had created an unintended artifact and narratives of youth consumerism. In this proposal, we explore the commodification of body, health, and diseases in science texts.

Paper #10304: Developing a School-Based Science Professional Development Model with Fourth Grade Teachers

Principal Author: Jessica L. Chen, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: Felicia M. Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University


Efforts to increase opportunities for students to learn science in elementary schools have focused on improving teachers’ science instruction through school-based professional development. This study focused on the process used to develop an ongoing science professional development model for a five-member team of fourth grade teachers. The study used a situated perspective of learning, where learning to teach science occurs through participation in practice within a community and involves the development of a science teacher identity. Data collection methods included interviews, field notes, and science teaching and learning documents. The science teaching and learning documents included science lesson plans, slides, and student handouts. Establishing the professional development model first required identification and characterization of the school culture, existing science curriculum, and strengths and needs of the teachers. Then, addressing teacher-identified science teaching and curriculum issues was critical for meaningful participation in professional development. Finally, teachers participated in professional development sessions aimed at improving their understanding of science content and science teaching practices, as well as creating a community of practice in science. This study provides insights into how to develop a school-based science professional development model to increase elementary teachers’ capacity and motivation to teach science, specifically in relation to the development of their science teacher identities.


Paper #11048: Examinations of cognitive processing of science writing tasks

Principal Author: Douglas Hoston, University at Buffalo
Co-Authors: Sabrina Kenny, University at Buffalo; Kim Benowski, University at Buffalo; Richard Lamb, University at Buffalo; Brian Hand, University of Iowa


Context: The current nature of educational research in the discipline of science limits the application of outcomes that can be reached in terms of empirical evidence that supports emerging theory.

Objective: Much of the work in science education at all levels is focused on trying to gather evidence to better understand how student learning occurs within the science classroom.

Methods: The authors make use of functional near infrared spectroscopy, a non-invasive neuroimaging techniques to examine outcomes related to authentic educational tasks.

Results: A main effect of writing condition and phase in summary writing and argumentative writing respectively was found.

Conclusions: The results of this initial study do highlight the value of using neuroscience to help build understanding of the cognitive processes associated with writing in science. Importantly, the use of the fNIR does provide evidence about the relative strength of processing required in undertaking these different writing tasks.

Paper #10303: Elementary teacher actions and processes when planning instruction that scaffolds science academic language through an instructional coaching partnership

Principal Author: Karl G.. Jung, University of South Florida


Science and language are inextricably linked (Lemke, 1990) and in order for students to fully and authentically engage in science learning they must be supported in developing the academic language they will encounter in science lessons (NRC, 2012). However, for many students this academic language differs from the language they use outside of the science classroom (Gee, 2008) and science in particular requires students to use unique language to describe and explain abstract ideas, relationships and scientific procedures, all while encountering a high number of technical and content specific vocabulary terms (Zwiers, 2014). For students to be successful, teachers must provide support to help the students navigate this academic language, through instruction that makes clear language expectations (Schleppegrell, 2004). Unfortunately, this is an area in which many teachers struggle (Baecher et al., 2014) and thus far there has been little research that explore the impact that professional development has on teachers’ abilities to support science academic language (Buxton & Lee, 2014). This study sought to build on this by examining how an elementary science teacher engages in the planning of scaffolds for science academic language while participating in an instructional coaching partnership. Findings indicate that the elementary science teacher was able to plan a number of scaffolds for science academic language, namely vocabulary supports and sentence starters, and that in order for that planning to occur it was important for the elementary science teacher to articulate his expectations for language use, while also reflecting on the scaffolds that were being provided to students.

Paper #10302: Virtual reality as a means to train preservice science teachers.

Principal Author: Richard Lamb, University at Buffalo
Co-Authors: Elisabeth Etopio, University at Buffalo; Rebekah Lamb, Enterprise Charter School; Leonard Annetta, East Carolina University; Lynn Shannahan, University at Buffalo; Julie Schwab, Enterprise Charter School


The capstone of most teacher preparation programs is the inclusion of field experiences for preservice science teachers. The purpose of these experiences is to expose those wishing to teach to the complexity and unpredictability of the classrooms in which they will be expected to practice. The application of virtual reality (VR) has received considerable attention in the past year. Since the early millennium there has been increasing attention placed on modes of instruction that can supply greater realism and immersion. The technology to make VR environments nearly indistinguishable from realty is now possible. During construction of understanding in preservice science teacher education, the focus of VR is on the learner’s control of the learning processes and VR must be designed in such a way as to complement real-life experience and make use of authentic tasks. The purpose of this study is to investigate, compare, and characterize interactive VR based preservice science teacher clinical teaching environments with those of real-life teaching environments. Fifty-four healthy, college aged students, 13 males and 41 females, were randomly assigned to either clinical field condition or VR conditions. Results suggest that the main effect of the condition VR versus real-life is not statistically significant in terms of the retrospective engagement survey, psychological measures, and composite neuroimaging. The use of the VR, in terms of the realism of the environment for the preservice science teachers allows them to learn from modeled real-life situations for transfer of theory into practice. This transfer of theory into practice can provide preservice science teachers with a means to engage with classroom interaction in a soft-failure environment.

Paper #10301: Investigating Elementary Teachers’ Evolving Tensions with Integrating Engineering Design-Based Science Instruction

Principal Author: Jeffrey D. Radloff, Purdue University
Co-Authors: Brenda Capobianco, Purdue University


With the adoption of engineering design-based science teaching, elementary teachers must modify their current science pedagogy, often resulting in dilemmas or hard choices they must make in their teaching practice. The purpose of this poster presentation is to identify, compare, and characterize the tensions faced by thirty grade 3 and 4 elementary teachers over the course of two years in the context of a large-scale, targeted math-science partnership aimed at improving student learning of science through design. Data were gathered via semi-structured interviews, teacher reflections, and classroom observations. Data were analyzed using open coding and document analysis. Triangulation of data included the reading and re-reading of all data sets with emphasis on recurring categories and emerging trends related to teacher tensions.

Findings suggested that over one year teachers’ challenges largely shifted from logistical (e.g. focused on time, resources, and student behavior) to pedagogical, emphasizing the need to help facilitate student interactions in their engineering design teams, tweaking design tasks for more effective design outcomes, and positioning design tasks to maximize science learning. There was also a growing recognition by teachers of their shifting roles as facilitators.

While the teachers faced a multitude of challenges, they were optimistic about continuing to implement engineering design in their practice. Teachers cited students’ excitement and engagement with engineering design tasks, their interest in building student collaboration and communication, their observations of science learning gains, and the authentic, real-world nature of design as their motivation to continue. All of these features are characteristic of nature of engineering design and effective engineering design-based science teaching.

Together, teachers’ challenges and outcomes point to engineering design-based science teaching as a challenging, reflective teaching approach, connected to the nature of engineering design, by which teachers are able to develop improved student-centered teaching practices requiring facilitation of student knowledge and reasoning. Ways of connecting these findings with professional development and teacher preparation are discussed.

Paper #10300: The Use of The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol in an Elementary STEM Initiative

Principal Author: Carolyn Parker, American University
Co-Authors: Erica Smith, Tulane University


Our paper describes the use of the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) to assess instruction in a large-scale, elementary STEM initiative in a high-poverty, urban district. The STEM Achievement in Baltimore Elementary Schools (SABES) project includes the development of an integrated STEM curriculum for grade K-5 with accompanying teacher professional development. Twice each academic year, teachers in the project were recorded enacting a STEM lesson. The recording of each lesson was assessed using the RTOP. We analyzed the teachers’ RTOP scores in two ways. First, we compared the scores of the teachers at different points of time, asking if instruction changed over time. Next, all of the individual indicator’s scores, regardless of the time of the school year that the video taken, was analyzed to order to better understand the instructional strengths and weaknesses of the teachers participating in the project. Using Desimone’s (2009) Critical Features of Professional Development to frame our analysis, we describe our use of the RTOP to analyze instruction and inform subsequent professional development. Our findings inform the development for an integrated, elementary STEM approach at the elementary level.

Paper #10299: Development Skills of Pedagogical Content Knowledge in STEM Education for Pre-Service Teachers: Meta Analysis Data

Principal Author: Pramudya Dwi Aristya Putra, Shizuoka University
Co-Authors: Yoshisuke Kumano, Shizuoka University


Educators and researchers are using the STEM to explain integration science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There are barriers to the implementation of STEM education. Yet, the STEM educators felt uncomfortable with using STEM instruction and content, making the unlikely to adopt STEM approaches in their classroom. For the balance this gap, the training methods needed to improve educators’ skills especially in skills of knowledge using STEM in class.

This current study is the preliminary research to develop the form of pre-service teachers program in STEM education, so they can have an intention of STEM education. The methodology used in this research was a systematical review in articles, which collected in limited five years. To the extract those articles, the authors sought including purposes of the research (Assessment knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, content knowledge, knowledge of the students, circular knowledge), outcome of the studies (positive, negative and neutral), method distribution, and participants (pre-service or in-service).

Based on the purposes of theses studies were classified into five types development. A pedagogical knowledge that one important was improved in training program compared the other types. For the development of teaching strategies, teachers might know the goals of the learning process in their classroom. In this type, teachers’ perceptions about STEM were constructed. Basically, all of the types factors in teachers’ professional developments are needed, because all of the types would make a correlation. If the teachers get all the types of a factor in professional development, they will give good performance in STEM education.

The outcomes of the research provided the diverse effects. When the studies have a negative effect (not significant), the researcher should be given obvious reason, so the others researcher can know the main factor of the cause of a failure. Additionally, in the future research, the factor of failure can be avoided to get a positive outcome. Almost of methodologies in these studies used qualitative approach. PD in STEM education has been appropriated the recommendation for the five-year federal STEM education strategic plan. Giving PD to pre-service teachers could build their self-construction to understand and implement STEM perception while the in-service teacher can improve their skills in teaching STEM.


Paper #13021: Digging Deep Into Science Literacy: Exploring Close Reading and Technical Writing in Science for Grades K-8

Principal Author: Kristen Pennycuff Trent, Tennessee Technological University
Co-Authors: Leslie Suters, Tennessee Technological University; Stephanie Wendt, Tennessee Technological University; Queen Ogbomo, Tennessee Technological University; Kelly Moore, Tennessee Technological University; Terry Lashley, The Learning Curve, Inc.


A Framework for K-12 Science Education calls for teachers to actively engage students in scientific practices that would allow them to cultivate deep conceptual learning.  It asks for opportunities for students to develop explanations and models undergirded by critical reading and technical writing of CCSS.  While The Framework does not specify pedagogy, it does require that teachers encourage students to inquire, investigate, analyze, deduct, read, write, share, and apply information, all of which are pedagogical concepts developed in this workshop. This hands-on session will allow participants to investigate research-based strategies for critical reading and technical writing through a multimedia presentation, online resources, discussions, and hands-on practice of strategies using complex text.  Participants will:

*Increase their familiarity with CCSS, NGSS, and pedagogically sound practices. 

*Explore and experiment with strategies for close and critical reading and technical writing in science, including the use of trade books, paired text sets, text-dependent questions, academic vocabulary, claims, and arguments through the use of an engineering design challenges and 3D printing task examples.

*Join an online Professional Learning Community for sharing ideas and implementation of concepts presented, as well as learning best practices for becoming agents of change within their own schools. Participants will be invited to join our grant wiki and Facebook page.

Paper #10297: Identifying phenomenon that support NGSS-aligned instructional planning: Using preservice teacher data to inform faculty understanding through active revision of science methods courses.

Principal Author: Michelle Sinapuelas, California State University East Bay
Co-Authors: Larry Horvath, San Francisco State University; Donna Ross, San Diego State University; Meredith Vaughn, San Diego State University; Lin Xiang, Weber State; Corinne Lardy, Sacramento State University; Michele Korb, CSU East Bay; Rachelle DiStefano, CSU East Bay


The expanding adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Framework for K-12 Science Education on which they are based require not only significant shifts in the ways that inservice K-12 science teachers teach science, but also important shifts in the ways that science teacher educators prepare future science teachers (NRC, 2012; Windschitl et al., 2014).  In many cases, these initial shifts occur in the science methods courses that preservice teachers take as part of their teacher preparation programs. One significant shift being made in many university science methods courses is instruction on the use of anchoring phenomena to drive instruction.  However, identifying good phenomena that support students’ developing and understanding of the Performance Expectations is challenging.


As a part of a Networked Improvement Community (NIC), 11 science methods instructors from six universities collaborated to improve instruction in NGSS for preservice teachers.  As part of this effort, each instructor used tools developed as part of the NSF-funded Next Gen ASET project (Next Generation Alliance for Science Educators Toolkit).  One focus of this work was supporting preservice teachers in identifying anchoring phenomenon and planning 3D instruction around these phenomena.  After examining the phenomena generated by preservice teachers, it became clear that, across universities, preservice teachers were still struggling with identifying teachable, anchoring phenomena. This realization by faculty, that after instruction, preservice teachers enrolled in these courses were still struggling to identify a NGSS-aligned phenomenon was the catalyst for further analysis.  In this presentation, faculty and researchers working in the NIC will share results detailing faculty understanding around effective NGSS phenomena, characterization of anchoring phenomena identified by students enrolled in their courses, and changes made to these courses to better support preservice science teachers.

Paper #14011: Examination of Professional Development on Content Knowledge, Pedagogy, and Efficacy of Teaching Literacy and Science Concepts for Kindergarten through Eighth Grade Teachers in Four Rural Districts in Appalachia

Principal Author: Leslie Suters, Tennessee Technological University
Co-Authors: Kristen Pennycuff Trent, Tennessee Technological University; Terry Lashley, Learning Curve, Inc.; Queen Ogbomo, Tennessee Technological University; Stephanie Wendt, Tennessee Technological University; Kelly Moore, Tennessee Technological University


Digging Deep Into Science Literacy was formed through a Math and Science Partnership grant to meet the need for professional development on research-based strategies in critical reading and technical writing with Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)*, and the Tennessee Educator Acceleration Model (TEAM) for Kindergarten through 8th grade students of four rural districts in East Tennessee.  Educators used exploration, experimentation, and analysis to connect the key literacy skills of CCSS and the content demands of NGSS with research based pedagogical classroom practices.  They created, implemented, and reflected on lesson plans incorporating CCSS and NGSS with pedagogical practices for critical reading and technical writing in science.  Additionally, teachers became agents of change by creating a PLC within their school consisting of at least one literacy educator and one science teacher as well as contributing to ongoing project based PLCs that are focused on the integration of CCSS, NGSS, and pedagogy.  At the end of the 2016-2017 school year, teachers were asked to analyze data from standardized tests and report student performance on science content and literacy skills.   

Project evaluation is ongoing through July 2017 and will occur through informal participant interviews that are coded and analyzed for qualitative themes as well as quantitative analysis of a pre- and post-test measures: completion rates and content assessment scores on NSTA’s SciPacks, The Adapted Pennycuff-Reed Confidential Professional Development Survey, the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument (STEBI), the Modified English Language Arts Efficacy Belief Instrument (MELAEBI), and the Science Content Exam.  Pretest scores were obtained in July 2016, and posttest scores will be collected in July 2017.  Preliminary qualitative analysis of pre-intervention interviews has indicated categories of time, difficulty incorporating science and literacy, and assessment.  Researchers are continuing to collect data from classroom observations and videos, TEAM evaluation scores, and student test data to expand the study.  A separate proposal has been submitted for active participation in grant PD modules.

Paper #13020: Ins and Outs of Digestion for Middle School Students via 5-E Model

Principal Author: Mohammed A. Qazi, Tuskegee University
Co-Authors: Shaik Jeelani, Tuskegee University; Ruth Lidell, Alabama State University; Shirley, Scarbrough; Carol Banks, Tuskegee University


Student engagement is a strategy to increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) student retention. To impact STEM education in the rural Black Belt Counties of Alabama, a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Math and Science Partnership (MSP) led by Tuskegee University designs interactive course modules to teach middle grades Science concepts. The “Ins and Outs of Digestion for Middle School Students via 5-E Model” module is designed to meet the following 7th grade Life Science Content standard:

“Construct models and representations of organ systems (e.g., circulatory, digestive, respiratory, muscular, skeletal, nervous) to demonstrate how multiple interacting organs and systems work together to accomplish specific functions”.

Our module provides an opportunity to create models of the digestive system and determine the correct placement of various organs of this system. Students use their models to compare mechanical and chemical digestion. They use the model to explain why foods spend various amounts of time in a particular organ. Students also design an experiment to determine the effects of introducing new foods to a baby’s diet. To solidify students’ understanding and mastery of concepts, the module comes with a word search puzzle and a bingo game emphasizing vocabulary words related to the digestive track.


            In this experiential session, participants will wear their "student hats" and will experience hands-on learning of the critically important concepts of mechanical and chemical digestion using the innovative resources contained in the module. We will use hands-on, inquiry-based activities and models to explore and explain the “key ideas” behind mechanical and chemical digestion. The novelty of the module lies in the use of student created models of the digestive system using readily available materials to transform a boring traditional classroom in an interactive session that makes the learning of a difficult core science concept exciting and fun.  The module will be facilitated during the experiential session using the 5-E inquiry framework. We will also share the module’s effectiveness in the classroom by describing data on student learning outcomes. The discussion of the module will be preceded by a description of the motivation and rationale of the Tuskegee University led MSP partnership, which is also often referred to as the “NanoBio Science partnership”.

Paper #10296: STEM Graduate Students’ Changes in Nature of Science Conceptions in a Teaching Methods Course

Principal Author: Bridget K. Mulvey, Kent State University
Co-Authors: Lindsay B. Wheeler, University of Virginia; Jennifer L. Maeng, University of Virginia; Randy L. Bell, Oregon State University


Graduate students are regularly employed to teach undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses and thus have potential to positively impact students’ understanding of science and scientific literacy. Yet little research examines what graduate students know about nature of science (NOS) or instructional strategies for teaching NOS to them. This exploratory study sought to understand how a 1-credit Teaching Methods course that utilized an explicit, reflective, and mixed context NOS instruction for astronomy and engineering graduate students impacted their NOS views. Participants included 13 of the 14 graduate students from astronomy and civil engineering departments enrolled in the course in the spring 2017 semester. Data sources included the Views of Nature of Science (VNOS-Form C) questionnaire administered pre- and post-instruction, semi-structured interviews, and NOS-related assignments. Systematic data analysis was used to rate VNOS responses, blinded for pre/post condition and coded as alternative, transitional, or informed views for eight NOS tenets described in the literature. Research and teaching experiences were also coded and used to make meaning from the data. Prior to instruction participants held many alternative conceptions. Post-instruction, participants’ conceptions improved substantially, particularly in their understandings of theories and laws and the tentative nature of scientific knowledge. Participants’ research experience appeared to play a role in their pre-instruction NOS views as well as how their views changed across the semester. Participants with little research experience held the most alternative pre-instruction NOS views but had the most positive changes across the semester. Alternatively or in addition to this, participants’ research focus on science versus engineering may play a role in shaping their NOS conceptions. The NOS instruction utilized in the course appeared effective in shifting graduate students’ NOS conceptions for those with little research experience but that other approaches may be more effective for graduate students with extensive research experience.

Paper #10295: Development and Validation of the Classroom Observation Protocol for Engineering Design (COPED)

Principal Author: Lindsay B. Wheeler, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Shannon Navy, Kent State University; Jennifer L. Maeng, University of Virginia; Brooke A. Whitworth, University of Mississippi


There has been an increasing emphasis on integrating engineering into K-12 science instruction. Although prior studies have characterized engineering design in K-12 settings and provided evidence that this integration is beneficial to students, no validated protocols, to our knowledge, focus on engineering integration in grades 7-12 science classrooms. Therefore, the present study used the engineering design (ED) and observation protocol literature to develop, validate, and test the reliability of the Classroom Observation Protocol for Engineering Design (COPED) instrument. Based on the ED literature we identified three areas important to the characterization of engineering; 1) ED process, 2) habits of mind, and 3) connection to engineering. Characteristics of the ED process used in the COPED include: problem, research, criteria for success, constraints, plan/design multiple solutions, test solutions, evaluate (of solutions and redesign), redesign, and communicate findings. Systems thinking, creativity, optimism, collaboration, communication, and attention to ethical considerations are as six important engineering habits of mind used in COPED.  To use the COPED, researchers code for the presence of ED process components, instructional grouping (e.g., small group, whole class), and integrated topics (e..g, literacy, art) in five minute increments. Researchers also record qualitative field notes focused on interactions. Post-observation, researchers include descriptions of engineering habits of mind and what/how the teacher integrates the field of engineering into instruction. The preliminary instrument and codebook were reviewed by a panel of experts for face and content validity, and revisions made to the instrument. A set of secondary science classroom videos identified as incorporating ED were coded by two researchers, used to make final refinements of the instrument. Final coding of videos were conducted by two independent researchers, and inter-rater reliability was calculated. Materials were created to train researchers in using the COPED. Development of a valid and reliable ED instrument will provide a way to systematically characterize ED instruction within secondary science classrooms, which can be used to inform ways in which teachers are provided ED-related teacher preparation and professional development.

Paper #10294: A Case Study of Family Engagement in STEM Education

Principal Author: Ramya Sivaraj, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Bhaskar Upadhyay, University of Minnesota



In this qualitative case study, we draw from postcolonial discourses to understand family interactions related to STEM experiences and opportunities. Home visits with two suburban families with middle school aged children, along with discourse analysis, allow insight into a case study of family engagement with STEM education, highlighting significant aspects of how learning is impacted by both cognitive and cultural mediating factors, such as the learner’s social capital and motivational beliefs. Theories from postcolonialism allow the unpacking of tensions between cultural contexts and STEM education, and inform ways in which these tensions influence evolving learner identities and equitable outcomes in STEM education.


After critically analyzing family engagement data, based on ethnographic data collected from observations and interviews, as well as sociometric questionnaires and critical discourse analysis, findings indicate two central themes: insecure identities in STEM, and cultural dissonance between a perceived STEM culture and home culture. Implications include significant considerations for educators, community leaders and policy-makers in designing equitable collaborations that take into account family interest, engagement, and agency in STEM‐related fields, experiences and opportunities. Implications also include meaningfully examining the paramount role of interactions and intersections of diverse cultural contexts, while interrogating notions of critical, equitable collaborations involving families in STEM education, in an effort to better understand how cultural contexts influence educational outcomes that include academic success, as well as emotional well-being, as learners participate in STEM culture.

Paper #10293: Teaching Socioscientific Issues in an Evolving Context

Principal Author: Dana L. Zeidler, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Scott Applebaum, University of South Florida; Michael Mitchell, University of South Florida; Karrie Wikman, University of South Florida; Tara Tkrumah, University of South Florida; Selene Willis, University of South Florida; Melanie Weitz; Eunhang Lee, University of South Florida


While theoretical inquiry has posited the importance of the development of social and moral compassions that include elements such as moral and ethical sensitivity, perspective-taking and empathetic concerns, research into the practice of delivering, over an academic year, an SSI-focused science content course is limited. Understanding more about the epistemological beliefs and reasoning of students engaged in aspects of socioscientific reasoning (SSR) is necessary and recognized to building a more robust theoretical framework to guide science teacher education. The challenge of this work was twofold: 1) to examine how science teacher education may benefit from exploring how students epistemological reasoning related elements of social and moral compassion are revealed prior to, and after an academic year engaged in an SSI content rich course, and 2) examine the challenges faced by their teacher in establishing a sociocultural norm that engages students in these type of issues. A mixed methods pre – post design was used with data collection occurring at the beginning and end of an academic year using two high school anatomy and physiology classes immersed in an SSI-oriented course and two traditional A&P classes used as a comparison group. Quantitatively, three elements of the construct Social and Moral Compassion produced no significant difference for moral and ethical sensitivity and perspective taking, and a significant difference for empathetic concerns revealing a small effect size. Qualitative analysis revealed my nuanced gains in all three elements trending toward epistemological sophistication, including a fourth dimension illustrating how the use of scientific evidence could be integrated with decisions about moral and social issues. Post course interviews with the teacher highlighted several important points that contain both methodological and pedagogical explanations with implications important to science teacher education. Among these included: recognizing a change in the sociomoral landscape of students and the deleterious effects of technology that affect a plethora of behaviors and traits such as empathy, analytical thinking, reflective reasoning, and the willingness to engage in sustained and deep structure inquiry.

Paper #10292: STEM Integration: What’s Art Got To Do with It?

Principal Author: Andrea C. Burrows, University of Wyoming
Co-Authors: Christy Belardo, Mohonk Perserve, New York; Lydia Dambekalns, University of Wyoming


Research on teaching through discipline integration is currently emphasized as a gap in educational literature, and this study bridges discipline silos between the arts and sciences by indicating how science and art compliment content learning. A study of secondary education pre-service teachers (3 years, n = 52) participating in a science/art integration unit the semester before their last college experience, explores how integrated sessions capture both scientific and artistic discipline concepts. A mixed methods research approach measured changes in confidence of science and art knowledge, skills, and experiences of the participants. Quantitative and qualitative data support increased awareness and confidence in pre-service teachers’ perceptions of how science and art can be incorporated into pre-collegiate classrooms, recognition of discipline similarities, and significant common themes when teaching both disciplines together. The researchers utilized a social constructivist framework with the qualitative data. Conclusions and implications include: 1) instructors can provide examples and modeling of interdisciplinary learning, which inspire pre-service teachers to explore new integrated disciplines in their own future classrooms, and 2) instructors can influence perspectives of pre-service teachers by offering integrated units, which produces open-mindedness of future teachers to use various teaching strategies

Paper #10291: Developing Interest Bleeding Edge STEM Fields like Cybersecurity

Principal Author: Mike Borowczak, University of Wyoming
Co-Authors: Andrea C. Burrows, University of Wyoming


How can we develop K12 teacher and student interest in bleeding edge STEM fields that did not even exist five years ago? This work leverages existing best known pedagoical methods in K12 curriculum to expose collegiate STEM majors to a STEM field that has only recently become a hot-field – Cybersecurity! This work leverages K12 classroom and PD experiences to implement a collegiate authentic science experience. The adoption of “new” and “untested” pedagogical approaches within collegiate classrooms discounts one critical fact – the approaches are anything but new and a trove of data and lessons learned is available at our fingertips. The work in K12 classrooms and professional development is often ignored rather than leveraged as a force multiplier as a starting point in collegiate level learning contexts. For example, a significant amount of research exists in the efficiency and applicability of authentic inquiry for K12 student and teacher content knowledge gains and self-efficacy – at the collegiate level we can extend the scope and complexity of these experiences to mirror the reality that our students will experience post-graduation. This work focuses on the impact of an authentic, unguided, open-ended, unconstrained, and self-selected eight week mini-group project within an introductory cybersecurity course of 33 students. Ultimately, this work found that 1) self-selected groups remain diverse in scope almost perfect balance of application and research oriented projects, 2) group size is a factor of project type with application project teams about the double the average size of research oriented groups, and 3) there is a disconnect between self-identified project proposal goals and actual delivered products with predicted to actual accuracy ranging from 50-75%.

Paper #10290: Extracurricular programming: Increasing access to appropriately challenging STEM opportunities for high-achieving students in economically disadvantaged rural communities

Principal Author: Lori M. Ihrig, University of Iowa
Co-Authors: Erin M. D.. Lane, University of Iowa; Duhita Mahatmya, University of Iowa


Participation in extracurricular STEM programs has the potential to positively impact children’s STEM understanding and reach underserved populations (Afterschool Alliance, 2014; Center for Advancement of Informal Science Education [CAISE], 2015). To maintain student participation, extracurricular STEM programming must be appealing, respond to students’ interests and needs, and make connections (CAISE, 2015; National Research Council [NRC], 2015). However, the research concerning programming features linked to specific academic and psychosocial outcomes for students and teachers in extracurricular STEM learning environments is under  developed. The research on the characteristics and outcomes of extracurricular STEM learning environments for underserved rural populations is even more sparse (CAISE, 2015; NRC, 2015). This research project aimed to study extracurricular STEM learning opportunities for economically disadvantaged, high-achieving rural students. In economically-disadvantaged, rural schools, high-achieving students frequently do not have access to the advanced coursework necessary to pursue STEM educational and employment goals at the highest levels. This difference in opportunity likely contributes to the excellence gap—where under-resourced students less likely to reach advanced levels of achievement than their peers who are in more economically stable communities. Extracurricular STEM programming offers one pathway to develop talent in rural students through appropriately challenging and engaging curriculum. This study used concurrent triangulation mixed methods research design, to evaluate the experiences of rural high-achieving students, and their teachers, while they participated in an extracurricular STEM talent development program. Findings suggest that students and teachers expressed satisfaction with program participation. Teachers and students also reported thinking more creatively and critically about their work. Results also showed that students’ perceptions of the mathematics and science activities were significantly different. This result informs ways to improve programming for future high-achieving, rural students. These findings expand the literature supporting the use of informal STEM education environments for underserved gifted populations to increase engagement in and access to challenging curricula.

Paper #10289: The Effectiveness of an Asynchronous Online Module on University Students’ Understanding of the Bohr Model of the Hydrogen Atom

Principal Author: William J. Farina, Jr, Lehigh University
Co-Authors: Alec M. Bodzin, Lehigh University


Web-based learning is a growing field in education, yet empirical research into the design of high quality Web-based university science instruction is scarce. A one-week asynchronous online module on the Bohr Model of the atom was developed and implemented guided by the Knowledge Integration (KI) framework. The unit design aligned with three identified metaprinciples of science learning: making science accessible, making thinking visible, and promoting autonomy. We demonstrate methods of online instruction pertinent to the KI framework and maintaining the design principles throughout the implementation. Students in an introductory chemistry course at a large east coast university completed either an online module or traditional classroom instruction. Data from 99 students were analyzed and results showed significant knowledge growth in both online and traditional formats. No significant difference was noted between the online and traditional groups.  For the online learning group, findings revealed positive student perceptions of their learning experiences, highly positive feedback for online science learning, and an interest amongst students to learn chemistry within an online environment.

Paper #16033: Learning inquire-based science teaching practices assisted by a web-based professional development platform.

Principal Author: Ryan D. Gamm, Wittenberg University


This study investigated how pre-service science teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs were impacted by engaging in videotaping, analyzing, and discussing their own teaching in field experiences with their professors, clinical faculty and their peers when using the Edthena professional development platform, while learning to teach utilizing inquiry oriented methods.


Paper #10288: SLDS Research to Understand the Planned, Delivered, and Received Curricula: Finding Gaps in the Data

Principal Author: Ryan M. Walker, Mississippi State University
Co-Authors: Shana Lee, Mississippi State University; Gabriel A. Posadas, Mississippi State University; Aressa Coley, Mississippi State University; Christina McDaniel, Bradley University




     To better understand how curricular elements influenced one another along the K-20 path, the comprehensive Mississippi State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) was employed to model an authentic method for assessing school accountability. This system allowed researchers to link the student records of Mississippi public high school graduates to their postsecondary training records at both community colleges and institutions of higher learning within the state. With the need to better understand how different curricular elements of the K-12 experience could influence students’ outcomes, rigorous evaluations of 1) coursework taken; 2) student, teacher and school characteristics; and 3) student outcomes including the use of both standardized assessment scores and authentic measures were conducted. This research primarily focused on the components of a program of study that are aligned to desired career outcomes and used backwards design methods to map a curriculum from the end to the beginning to determine the ideal collection of courses and interventions that lead to more successful outcomes for our students. The SLDS is a powerful tool for researchers to explore complex social issues related to education and workforce development, however, a gap exists within the data itself. In order to continue developing our understanding of curricula elements of the K-20 STEM pipeline, micro-level data from the IHL systems is needed.

Paper #16032: Federal Resources for STEM and Cybersecurity Education

Principal Author: Daniel Stein, Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity Education and Awareness


STEM education is not only about learning the concepts related to science, technology, engineering, and math—but also about the processes involved to uncover facts, form analyses, and draw conclusions. How can we encourage students to actively engage and learn these thinking and problem-solving processes, and empower them to enter the workforce as ready professionals?


The Department of Homeland Security has teamed up with the Cyber Innovation Center (CIC) to offer project-driven, application-based curricula that is easily adaptable and can be integrated into current STEM and education standards. The curricula offer rigorous learning opportunities that are highly engaging and hands-on, to help students build aptitude in problem-solving and analytical skills. DHS recognizes that a common hurdle in the workforce, especially in cybersecurity, is a declining student interest in STEM and lack of exposure to cyber-related concepts. By investing in a long-term solution to grow interest and aptitude in the cyber-related field, educators can address the growing epidemic of lack of engagement and interest, while helping students to deepen their understanding of STEM and cyber fundamentals.

Paper #10287: Unique Partnerships: Pre-service Secondary Science Teachers and Practicing Early Childhood Teachers Collaborate on Integrated STEM Lessons

Principal Author: Stephanie Fanselow, University of Northern Colorado


Early childhood science education is often limited by time and material constraints as well as by teachers’ lack of confidence in and experience with science instruction. At the other end of the spectrum, secondary science teachers typically have little experience with early childhood education and cannot assist their elementary colleagues in any meaningful way. Therefore, unique partnerships were created between pre-service secondary science teachers and practicing early childhood teachers to collaboratively develop and implement interactive integrated STEM lessons for elementary classrooms. The pre-service science teachers provided the STEM content expertise while the practicing early childhood teachers provided pedagogical expertise and access to students. Initial results have been very positive: elementary students have been engaged in additional interactive science lessons and have shown excitement for STEM, practicing early childhood teachers gained experience in teaching science, and pre-service secondary teachers gained an appreciation for early childhood education and experience in developing integrated STEM lessons. This presentation will provide an overview of our experiences with these unique partnerships for the past 3 semesters as well as the processes involved in developing the integrated STEM lessons. Future plans for this program as well as how collaborative partnerships might potentially benefit your programs will be discussed.

Paper #13017: Hands-on Interdisciplinary Learning for a Changing Planet

Principal Author: Amanda Clark, Chipola College


Scientists are now referring to our current geological age as “The Anthropocene” to emphasize the impact that humans have had on the land, seas, climate and wildlife over the past 200 years. Teaching about the Anthropocene integrates life sciences with world history, geography, and mathematical modeling, making for interdisciplinary lessons rich in content, real-world data and problem-solving challenges. In this hands-on session, the presenter will provide a contextual framework for emphasizing environmental education in science methods courses. She will reference how this goal aligns with the practices and cross-cutting concepts in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), statewide initiatives to implement Environmental Literacy Plans (ELPs) and the promotion of 21st Century Skills. Much of the session will be spent introducing participants to constructivist, inquiry-based lessons that pre-service teachers can use to integrate subject content and skills around environmental themes. The presented activities build knowledge and skills in life and social sciences, while applying learning to authentic problems. Within the timeframe for sharing activities, the presenter will have participants work in small groups, modeling how they would present these activities in their pre-service methods classes. The presenter will engage participants in discussion on how best to incorporate these activities into science methods courses for different grade levels and how to provide guidance to students on differentiating these lessons for different kinds of learners in their own classrooms.

Paper #10286: Rigorous Investigations of Relevant Issues: A Professional Development Supporting Teacher Design of Socio-Scientific Issue Units

Principal Author: Amanda Peel, University of Missouri
Co-Authors: Troy D. Sadler, University of Missouri; Patricia Friedrichsen, University of Missouri


The benefits of SSI instruction have been widely documented in science education literature and include gains in the understanding of science content scientific argumentation, and epistemological beliefs about science. Although the student benefits of SSI in the classroom have been established, there is a literature gap pertaining to teacher preparation and support for SSI teaching and learning and the design of SSI units. In order for successful and meaningful SSI incorporation in science classrooms, teachers need PD experiences that provide them with support for understanding the complexities associated with SSI teaching and learning. Additionally, teachers need explicit examples of SSI teaching and learning to scaffold their instructional techniques when it comes to incorporating new ideas in science classrooms, such as media literacy, informed decision-making, and highlighting social connections to an issue. 

As such, our team designed and implemented a PD program with explicit examples and design tools to support teachers as they engaged in learning about SSI teaching and learning. Additionally, our PD program supported teachers as they designed their own SSI units for implementation in their classrooms. We describe our professional development process for supporting in-service secondary biology, chemistry, and environmental science teachers as they learned about SSI instruction and designed their SSI units. The goal of producing SSI units was met because every design team was able to select an issue and complete design of a unit. Overall, teacher reactions to the PD experience were positive. Teachers felt they benefitted the most from the various unit examples and the issue selection guide. Teachers identified selecting an issue as the most challenging aspect of designing an SSI unit, and they struggled with developing detailed lesson and unit plans for other teachers to use. After the PD teachers identified their comfort with SSI and Science Practices increased. This work describes a PD process for supporting teachers in SSI teaching and learning.

Paper #10285: Elementary Preservice Teachers’ Authentic Inquiry Experiences and Reflections: A Multi-Case Study

Principal Author: Mahsa Kazempour, Penn State University (Berks campus)


The current study aimed to provide elementary preservice teachers an opportunity to engage in an authentic inquiry experience that shifts the focus from the ‘hypothesis testing’ model of inquiry to one that more accurately and completely reflects the process of scientific inquiry in its entirety. The aim of this qualitative case study was to explore four preservice teachers’ experiences and interpretations of these experiences during their independent inquiry journey, their understanding of the process of science as experienced during the inquiry project, and their perceptions of the implications of their inquiry experiences and willingness to implement an inquiry approach. The findings of this study highlight elementary PSTs’ inquiry experiences and their perceptions of the process of science. The participants experienced the fluid and cyclical nature of scientific inquiry, the significance of gathering and interpreting evidence, as well as other essential elements of the process such as connection to society, collaboration and communication with other scientists, and the importance of questioning in driving inquiry. Their reflections suggested an enhanced and accurate understanding of the process of scientific inquiry and a greater willingness and sense of preparedness in incorporating authentic inquiry experiences and teaching through inquiry in their future classrooms.

Paper #10284: A Curriculum-linked Professional Development Approach to Support Teachers’ Adoption of Socio-Environmental Science Investigations

Principal Author: Alec Bodzin, Lehigh University
Co-Authors: Thomas Hammond, Lehigh University; Kate Popejoy, Popejoy STEM LLC; William Farina, Lehigh University; David Anastasio, Lehigh University; Breena Holland, Lehigh University; James Carrigan, Lehigh University; Scott Rutzmoser, Lehigh University; Dork Sahagian, Lehigh University


Many teachers have not had professional development experiences that foster sufficient geospatial pedagogical content knowledge to implement science curriculum using geospatial technologies that promote science learning and the development of geospatial thinking skills. To address this, we have developed and implemented an approach to promote teachers’ professional growth with curriculum-linked professional development to support the adoption of novel socio-environmental science investigations (SESI) using a geospatial curriculum approach.  SESI are based on the pedagogical frameworks of place-based education, socioscientific issues-based instruction, and citizen science.  Our curriculum development follows a design partnership model and focuses on collaborative design and implementation of curriculum in keeping with models of school-based reform. Four teachers in an urban high school participated during the first year of this design, development, and curriculum implementation process.  Three SESI investigations were developed and the prototype versions were implemented during the last eight weeks of the 2016-2017 school year with 150 ninth grade students.  To examine teachers’ growth in their geospatial science pedagogical content knowledge, we administered the Geospatial Science-Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (GS-TPACK) instrument to all participating teachers at the beginning and end of the school year.  The participating teachers also completed a questionnaire designed to analyze the perceived impact of the professional development to support their geospatial pedagogical content knowledge related to teaching the SESI investigations.  Findings from the GS-TPACK instrument revealed growth in teachers’ geospatial technology use, geospatial technology content knowledge, and geospatial technology pedagogical content knowledge.  In response to the questionnaire items, the teachers all discussed how the geospatial technologies have aided their ability to implement spatial thinking into their classroom environments and teaching methods. 

Paper #10283: Environmental Topics in Physics by Inquiry Course: Integration Models Used by Physics Teachers

Principal Author: David Kimori, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Co-Authors: Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota; Bhaskar Upadhyay, University of Minnesota


As we approach the second quarter of the twenty-first century, one may predict that the environment will be among the dominant themes in the political and educational discourse. Over the past three decades, particular perspectives regarding the environment have begun to emerge: (i) realization by human beings that we not only live on earth and use its resources at an increasingly high rate but we also actually belong to the earth and the total ecology of all living systems, (ii) there are strong interactions among different components of the large and complex systems that make up our environment, and (iii) the rising human population and its impact on the environment is a great concern (Hughes & Mason, 2014). Studies have revealed that although the students do not have a deep understanding of environmental issues and lack environmental awareness and attitudes necessary for protecting the environment, they have great concern for the environment (Chapman & Sharma, 2001; Fien, Yencken, & Sykes, 2002). However, addressing environmental issues in the classroom and other disciplines has never been an easy job for teachers (Pennock & Bardwell, 1994; Edelson, 2007).

Using multiple case studies, this study investigated how three purposefully selected physics teachers teaching a ‘Physics by Inquiry’ course integrated environmental topics and issues in their classroom. Particularly this study looked at what integration models and practices the three physics teachers employed in integrating environmental topics and issues in their classroom. Data collection methods including field notes taken from observations, teachers’ interviews and a collection of artifacts and documents were used. The data were coded analyzed and organized into codes and categories guided by Fogarty (1991) models of curriculum integration. Findings of this study indicate that teachers acknowledge the importance of teaching environmental issues in their classrooms but continue to struggle with effective integration strategies and models.

Paper #10282: Academic and Practical Knowledge Gains Reported by Pre-Service Teachers in a Third Space Methods Course

Principal Author: Matthew E. Vick, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater


This paper presentation will disseminate the results of a pre-service teacher survey at the end of a third space methods course.  Zeichner (2010) defined a third space of teacher education as addressing both academic knowledge from the university (traditionally taught in methods and pedagogy courses) and practical knowledge from K-12 schools (traditionally learned in field experiences and student teaching).  One possibility of a third space is a methods course taught in a K-12 school in which pedagogy instruction occurs and field-based work is also integrated.  The course for this paper presentation occurred in a local elementary school for general education preservice teachers certified for grades 1-8.  It was conducted over 15 weeks, one day a week for 150 minutes.


The pedagogical instruction included model lessons demonstrating an inquiry-based approach and Bybee’s (1997) 5E method.  Strategies from the NSTA book Teaching for Conceptual Change in Science (Konicek-Moran & Keeley, 2015) are also emphasized.  The three-dimensional learning of the Next Generation Science Standards is a key component.  Most of the instruction occurs through online modules.


The practical portion of the methods course involves weekly interaction with a mentor K-6 elementary teacher.  The pre-service teachers plan and conduct lessons in the same elementary classroom each week.  Mentor teachers give some feedback to the pre-service teachers.  The mentor teacher assigns the topic for the lessons.


After the semester, students were asked to share three items in terms of academic knowledge and three items of practical knowledge that they learned.  In terms of academic knowledge gained, pre-service teachers’ responses fell into eight categories:  addressing misconceptions, using assessment, conceptual change, using inquiry, instructional strategies, the NGSS, planning, and preparation.  In terms of practical knowledge gained, seven categories were uncovered:  classroom management, giving good explanations, giving feedback, using inquiry, showing patience, questioning techniques, and motivating elementary students.


Paper #10281: 21st Century Learning Design in STEM Lessons: Shifting to Student Responsibility for Learning

Principal Author: Stephanie M. Stehle, George Mason University
Co-Authors: Erin E. Peters-Burton, George Mason University


Backed by the 2010 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, STEM-focused schools are on the rise. These type of schools foster 21st Century skills by encouraging student-centered learning in authentic contexts. Using data collected during the Opportunity Structures for Preparation and Inspiration (OSPrI) project, lesson plans and student work from eight exemplar Inclusive STEM-Focused High Schools were assessed on level of collaboration, knowledge construction, self-regulation, real-world problem-solving and innovation, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT), and skilled communication using Microsoft Partners’ 21st Century Learning Design Rubrics. This analysis gave insight into how responsibility for learning is being shifted to the students in these STEM schools. Results of the analysis, including the differences found in short-term and long-term projects will be discussed. In addition, there will be a discussion on how small, simple changes to a lesson plan can increase responsibility for learning for students.

Paper #10280: Children’s Ideas about Adaptation

Principal Author: Lisa A. Borgerding, Kent State University
Co-Authors: Fatma Kaya, Kent State University


The Next Generation Science Standards treat biological adaptation as a disciplinary core idea, but various science educators recommend its introduction at different ages.  The concept of biological adaptation elicits children’s reasoning about organisms, their environments, and the relationship between organisms and their environments.  Important types of reasoning include teleology (organismal features serve a purpose), essentialism (organisms have features because they belong to a type), and anthropomorphism (organisms, like humans, consciously and intentionally possess particular features).  The purpose of this study was to examine how preschool children aged three through six enrolled at a week-long summer science camp reasoned about different organisms’ features across different biomes.  A total of 48 children across two iterations of the camp served as the sample.  Data collection consisted of collected work, sticker-sorting assessments, and individual post-camp interviews with the children.  Data analysis included scoring children’s sticker placements and coding their reasons for placing particular organisms in particular environments.  The results reveal age-, biome-, and organism-related trends in both ability to correctly place organisms in their respective environments and their reasons for their placements.  Results are discussed in terms of the prevalence of teleological thinking in young children as well as children’s adherence to particular heuristics (e.g. “birds live in trees”).  Implications for pre- and in-service teacher education as well as curriculum development are provided.

Paper #11046: Educational Technology in Top-Tier Science Education Research: A Literature Review

Principal Author: Demetrice Smith-Mutegi, Morgan State University


Access, implementation, and teacher attitudes about technology in the classroom have increased in recent years. While numerous reports (Purcell, Heaps, Buchanan, & Friedrich, 2013; CompTIA, n.d.; Schacter, 1999 ) cite the impact of technology broadly, there are limited reports dedicated to exploring the impact of technology implementation in science courses. This review examines the technology tools implemented in formal and informal K-12 science settings published in top-tier science journals from 2010 to 2016. Findings include the most commonly studied technology tools in physical science, life science, and earth/space science disciplines, as well as their reported impacts on student achievement, dispositions, and behaviors. While challenges are evident, technology integration in the teaching and learning of science across disciplines has made many significant positive impacts.

Paper #10279: Project ReCharge: Results and correlations surrounding student achievement and interest in STEM

Principal Author: Catherine Pozarski Connolly, University of Nevada, Reno
Co-Authors: David T.. Crowther, University of Nevada, Reno



The connection between strong teaching in science education and student achievement has been supported many times. This research takes an additional step by researching how professional development affects a teacher’s ability to teach science to middle and high school students and how student interests are affected. Additional research supporting a positive correlation between student achievement and STEM interests also lends support to the need for strong professional development. Students who are more interested in pursuing a career in the middle school years are more likely to continue those ambitions throughout high school and higher education, ultimately pursuing a career in STEM areas.

This research is part of an NSF ITEST focusing on energy and energy consumption utilizing real time data collection hardware and software installed at the school sites to analyze energy loads and make proposals to save their schools 10% of energy bills. A five unit curriculum focusing on energy basics, electrical generation, utilities, and real time data collection lead to students ultimately creating proposals that are presented to the governor’s office. Five projects have been funded at this point allowing students to monitor the changes they have made in their school sites and monitor the actual energy savings.

Students took a content test and a STEM interest survey in a pretest/posttest format and were analyzed using a paired samples t-test as well as correlated to show the relationship between interests and achievement. Mixed results from year two to year three of the grant required further analysis, leading to teacher focus groups to determine why year two students showed a stronger positive correlation, whereas year three showed no correlation. The focus groups provided evidence suggesting the professional development in year three was not adequate leading to poor implementation of the curriculum and lower student interests as a result.

Paper #10278: Preservice Science Teacher Field Experiences at a Science Museum: Communication Skills

Principal Author: Karen E.. Irving, Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Wahyu Setioko, Ohio State University


This study investigated how an informal science teaching experience at a science museum changes preservice science teachers’ communication skills in teaching science. Such skills are important to support teachers’ pedagogy, classroom management and positive learning environments in science classrooms. Video recordings, field observations, individual interviews, and focus group discussions were conducted to document changes in the teachers’ performances when presenting science to visitors as well as to investigate elements of the experience that contributed to these changes and teachers’ learning. Communication skills’ analysis focused on verbal language dimensions and teaching style dimensions. Findings showed that a majority of the teachers showed improvements in their communication skills. The experience influenced the teachers to provide contextual examples in explaining science, to communicate more effectively using fewer filler words, to adjust the amount of technical words based on visitors’ characteristics, to engage visitors with more constructive open-ended questions and more elaborative feedback, and to use more Initiation-Response-Follow up (IRF) patterns at the end of the experience. The dynamic nature of their interactions with museum visitors, the informal learning environment, and support from museum educators contributed the most to the teachers’ growth. They also reported gains in science content knowledge and self-efficacy. Results of this study are useful for science educators to design effective collaborations between university and science museums for advancing science teacher education.

Paper #16031: Addressing Climate Change in a Hot Political Climate

Principal Author: Bridget T. Miller, University of South Carolina


The scientific community agrees that Earth’s climate is changing and continues to change. This change in climate will impact ecosystems and ways of life around the world. As educators, it’s not only important to educate students on the topic of climate change, but it’s imperative that educators prepare scientifically literate citizens. Today’s political climate may make the topic of climate change a “hot button” in many communities. What are ways that you can present information with scientific and engineering practices to students addressing this pressing issue? Should educators take into account the political climate of the community when addressing climate change with students? If so how? This is a round table discussion on pedagogy, resources, and approaches on how to present the topic of climate change in todays politically charged environment. Come share success and failures you have encountered when addressing the pressing issue of climate change with your students.

Paper #10277: The Use of Action Research to Change Secondary Science Teacher Practice through Reflection

Principal Author: Rita Hagevik, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke


Action research is increasingly seen as beneficial to school improvement. Therefore, teachers should not only have instruction in conducting action research but be engaged in action research projects. Through two courses, one taught in the College of Education and one taught in Science Education, secondary science education teacher candidates identify their topic, select the subject(s) with whom they will work, research the literature on the problem identified with emphasis on the cause of the problem and how to address it, and develop a timeline on how and when the project will be carried out. During their student teaching or internship semester, candidates carry out their project and write their action research papers. A culminating experience is the presentation of their findings to their peers (and sometimes to the teachers where they are interning).

The twenty secondary science candidates involved in this action research experience were in a Masters of Arts in Comprehensive Secondary Science Teaching at the University over the past four years. How these candidates viewed their total experiences, as reported in a follow-up survey at the end of the year, revealed the unique benefits the candidates received in the total action research experience. Candidates reported values in “…planning an intervention and monitoring it myself while teaching,” “…researching journal articles to plan an intervention…”, “…helping individualize instruction and working one-on-one with a student…”, and “…knowing that you can research a topic and track progress of students in the classroom…”, among others. Additional data collected included collaborative discussions, final written documents, and presentations. The data revealed that conducting action research (a) engaged them in inquiry into their own practice, (b) was a means to reflect upon and determine ways to change their teaching practices, and (c) promoted critical reflection in a collaborative learning environment. Results underscore the importance of secondary science teachers critically reflecting to gain insights into teaching and student learning as they are engaged in action research. Requiring action research has indeed resulted in helping these candidates become more reflective practitioners.

Paper #11045: An Exploratory Study of Video-based Coaching and a Virtual Community of Practice on a Beginning Science Teacher

Principal Author: Justin McFadden, University of Louisville


This study aimed to better understand how a beginning science teacher enacted the reform agenda set forth in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013) with a particular emphasis on teacher implementation of, and student engagement in science/engineering practices. Paired with a video-based, classroom embedded coaching program, the study explored the influence and impact of a virtual community of practice (Barab, et al., 2003) on teacher learning and understanding of proposed changes to classroom instruction. The study utilized a qualitative case study design (Merriam, 2015) and constructed grounded theory during analysis (Charmaz, 2006). Preliminary finding indicated video-based coaching failed to be recognized and utilized as a tool worthy of use due to a variety of teacher beliefs that emerged during and after data collection.

Paper #10276: Exploring how Online Collaborative Technologies Can Support Co-Construction of Culturally-Specific Curricular Resources in STEM

Principal Author: Meredith W. Kier, College of William and Mary
Co-Authors: Deena Khalil, Howard University


Engineering provides an opportunity for K-12 students to apply science and mathematics in ways that can solve real world challenges (NGSS, 2013).  However, many mathematics and science teachers need support with learning how to personalize and connect engineering processes with content standards and making it relevant to their students and to careers that they may pursue in the future. A virtual community of practice (VCoP, Hibbert, 2008) can bring science and mathematics teachers together with professional stakeholders to contextualize STEM content in local and relevant applications.  Online collaborative tools can support teachers to connect with their students and to stakeholders in an effort to co-construct culturally specific engineering design challenges (EDCs).  Through this descriptive study, we examine how two teachers (an eighth-grade science teacher and an eighth-grade integrated STEM teacher) and local engineers (a medical physicist and a biomedical engineer), who are part of a larger professional development initiative, used collaborative online tools to ideate connections between students, social justice issues, their own experiences and content standards to create EDCs for urban, middle school students.  We found that teachers were inspired by contextualizing EDCs around students’ interests and that the process of using collaborative mind-mapping tools helped teachers to research and visually represent how students connect to content and engineering.  The nature of the VCoP and the act of co-constructing mindmaps online afforded teachers and engineers the ability to rapidly communicate, share, and ideate ideas that illustrated content in culturally-specific ways that were directly relevant to students. We provide implications for university STEM educators to support virtual communities of practice that bring together STEM teachers and community stakeholders.

Paper #10275: Exploring Computational Thinking with Pre-service Science Teachers

Principal Author: Amanda Peel, University of Missouri
Co-Authors: Patricia Friedrichsen, University of Missouri


NGSS calls for incorporating computational thinking (CT) into science classrooms as a science and engineering practice.  As a whole, teachers are not prepared to incorporate CT into science classrooms due to lack of CT curricula and CT learning opportunities.  This exploratory study investigates pre-service teacher (PST) learning about CT and sense-making with CT.  The study provides examples of CT activities integrated into PST education and how PSTs engage with CT to make sense of the teaching process.  Throughout the secondary science methods course, PSTs learned about CT concepts and engaged in CT practices by creating algorithms (sequences of steps) of the teaching process.  At the end of the semester, PSTs evaluated their pre-algorithms and recreated post-algorithms incorporating their new knowledge of CT and the teaching process.  The process of creating, evaluating, and adjusting algorithms of the teaching process allowed PSTs to make sense of the teaching process through CT, indicating CT is a powerful sense-making tool.  

PSTs’ pre- and post-algorithms changed in terms of their process of teaching concepts. Post-algorithms included NGSS connections and 3-D learning with performance expectations (PEs), crosscutting concepts (CCCs), and science practices.  PSTs’ post-algorithms also included strategies for teaching diverse student populations. Post-algorithms reflected the course content, and focused greatly on backwards design by creating 3D learning targets, designing assessments, and then designing individual lessons.  PSTs’ algorithms also increased in the number of CT concepts explicitly used from pre- to post-algorithms.  Almost all of the PSTs’ pre-algorithms were linear in nature, while their post-algorithms included more complex structures, indicating an increase in algorithm sophistication. While students increased in the subject matter knowledge about CT, they lacked sufficient pedagogical content knowledge about CT.  The course focused on increasing understanding of CT, but did not include many examples of science lessons with CT.  An implication for PST CT education is PSTs need explicit examples of CT lessons within their content area.  PSTs also need opportunities to apply CT to their own content by designing lessons.  This work indicates using CT as a sense-making tool in a PST methods course helped PSTs learn CT subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge about the process of teaching.

Paper #10274: Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics: Connections to Preparing Teachers of Science

Principal Author: Christine Browning, Western Michigan University


The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) has put forward a vision of initial teacher preparation for Pre-K-12 teachers of mathematics in their recently released Standards for Preparing Teachers of Mathematics [SPTM] (2017). The SPTM describes what a well-prepared beginning teacher would need with respect to knowledge, skills, and dispositions, and the program characteristics that will support the development of the needed knowledge, skills and dispositions of the teacher candidates. Further, these standards are intended to:

  • guide the improvement of individual teacher preparation programs, 

  • inform the accreditation process of such programs, 

  • influence policies related to preparation of teachers of mathematics, and 

  • promote national dialogue and action related to preparation of teachers of mathematics. 

Mathematics is clearly a tool used in science and engineering investigations, highlighting the STEM connections. Thus it is worth considering how these standards for preparing teachers of mathematics have potential connections with the preparation of Pre-K-12 teachers of science, hoping to further promote the natural connections between these topics during teacher preparation programs.  

This session will share standards and indicators from SPTM that could overlap and/or connect with the National Science Teachers Association [NSTA] (2012) Standards for Science Teacher Preparation, promoting a continued dialogue between those who prepare and provide professional development for teachers of science with those who do this same work with teachers of mathematics.

Paper #16030: The Work and Process of Doctoral Student Preparation for Research in Teacher Education

Principal Author: Felicia M. Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: James Barron, Teachers College, Columbia University; Anna Beck, Teachers College, Columbia University; Allison Bookbinder, Teachers College, Columbia University; William Davis, Teachers College, Columbia University; Alyssa Getzel, Teachers College, Columbia University; Kristina Hopkins, Teachers College, Columbia University; Xiaoxin Lyu, Teachers College, Columbia University


This interactive session merges the traditional paper format within a slightly modified roundtable structure. In this session, doctoral students from two courses present initial works in this interactive symposium. The courses are Critical Voices in Teacher Education and Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods in Science Education. Both courses are taught early in the doctoral preparation program to provide opportunities for conducting pilot studies that will support doctoral dissertation work as they progress in their programs of study. For attendees to the session, you will have an opportunity to visit two roundtables (for 20 minutes each) and interact with the researchers about their work. The doctoral students in this session have varied research interests and come from three different academic programs of study across the institution. The topics cover broad areas of curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher education. The specific topics of research include: father-daughter dyads in support of science learning; multicultural and social justice education in pre- and in-service science teacher education; perceptions of the NGSS and NOS with practicing teachers; conceptions of teaching with a high school student; teaching the NOS through neuroscience; preservice teachers’ understanding of cross-cutting concepts; popular culture and mainstream STEM images on Black girls; and challenges of female students of color in learning chemistry. In the closing, the organizer will present an outline of the models used in developing emerging academic researchers in the two courses. Faculty may use these models, practical tips, and strategies to support doctoral students as academic researchers and writers and to facilitate the development of a community of emergent researchers at their institutions. Overall, the session offers a new format and approach through an interactive roundtable for doctoral students to present their work and a syllabus share for faculty. There must be deliberate attention for doctoral student preparation as researchers through collaboration, mentoring, and advisement.

Paper #13016: Creating Next Generation Science Standards-Based Experiences for Future Science Teachers

Principal Author: Lisa M. Martin-Hansen, California State University, Long Beach
Co-Authors: Julie Luft, University of Georgia; Deborah Hanuscin, Western Washington University; John Tillotson, Syracuse; Joanne Olson, Texas A&M; Michael Clough, Texas A&M


With the advent of the Next Generation Science Standards, professionals who teach teachers are examining their content and practices as they teach science teachers (Bybee, 2014).  We must determine what needs to be revised, retooled, or simply re-conceptualized. Even though some states (and countries other than the U.S.) are not NGSS-adopted entities, we are all working toward improvements in science teaching and learning. This session provides space for a dialogue with former ASTE Teaching Award winners who will facilitate an experiential session about different models for reforming or realigning teacher preparation programs in light of new emphases in science education. 


We invite ASTE conference participants to share their ideas and experiences in how they are addressing NGSS in the following areas:  1) content courses (elementary/secondary/college), 2) methods courses, and 3) field experiences.  We will have past recipients of the ASTE Teaching Award who will facilitate each of the strands within this experiential session. 


Paper #10273: Investigating Teacher PLCs in support of an After-School STEM Club: A Comparative Case Study

Principal Author: Kylie J. Hoyle, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Co-Authors: Margaret R. Blanchard, North Carolina State University


Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) have been initiated in school systems and other educational settings with the goal of enhancing student outcomes.  Studies focused on PLCs suggest that PLCs contribute to positive outcomes, not only for students, but also for teachers – and can aid in supporting educational initiatives.  However, the role of a PLC has yet to be investigated in connection to an after-school STEM program.  In this comparative case study, Teacher-Coaches (T-Coaches) from two rural middle schools in the southeastern United States (U.S.) participated a novel version of a PLC, in which teacher professional development sessions and pre-club (PLC) meetings prepared them to lead after-school STEM Club meetings.  This study investigated how T-Coach teams interacted during PLCs to plan STEM Club activities, and then to implement them in after-school STEM Career Clubs at their middle school.  The community of practice (CoP) social learning framework (enterprise, mutuality, and repertoire) was used to gain an understanding of how T-Coaches interacted in their PLCs, based on audio recordings of PLC planning meetings. Additionally, field notes taken during STEM Club meetings were used to code the Dimensions of Success (DoS) observation tool in order to document how STEM Clubs were carried out.  Results indicate that in each case, the clubs’ teachers interacted positively during PLC meetings.  However, in one of the club’s PLCs, Southern Middle School, the T-Coaches interacted in ways that demonstrated higher and more equivalent levels of enterprise, mutuality, and repertoire.  The DoS ratings for the STEM Clubs at Southern Middle School were higher in nearly all twelve scored dimensions. These findings indicate that all aspects of the CoP social learning characteristics were important in supporting STEM Club implementation.


Principal Author: Rajika E. Reed, Lehigh University
Co-Authors: Alec M. Bodzin, Lehigh University


Geospatial thinking and reasoning skills (GSTR) are currently not routinely integrated into public health curriculum for undergraduate students in institutions of higher education.  However, integrating GSTR skills into curriculum has been shown to increase spatial thinking skills which leads to better cognitive thinking and problem solving skills.  An Examining Vector Borne Disease Transmission (EVBDT) curriculum unit was developed using the geospatial curriculum approach to investigate malaria, dengue fever and zika disease patterns and spread in relation to the environment and to promote GSTR.  The purpose of this design based research study was to understand public health content learning and GSTR skill acquisition with undergraduate learners through use of the geospatial curriculum approach.  The undergraduate students who participated in this study (n = 95) were enrolled in public health content classes at two separate institutions.  Data was collected for this study using a classroom observation instrument, pre-test and post-test measures for the Spatial Habits of the Mind (SHOM) survey, a pre-test, post-test 1 and delayed post-test 2 EVBDT assessment that included public health content and GSTR skill items, as well as a post implementation survey to understand students’ perceptions of GIS use in the curriculum.  Findings demonstrated significant mean differences showing growth in public health content learning and GSTR skills. Three GSTR subscales – inferences, relationships, and reasoning – resulted in significant gains.  Additionally, results revealed complete adherence to the design principles of the geospatial curriculum approach during implementation.  The findings provide support that Web GIS with appropriate curriculum design can engage students and impact both learning outcomes and geospatial thinking and reasoning skills in public health education. Professional development implications for higher education STEM-related faculty are discussed.

Paper #10271: Sunrise Science: How the Introduction of a unique field experience challenged what pre-service teachers thought about learning and engagement.

Principal Author: Kimberly Murie, John Brown University


The field experience is incredibly important in preparing effective teachers. Providing an opportunity for pre-service teachers to practice in an authentic environment can increase their efficacy and ability to blend pedagogy and content. However creating quality field experiences can be challenging. Often even with strong local K-12 school support challenges can arise. It was such a challenge in scheduling that led one institution to create an opportunity before school for early arrival students to be provided enrichment in science and also allow pre-service teachers an opportunity for authentic interaction with third and fourth grade elementary students. Through this teaching experience and contrasting it with the experience they also had in the traditional classroom, pre-service teachers were able to re-examine their original thoughts on how students learn and what it means to provide an effective lesson that will not only engage students but also accurately assess their learning.

Paper #10270: The NGSS and the Historical Direction of Science Education Reform

Principal Author: Rudolf V.. Kraus, Rhode Island College
Co-Authors: Lesley J.. Shapiro, Northeastern University


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) claim to be an evolution of previous work (National Research Council [NRC], 2012). Yet prominent voices in the science education community argue that the NGSS represent a radical departure from previous work (Bybee, 2014; Pruitt, 2015; Yager, 2015). Are the conceptual shifts in Appendix A a break from previous practice or a continuation of it? What happens when the NGSS are superimposed onto older science education curricula?

To answer our questions we conducted a textbook analysis of Interactions of Man and the Biosphere: Inquiry in Life Science (Abraham, Beidleman, Moore, Moores, & Utley, 1974). This textbook was part of a national junior high science curriculum which was field tested by more than 100,000 students in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

We examined the text paying careful attention to the student investigations to determine how they aligned with the three dimensions of the NGSS, the disciplinary core ideas (DCI), crosscutting concepts (CCC), and practices of science and engineering (PSE). Each student investigation was rated from zero to three, a design found in the EQuIP Rubric but ultimately dating back to Schwab’s levels of inquiry (1962) and the Herron Scale (1971).

Our analysis shows that alignment between the NGSS and older curricula can and does occur. Appendix A advocates that teaching science in an interconnected way is a new innovation. This is in fact, not an entirely new innovation as our data show. What the NGSS label as CCC are evident throughout the Interaction of Man and the Biosphere text and connections to other domains are highlighted. Sections of IMB ask students to develop models, carry out investigations, use mathematical thinking, and argue from evidence. While many modern textbooks focus on content there are inquiry focused textbooks which require students to engage in a three dimensional manner.

While there are important differences between IMB and the NGSS, some are the result of this curriculum’s age. Others, like the omission of engineering, represent a choice by the authors to narrow the curricular focus. However, the move to adopt the NGSS is perhaps not as revolutionary as some have made it sound, there have been historically important precursors to reform-based science teaching and recognizing this more complex history may help us to advocate better science education for all students.

Paper #10269: Elementary Teachers’ Classroom Nature of Science Instruction following PD: Results of a RCT

Principal Author: Jennifer L.. Maeng, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Randy L.. Bell, Oregon State University; Tyler St. Clair, SUNY - Potsdam; Amanda L.. Gonczi, Michigan Technological University; Brooke A.. Whitworth, University of Mississippi


This embedded mixed method study used a randomized control trial design to examine two cohorts of upper elementary teachers’ classroom implementation of nature of science (NOS) instruction following their participation in a statewide professional development (PD). The treatment group (n=145) was compared to a control group (n=90) who received no PD. The PD included a summer institute that situated explicit NOS instruction within the context of PBL. Data sources included videotaped classroom observations across four time points and teacher-generated descriptions of lessons preceding and following the observed lesson and learning objectives. Observation data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics and analyzed qualitatively for trends in participants’ classroom enactment of specific aspects of NOS. Results indicated the majority of treatment teachers (n = 97; 66.9%) accurately taught explicit NOS during the academic year following the summer institute compared to control teachers (n = 2; 2.2%);  This represents a statistically significant difference between treatment and control participants’ NOS integration, χ2 (1) = 95.2, p < .001, eta = .637. Participants most often taught about the empirical (69%) and social (63%) aspects of science. Participants’ strategies for integrating NOS varied in temporal placement within the lesson, connectedness to lesson activities, and extent of student reflection. These results demonstrate that situated PD that contextualizes explicit NOS instruction within PBL facilitated teachers’ explicit NOS instruction compared to teachers who did not receive such instruction.

Paper #11043: Teacher successes, challenges, and student attitudes related to the Science Education Against Drug Abuse Program curricula

Principal Author: Rhea L. Miles, East Carolina University


Student statements were documented by teachers and an outside evaluator after conducting investigative experiments using planaria and the substances caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or sucrose. The teachers of the students were participants of the Science Education Against Drug Abuse Program (SEADAP). One of the goals of the program was to examine student attitudes about the consequences of addictive and abused substances. This qualitative study focuses on the successes and challenges of the SEADAP curricula and student attitude shifts related to drug use.

Paper #11042: Blended Learning for Differentiation: Co-creating a Blended Science Module

Principal Author: Lauren Angelone, Xavier University


With an increase in the use of learning management systems in K-12 school districts, science teachers should learn how to make use of the technology effectively.  Blended learning is a strategy combining both face-to-face and online components that can differentiate instruction by allowing students some control of the learning experience.  

In this poster session, one such module co-created between a middle school science teacher and a researcher, will be shared.  The module was developed using the flex model of blended learning, in which students work at their own pace using the material within the LMS as the backbone of the course with the teacher monitoring progress and intervening when appropriate.  In this particular version of the flex model, students are directed to hands-on stations in the classroom.  As they reach the station, students are grouped flexibly with students of a similar pace.  

To co-create the module, the researcher created a framework within the learning management system using the 5E learning cycle as a guide.  The teacher then edited that framework, adding content and appropriate quiz questions for her students.  The module was then put into use by the teacher and edited further based on student feedback.  

Paper #10267: What Determines Inquiry Teaching Practices in High-Performing Countries?

Principal Author: Pongprapan Pongsophon, Faculty of Education, Kasetsart University
Co-Authors: Benjamin C.. Herman, Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum, College of Education, University of Missouri


This study utilizes the theory of planned behavior to propose and validate a causal model of inquiry-based teaching through analyzing data relating to high-performing countries retrieved from the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) assessments. Data analysis was completed through structural equation modeling (SEM). The result indicated the adequate fit of the full model to the empirical data.  The extent the teachers (N = 2,579) participated in academic collaborations was positively related to their occupational satisfaction, confidence in teaching inquiry, and classroom inquiry practices. The teachers’ confidence with implementing inquiry was found to be a mediator in the model. Furthermore, perceived student-generated constraints demonstrated a negative relationship with the teachers’ confidence with implementing inquiry and occupational satisfaction.  Implications from this study include supporting teachers through promoting collaborative opportunities that facilitate inquiry-based practices and occupational satisfaction. 

Paper #10266: From Theory to Practice: Pre-service Teachers’ Use of Learning Theory in the Science Classroom

Principal Author: Jennifer F. Oramous, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: Stephen Burgin, University of Arkansas


In this presentation, we will share results from a study with preservice secondary science teachers and their use of learning theory in the classroom. Using observations and student artifacts, we explored the use and types of learning theory used by our preservice science teachers during their spring internship. A typological approach defined by Hatch (2002) was used to code the data. Constructivism and Behaviorism were observed more frequently than other theories. Suggestions for improvement in preservice secondary science teachers use of learning theory in the classroom will be included.

Paper #10265: “It’s Like Christmas Morning Every Time I Teach Science”: Stories of Elementary Science Teacher Enthusiasts’ Experiences

Principal Author: Leslie U.. Bradbury, Appalachian State University
Co-Authors: Rachel Wilson, Appalachian State University



Research articles and book chapters related to elementary science education frequently include a section in the literature review lamenting the state of elementary science teaching (i.e. Davis, Petish, & Smithey, 2006; Roth, 2014). The findings of these articles and reports, along with conversations that we have engaged in with other science educators at conferences, have led us to feel that the prevailing narrative related to elementary science teaching is one of discouragement. Our own experiences working with elementary teachers in our local school system have put us in contact with teachers that we have labeled science teacher enthusiasts (STEs). During spring 2017, we interviewed 13 teachers who we identified as elementary science teacher enthusiasts (STEs) and collected a sample lesson plan from each. Themes identified through these interviews included: the inclination of STEs to prioritize science teaching because of the students’ enthusiasm; the willingness of STEs to teach science even when they aren’t completely comfortable with the content; the potential that STEs see for integrating science with other content areas; and the importance of relationships with other STEs to maintain motivation. Our hope is that by presenting a counter-narrative about elementary science teaching and teachers, we might open a new conversation. We want to think deeply about the potential to learn with and from these STEs so that we as science educators can rethink how we are educating our preservice teachers, and how we might be agents of change and a part of a collaborative team to improve elementary science teaching in our local schools.

Paper #10264: Scientific Curiosity and the Young Learner

Principal Author: Morgan Stewart, TCU


This study utilized a multiple case study methodology to look at instances of scientific curiosity in young learners. The following research questions guided the study: (1) what are young learners curious about that may possibly influence future science learning and education; (2) when a natural phenomenon captivates a young learner’s scientific curiosity, what actions follow; and (3) what are the characteristics of experiences young learners bring with them from outside of their schooling that may influence scientific curiosity. Participants included children aged 5 to 7 years old (primary), their parents/guardians (secondary), and the researcher (participant/observer). Both sets of participants (primary and secondary) were interviewed by the researcher and then took part in multiple interactions where data (artifacts, field notes, and photography) were collected. Two types of data, written and visual, were analyzed qualitatively to look for general categories and themes. The cases in this study consisted of unique data sets for each participant/guardian dyad. Therefore, the analyses of these data sets concentrated on descriptive data not aimed at making generalizations, but focused on the information-rich complexities present in each case. Both the written and visual data were analyzed for each child participant initially. The data were then analyzed as a whole written data set and visual data set across all participants to see if any overarching categories or themes emerged. Findings from this study will be presented to help contribute to current knowledge on scientific curiosity.

Paper #10263: The Role of Institutional Talk in Shaping Preservice Teacher Construction of Scientific Arguments

Principal Author: Brent Gilles, University of West Georgia
Co-Authors: Gayle A. Buck, Indiana University


Scientific argumentation has recently become required in K-12 classrooms, but preservice teachers often do not have prior experiences with this practice. The lack of prior experiences has made engaging in argumentation during inquiry-based content courses a priority for science teacher educators because of its importance in science education. Previous research has not examined how preservice teachers construct arguments in classroom interactions. A discourse analysis of twenty-one preservice teachers was conducted to study how preservice teachers constructed arguments within small group activities. Specifically, I drew upon discursive psychology (Potter & Wetherell, 1987) and conversation analysis (Sacks, 1972) to consider how preservice teachers’ talk functioned to build arguments, as well as how their talk evolved over the course of the four targeted activities.

            Findings indicated that the preservice teachers oriented towards institutional norms in constructing arguments. These norms shaped the ways that arguments were constructed. These included a reliance on the instructor to help them construct their arguments. Though the task of argumentation is to question claims, the students never vetted or questioned information that they received from the instructor. They chose simply to use the information provided, which is not surprising because typically students view the instructor as a gatekeeper whose information should not be questioned. The students also revealed the institutionality of their talk through the written requirements of the project. The students justified tasks within activities as “needed” to meet the expectations of each activity. The students never positioned the “needs” of the project as providing better evidence or justification for their claim, but as a required piece of data to be collected.

            Overall, the findings demonstrated how preservice teachers used discourse, specifically talk, to construct arguments. The preservice teachers revealed the institutionality within their talk by orienting towards classroom norms. These norms included mentioning the instructor while discussing project needs and justifying claims. This study revealed how the preservice teachers attempts at doing ‘being a good student’ shaped the construction of their arguments and limited the authentic nature of the activities.

Paper #10262: Preparing Elementary Teachers to Support Academic Vocabulary in Science

Principal Author: Sarah J. Carrier, NC State University
Co-Authors: Jill F.. Grifenhagen, NC State University; Diane Hunter, NC State University; Becca S. Kimble, NC State University; Ha Nguyen, NC State University


Elementary pre-service teacher preparation spans a range of disciplinary foci, and preparing pre-service teachers to teach science includes science vocabulary instruction. Studies of early childhood classrooms have found limited vocabulary instructional time and instruction that focused on basic words. Elementary students’ science vocabulary growth depends in part on their teachers’ knowledge and use of science vocabulary, yet teachers often feel challenged in helping students build their content area vocabulary, as many of their experiences learning science vocabulary consisted of isolated memorization of word definitions. Two elementary teacher educators, one science and the other literacy, explored the development of elementary pre-service teachers’ science content and process vocabulary knowledge and applications with two sections of an elementary science methods course, one that included vocabulary instruction interventions. The treatment groups’ vocabulary sessions focused on science content area vocabulary instruction that supplemented readings on the following topics: content area vocabulary instruction strategies, framework for supporting and assessing science vocabulary in primary grades, and instructional strategies for building students’ science vocabulary while learning science content.

A randomized pretest/posttest comparison group experimental design included quantitative data measured pre-service teachers’ science content and process vocabulary knowledge. Researchers further quantified pre-service teachers’ frequency and use of science vocabulary words and instruction strategies from video recordings of science lesson rehearsal instruction with peers. Qualitative data sources were interviews and quotations from rehearsal instruction videos documenting teaching practices.

Study results revealed growth in science vocabulary knowledge between pre- and posttests for both the treatment and comparison groups, and pre-service teachers showed varied applications of science vocabulary use and instruction during rehearsal teaching. In interviews used to triangulate data, pre-service teachers recalled memorizing definitions out of context when they were students, and a number of treatment group pre-service teachers described vocabulary instruction strategies learned during their methods course.


Paper #16029: Building Community in the Science Educator Preparation Classroom through Asynchronous and Synchronous Communication Strategies that Promote Learning and Performance

Principal Author: Raymond W. Francis, Central Michigan University


The use of technology in teaching and learning in science teacher preparation is a quickly changing environment where results are expected, and the instructional strategies for concept delivery are dynamic and ever evolving. However, one of the major components of teaching in any environment that seems to be a constant and essential component of learning is that of communication. While the general structures of communication are changing in face-to-face, blended, and online learning environment, the need for communication is still an essential component in the preparation of effective science educators.


One strategy for effective communication that leads to improved student learning is the Blended and Online Communication Cycle. The Blended and Online Communication Cycle includes a series of planned synchronous and asynchronous strategies connecting students at the group and whole class levels. Evidence gathered to date indicates that students engaged in the Blended and Online Communication Cycle demonstrated 1) effective and improved overall demonstration of content, 2) demonstrated increased effective group performance on tasks and assignments, 3) student reports of high satisfaction related to support peer support and engagement, and 4) students reported a greater sense of community and connectedness to their peers, the content, and the instructor as a result of participation.


Data further indicates that students engaged with the Blended and Online Communication Cycle demonstrate performance on authentic assessment strategies at a level above expected performance using identified metrics. Overall, the implementation of the Blended and Online Communication Cycle addresses a variety of learning styles, multiple intelligences, and adult learning theory principles.


Applications and potential impacts of this project include 1) improved student learning at all levels, 2) students effectively developing a sense of “community” for within online and blended learning settings, and 3) development of enhanced connections and rapport development between students and faculty engaged in online and blended learning environments. In the fast changing landscape of online and blended learning programs for graduate students, the Blended and Online Communication Cycle provides an effective strategy to positively impact graduate student learning and performance.

Paper #10261: Using Authentic Assessments to promote candidate learning and demonstrate effective teaching in higher education

Principal Author: Raymond W. Francis, Central Michigan University


College faculty engaged in science teacher education face the ongoing dilemma of balancing the professional emphasis on student learning with the administrative task of documenting student performance related to reappointment, promotion, and tenure. Add with this the additional escalating requirement for accreditation, and faculty are placed in a “no win” situation. However, as academics, faculty need to work toward solutions and seek effective processes across all areas of higher education. Once such potential solution is the use of student generated concept maps in the science education classroom.

On the student learning or assessment side of the equation, concept maps provide a unique pictorial representation of an individual’s understanding of a concept, problem, or idea. Student generated concept maps offer the opportunity use authentic and effective assessment strategies in the higher education classroom and can provide students with outstanding visual representations of understanding and growth with respect to concepts, skills, and content. As tools in the undergraduate and graduate programs of an institution of higher learning, concept maps provide faculty with interesting and effective ways to assess learning by students in all academic areas. Concept maps can give students and faculty meaningful information about student performance. These tools are objective, meaningful assessments through which the instructor can monitor student progress, self-evaluate classroom performance, and revise the delivery of instruction in the collegiate classroom.

On the promotion and tenure side of the equation, concept maps provide a true and realistic artifact of student learning and performance in the college or university classroom. These tools allow the instructor to demonstrate student performance and changes in student performance that are directly related to instruction in the college or university classroom. Student developed concept maps are easily quantifiable for processes related to aggregation and disaggregation, and can be used by faculty in pre-instruction and post-instruction settings to effectively demonstrate student growth in courses or units. In addition, over time faculty can effectively demonstrate patterns that are connected to their own instructional practices.

Paper #11041: An Analysis of the Effects of Activity based on the Iceberg Model for High School Students’ Systems Thinking

Principal Author: Hyonyong Lee, Kyungpook National University
Co-Authors: Hyundong Lee, Kyungpook National University; Jaedon Jeon, Kyungpook National University


The purposes of this study are to explore Iceberg(IB) model as a systems thinking analysis tool for high school students, suggest a systems thinking analysis method using rubrics and verify its validity and reliability. For this study, the theoretical basis was examined through literature analysis about IB model and rubrics of evaluating the systems thinking. And 6 high school students participated in IB model activity and were interviewed about polar climate change. In addition, quantitative tests using systems thinking scale were also conducted to support the results of the IB model activity analysis. Data obtained from IB model activity was analyzed by using the rubrics of evaluating system thinking developed by Hung (2008). The analysis results were reviewed by two professors to confirm the validity and reliability. In order to confirm the validity, correlation analysis were performed between the rubrics and the quantitative test results. Finding are as follows: Six students used the IB model to express their systems thinking in detail and the results of the systems thinking analysis of students using rubrics showed a distribution of 17~35 points. Furthermore, the results of correlation analysis between rubrics and systems thinking scale was highly correlated (Pearson product-moment is .856) on significance level from .05. Using the IB model introduced in this study, students express their systems thinking effectively and the results of the systems thinking analysis using IB model is considered to analyze validity and reliability. Based on the results of this study, implication suggests how to study the systems thinking in science education.

Paper #10260: Inquire about pedagogy: apply the inquiry continuum in science teacher education

Principal Author: Jianlan Wang, Texas Tech University


Inquiry, central in science education reform for decades, is a critical element required in most of teacher-preparation programs. Inquiry teaching has characterized good science teaching and also become a salient characteristics and unique expertise that separate science educators from science specialists. Despite the ubiquitous advocate of inquiry, inquiry skills or strategies have been taught to teacher candidates (TC) mainly through the approach of direct instruction, which leads to problems similar to direct instruction of scientific content knowledge such as impersonality, low motivation, and disconnection between theory and practice. Moreover, there exists a gap between tremendous knowledge and skills expected from TCs, most of which require long-term and iterative efforts, and limited exposure to the instruction of them. In this research project, I piloted an alternative approach of inquiry to the instruction of pedagogical knowledge. Under the theoretical framework of inquiry continuum and scaffolding, I segregated a one-semester long methods course into four 3-week-long modules. Confirmation inquiry, structured inquiry, guided inquiry and open inquiry were applied in the four modules respectively, the sequence of which embodies the shift of instruction from instructor-centered to TC-centered.  The data collected shows that TCs have significantly developed their pedagogical knowledge, scientific content knowledge, science identity, and science teacher identity. In addition, TCs have valued peer-based activities over learning from authoritative sources in terms of instructor and academic readings. Altogether the evidence suggests a positive impact of the research intervention on TCs’ willingness and capability of constructing their own knowledge

Paper #10259: The Triad Project: Meeting the Professional Development Challenges of the NGSS

Principal Author: Al Schademan, California State University, Chico


The complexity of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has created the need for professional development (PD) at all levels of the science education community.  To meet the challenges presented by the NGSS, the School of Education at California State University, Chico, has begun the Triad Project, a program funded by the Bechtel Foundation as part of a statewide effort called the New Generation of Educators InitiativeActivity theory guides the design and implementation of the Triad PD model that has four guiding principles: effective science teacher PD is longitudinal, collaborative, non-hierarchical, and goal-directed.  The Triad Project is designed to simultaneously engage teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, and science education faculty in professional development on the NGSS.  The Triad teams consist of one university science educator, one teacher candidate, and one cooperating teacher who work collaboratively over a semester to design, implement, and publish a field-tested NGSS unit. The units are designed using a NGSS Unit Planning Tool created at CSU Chico. Each NGSS unit includes the following: a) all three dimensions of one or more NGSS performance expectation, b) connections to Common Core ELA/Math and English Language Development (ELD) standards, c) an innovative overall approach appropriate for the chosen standard, d) a variety of instructional strategies to meet the needs of all learners, including students with special needs and emergent bilinguals, and e) both formative and summative assessments as integral aspects of instruction.  The presentation will focus on the following: a) design of the Triad model, b) research results from surveys, interviews, and direct observations of triad lessons, and c) an example of a Triad unit including student work samples from triad-designed multidimensional performance-based assessments.  The main contribution that the Triad Project makes to the science education community is a novel, transferable, adaptable and flexible professional approach that can be replicated and applied widely for NGSS PD.  The presentation is designed for a wide range of audience members, but focuses mostly on university faculty that are seeking alternative PD models for working with both teacher candidates and practicing science teachers.

Paper #10258: A model for determining the nature and extent of integration in Engineering Design and Science Integrated Activities

Principal Author: Frackson Mumba, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Vivien M. Chabalengula, University of Virginia; Laura Ochs, University of Virginia; Alexis Rutt, University of Virginia


The New Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council [NRC], 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] (NGSS Lead States, 2013) require teachers to integrate engineering design in K-12 science teaching. However, these science education reform documents do not provide instructional models that teachers can use as guides in developing engineering design integrated science activities. Furthermore, the reform documents do not offer science teacher educators and researchers ways to characterize the nature and extent to which engineering design and science are integrated in instructional activities. Thus, this proposal presents a continuum model for characterizing the nature and extent to which engineering design and science are integrated in activities. Our model is based on the theoretical continuum model originally proposed for integration of science and mathematics (Lonning & DeFranco, 1997). On the continuum model, activities range from independent engineering design or independent science involving no integration, to balanced engineering design and science integrated activities. On the continuum model, integrated activities can be characterized as Independent Engineering Design, Engineering Design Focus; Balanced Engineering Design & Science; Science Focus; and Independent Science. These classifications may not be viewed as rigid partitions because varied relationships between engineering design and science exist across the continuum model. The efficacy of the proposed continuum model in characterizing engineering design and science integrated activities has been demonstrated using example integrated activities from science practitioner journals. This model can be used by teacher educators and researchers to characterize engineering design and science integrated activities. Teachers can use the model as a guide in developing engineering design integrated science activities. In summary, the proposed continuum model is designed to contribute to effective integration of engineering design in science instruction.

Paper #16028: Making a Case for STEAM: It’s Not Just an Educational Fad

Principal Author: Merrie Koester, University of SC Center for Science Education
Co-Authors: Meta Van Sickle, College of Charleston; Jennifer Albert, The Citadel


Explore how an academically rigorous, STEAM approach can result in science education curriculum that is empowering, inclusive, creative, and collaborative.  This session, led by three panelists, is designed to deeply engage participants in the theory and practices of STEAM, featuring a conceptual model and learning progression as well as field tested K-12 case studies created by science teacher educators.  During an experiential session on STEAM at last year’s ASTE, one very experienced participant noted that “STEAM is just good science teaching.  Why does it matter what we call it?”  She was and is absolutely correct! Dewey (1938) challenged us all to consider what conditions have to be satisfied in order that education become a “reality and not just a name or slogan” (p. 116).  He called on educators to eradicate those experiences which were either non-educative or mis-educative. If we dare to claim that this thing we are calling STEAM is truly educative, then we must first discuss what we mean by “educative”, and then offer evidence to support the claim that a STEAM approach meets specific educative criteria.  In other words, it’s worth keeping around.  It’s not just another educational fad.   

The STEAM approach as conceptualized by this panel honors and is congruent with the precepts set forth in Science for All Americans (1989) and A Framework For K-12 Science Education Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012).  Our dialogues will take place at the intersection of theory and practice and are entitled as follows:

STEAM as a Constellation of “C’s”:  Creating a Culture and Curriculum of Resilience

STEAM as a Framework for Engineering and Design Practices

STEAM as a Way In


Paper #11040: Undergraduate Students’ Beliefs About Their Motivational Reasons and Hurdles for Pursuing Geoscience as a Major or Geoscience Teaching Certification

Principal Author: Rommel J.. Miranda, Towson University
Co-Authors: Joel Moore, Towson University; Ronald S.. Hermann, Towson University; Kyle P.. Hurley, Towson University


This NSF-funded study sought to determine undergraduate students’ beliefs about their motivational reasons and hurdles for pursuing geoscience as a major or secondary geoscience teaching certification in a large mid-Atlantic university. Qualitative methods were used to explore this study’s research questions. Nine undergraduate students from a large mid-Atlantic university participated in the study and were interviewed using a semi-structured, in-depth interview guide during the 2016-2017 academic year. In addressing the study’s grand tour research question, the themes that emerged from the data regarding students’ beliefs about their motivational reasons for pursing geoscience as a major or geoscience teaching certification centered around individual interests; influential courses; influential individuals; and influential opportunities. Additionally, the themes that emerged from the data regarding students’ beliefs about hurdles and challenges for pursing geoscience as a major or geoscience teaching certification centered on the difficulty of courses, and issues of being in a small geoscience program. The findings of this research study can help to modify, create, or establish transfer pathways into geoscience majors, to publicize career opportunities in the geosciences and geoscience education, to increase the retention and recruitment of students into geoscience majors, and to inform geoscience and secondary geoscience education departments in other institutions across the nation.

Paper #10257: How well does edTPA predict the quality of inservice science teachers’ instruction?

Principal Author: Dawnne M. LePretre, Illinois Institute of Technology
Co-Authors: Selina L. Bartels, Concordia University; Judith S. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology


    The edTPA is used as a benchmark in the licensure of preservice teachers.  This raises the question of how well it predicts teacher practice in the classroom?  This study looked at three inservice mathematics and science teachers’ who passed the edTPA. The teachers’ preservice to inservice scores were compared on seven of the rubrics across two tasks.  The Planning task was not included in the comparison, as the teachers were not required to write lesson plans in their current teaching placements.  Two certified edTPA Pearson scorers determined that two of the three teachers scored the same or better on their inservice edTPA.           

Teacher one is a Physics teacher, teaching in an all male private school.  Her preservice overall edTPA score was a 53.  Her scores on the targeted rubrics within the Instruction (4 rubrics) and Assessment (3 rubrics) tasks were 15 and 10 respectively (25 total) in the preservice exam. The physics teacher earned the same scores for the Instruction and Assessment tasks (25 total) on the post exam with some differences among the rubrics.       

Teacher two is a chemistry teacher who teaches in an urban public school and earned a preservice score of 46 on the edTPA. Her preservice scores on the two indentified tasks were 12 and 10 respectively (22 total). The chemistry teacher’s performance changed significantly as both her Instruction and Assessment tasks scored 6 and 6 respectively in the post-observation (12 total).     

The third teacher was a mathematics teacher, specifically Algebra I, at an urban public school.  She earned a final score of 42.  Her inservice tasks scores were 12 and 9 respectively (21 total).   The math teacher demonstrated an increase with a score of 19 on the Instruction tasks rubrics and maintained a 9 on the Assessment rubrics (28 total).         

In summary, the physics teacher maintained her level of performance on the edTPA a year after the initial assessment.  The chemistry teacher decreased in her level of performance six months after the edTPA assessment for certification.  The math teacher improved her practice significantly, primarily in the area of instruction, a year after the initial edTPA scoring

Paper #10256: Middle School Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Orientations Towards Inquiry Instruction

Principal Author: Alexis Rutt, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Frackson Mumba, University of Virginia; Laura Ochs, University of Virginia


Current US framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards use the term science practices to stress the need for inquiry science teaching in science classroom. However, despite the focus on inquiry in the national standards and science education community’s general enthusiasm for inquiry, many science teachers struggle to implement inquiry in their classrooms (Capps, Crawford, & Constas, 2012; Castle & Ferreria, 2015). Given the impact of teachers’ pedagogical orientations on their instruction (Faikhamta, 2013) and subsequent student learning (Boesdorfer & Lorsbach, 2014), pedagogical orientations may play a large role in the lack of high levels of inquiry instruction in science classrooms. Therefore, the goal of our study was to assess in-service science teachers’ pedagogical orientations towards inquiry instruction before and after professional development that was designed to increase participant teachers’ science content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge for inquiry instruction. We assessed teachers’ pedagogical orientations using the framework for pedagogical orientations suggested by Schuster & Cobern (2012) which has four teaching orientations namely; didactic direct, active direct, guided inquiry and open inquiry. Data was collected through 16 science teaching vignettes that were developed by Schuster et al. (2012). A comparison of pretest and posttest results indicated an overall increase in teachers’ pedagogical orientations towards guided and open inquiry approaches and an overall decrease in teachers’ pedagogical orientations towards direct didactic and active direct approaches. A Wilcoxon signed-rank test indicated a statistically significant difference (z=-3.419; p=.001) between pretest and posttest scores­­. In general, the results suggest that it is possible to identify teachers’ initial pedagogical orientation towards science teaching, use the results to plan for PD, and increase their pedagogical orientations towards higher level inquiry.

Paper #10255: Place-based Contentious Environmental Socioscientific Issues Instruction and Students’ NOS Views, Compassion, and Pro-Environmental Intent and Action

Principal Author: Benjamin C. Herman, University of Missouri


Preparing students to achieve functional scientific literacy entails addressing the normative and non-normative facets of socioscientific issues (SSI) such as the nature of science (NOS) and diverse sociocultural perspectives. However, many extant investigations appear to neglect fully engaging students through authentic SSI in several ways. These include: 1) providing SSI instruction through classroom approaches that are divorced from students’ lived experiences; 2) demonstrating contextual misalignment between SSI and NOS; and 3) framing decision-making and position-taking analogously – which are poor indicators of how people may truly act. This convergent parallel mixed-methods investigation methodologically responds to these shortcomings by exploring how place-based contentious environmental issues (CEI) instruction focused on wolf reintroduction in the Greater Yellowstone Area influenced sixty secondary students’ NOS views, compassion toward those impacted by CEI, and pro-environmental intent; and how those perspectives were associated with the students’ pro-environmental action of donating to a Yellowstone environmental organization. Results demonstrate that the students’ views across five separate NOS dimensions became significantly more accurate and contextualized, with moderate to large effect, through the place-based CEI instruction. The students exhibited lesser significant gains in their expressed compassion for nature and people impacted by CEI and pro-environmental intent through the place-based CEI instruction. When separating students into subgroups of donating and non-donating students, results show that donating students developed and demonstrated significantly more robust and contextualized NOS views, compassion for people and nature impacted by CEI, and pro-environmental intent than non-donators. Pedagogical implications include how place-based learning could be leveraged to better prepare students to understand NOS, become socioculturally aware, and engage SSI across many contexts.

Paper #10254: Guiding Students Toward STEM Career Pathways

Principal Author: Shana Lee, Mississippi State University
Co-Authors: Ryan Walker, Mississippi State University


     The acronym STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) has evolved to include a more creative aspect STEAM (Arts) and even a literacy aspect STREAM (Reading and wRiting) in efforts to support cross-curricular collaboration while encouraging and producing qualified students for pathways in the STEM job market. Currently, the United States has an increasing demand for STEM careers, but the number of undergraduates enrolled in STEM degree programs is not sufficient enough to fill this demand. Student’s social views and misconceptions about STEM courses and career pathways may be one of the many factors that influence career choice. Providing opportunities to introduce students to the scientific community with the goal to encourage STEM career interest can start in the classroom.  Embedding aspects of STEM career explorations into the classroom through research assignments, the use of device applications, and through inviting local STEM employers to share their career pathway experience, provides a student-centered approach to developing an understanding of careers associated with the scientific community. Providing in-service and pre-service teachers with tools to promote various STEM career pathways may help increase the retention rates in STEM degree programs and may help resolve social misconceptions about STEM careers.

Paper #10253: A learning progression for using scientific practices to understand the concept of evolutionary relatedness in living organisms

Principal Author: Yael Wyner, City College of New York
Co-Authors: Jennifer Doherty, University of Washington, Seattle; Janice Koch, Hoftra University


This presentation describes a preliminary learning progression for using scientific practices to understand evolutionary relatedness of living organisms. We will show how content learning and scientific practices develop hand in hand as students move up the learning progression.

To better unpack the connection between scientific practice and evolutionary relatedness in living organisms we used Eberbach and Crowley’s (2009) scientific observation practice framework. According to their framework, disciplinary context frames four key features of expert observation practice. They are noticing, expectations, observation records, and dispositions. Improvements in these observation practices lead students to move from everyday observation towards scientific observation.

To develop the learning progression, we employed a scientific observation practice and disciplinary core idea focused curriculum for urban middle school students and measured understanding at different time points to capture different stages of the learning progression. We centered our curriculum on common ancestry and relatedness of street trees. We tested the curriculum in the classrooms of 12 teachers in a large urban school district in the northeast US. Students completed written assessments at three time points: pre-Fall, post-Fall and post-Spring implementation (n=308). Assessments were designed and validated during a pilot the previous year. Nineteen students were interviewed at the same three points. Results show how scientific practices come together in the elements required for doing the science of common ancestry, to build understanding of the patterns of evolution in living organisms. This presentation provides evidence for how scientific practices facilitate learning of scientific content, a key interest to the general science education community, which is now tasked with making the practices of science essential to science content learning.

Paper #10252: Pre-service Science Teacher Candidates’ Beliefs about Teaching in Culturally Diverse Contexts

Principal Author: Dr. Sheron L.. Mark, University of Lousiville
Co-Authors: Dr. Lateefah A.. Id-Deen, University of Louisville; Dr. Shelley Thomas, University of Louisville; Dr. Amy H.. Stevens, Jefferson County Public Schools (KY)


We have focused on examining the beliefs of five pre-service teacher candidates (PSTC’s) in a secondary science teacher education program, specifically, their beliefs towards teaching in culturally diverse contexts. We focused particularly on the role of a semester-long clinical experience associated with their science teaching methods course in influencing these beliefs. The clinical experience was situated within a diverse, urban high school with which four teacher educators (TE’s) have been collaboratively establishing a partnership for teacher education experiences. We focus on beliefs about teaching in culturally diverse contexts as these are significant factors that affect teaching and learning; however, beliefs remain largely unaddressed in teacher preparation programs (Gay, 2010; Johnson & Atwater, 2014), even more so in science teacher preparation and at the middle and secondary levels (Bryan & Atwater, 2002).

Following the clinical experience, the five PSTC’s were interviewed one-on-one and the data analyzed via critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2003). From our exploratory qualitative research study, we found that the PSTC’s articulated beliefs about teaching in diverse, urban schools by describing various kinds of perceived relationships. The word perceived is used as the relationships described by the PSTC’s and discussed in this proposal are based on the PSTC’s perspective only. The PSTC’s described (i) allied relationships in which they described feelings of solidarity with the students and/or mentor teacher or feelings of being a part of the classroom/school community; (ii) peripheral relationships in which they described being outside of the classroom/school community; and (iii) adversarial relationships in which they described feelings of being at odds with the students, administration, and/or urban public schools. We also examined which clinical experiences supported the PSTC’s in articulating the various kinds of perceived relationships.

Paper #10251: Using Children’s Literature as a Basis for Teaching Nature of Science in an Early Childhood Preservice Methods Course

Principal Author: Valarie L. Akerson, Indiana University
Co-Authors: Banu Avsar Erumit, Indiana University; Naime Elcan, Indiana University


The purpose of this study was to explore incorporating Nature of Science (NOS) within literacy instruction in a science methods course to aid preservice early childhood teachers in improving their NOS understandings and their abiltiies to transfer NOS into formats accessible to early childhood students. Through a qualitative research design, the researchers collected data throughout the course of a semester, including a researcher log, researcher observation notes, pre and post VNOS B responses, lesson plans, lesson reflections, observations of enacted lessons, and copies of children’s books developed by preservice early childhood teachers to introduce young children to ideas about NOS. Throughout the course, the course instructor modeled use of children’s literature, discussion and debriefing, reflection to teach young children about NOS. Results showed that early childhood preservice teachers not only refined and solidified their conceptions of NOS, but were able to conceptualize ways to teach about NOS to young children, as evidence by their abilities to plan, deliver, and reflect upon their teaching, as well as to design a children’s picture book to teach about NOS to their students. The researchers found that the act of thinking about how to teach NOS through a children’s book to their own students, helped the preservice early childhood teachers not only refine their NOS understandings, but how to translate understandings about NOS to young children. The researchers believe that literacy is a powerful tool for teaching about NOS to early childhood teachers, and for helping them think about how to teaching NOS to young children.

Paper #14010: Socially Situated Science Practice: Access to Science through an Integrated Science, Language, and Mathematics program for ELL

Principal Author: Molly H.. Weinburgh, Texas Christian University
Co-Authors: Cecilia Silva, Texas Christian University; Kathy h. Smith, Tarleton State University; Yohanis de la Fuentes, Texas Christian University; Daniella Biffi, Texas Christian University; Stacy Vasquez, Texas Christian University; Shelly Wu, Texas Christian University; Allison Silveus, Texas Christian University


ASTE’s Equity Position Paper (n.d.) and the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team Report (Januszyk, Lee, & Miller, 2015) highlight the need for science teacher educators to provide access to quality science instruction for all students.  Students entering US schools without proficient English language skill (ELLs) are a particular challenge. Therefore, science teachers and science teacher educators need more information about how ELLs simultaneously develop language and content. As science educators, we are interested in the process by which ELL newcomers gain access to science.  A partnership between an urban district and a private university has provided a summer science experience for newcomers since 2009.  The program integrates language-rich practices with inquiry-based science to enrich content and language. The three papers in this session present research from different years of the summer program.   


Paper I introduces the context by describing the University/District collaboration that resulted in a summer program for ELL newcomers. The joint planning between a science educator and her colleagues (math educator and bilingual educator) are unpacked through autoethnography. Although the science topic has changed, each year has focused on an understanding of investigations (practices of science) and models (unifying idea).


Paper II describes how one student, Liam, enters a science speech community.  This research examines the mechanism used to develop academic language and science content as he studied forensic science, thus enabling entry into the community.  Case study design using discourse analysis of Liam’s journal resulted in evidence of change showing that he acquired the conceptual understanding of the lesson being taught and the multimodal language needed to communicate this knowledge.           


Paper III reports results from the analysis of eight student journals. Mix-methods are used to examine how students who are exploring the effects of erosion use multimodality in their scientific argumentation. Qualitative used Hand & Choi's (2010) framework for analyzing multimodal representations and embeddedness.   Changes in language are described.

Paper #10250: Developing Scientific Citizenship Identity Using Mobile Learning and Authentic Practice

Principal Author: Duane Wallace, Lehigh University
Co-Authors: Alec M. Bodzin, Lehigh University


As part of the Next Generation Science Standards, students are to have experiences that construct, deepen and apply knowledge of core concepts and crosscutting ideas with hands-on experimentation while they apply it toward solving real-world problems (NGSS Lead States, 2013). A citizen science project using mobile technologies was implemented into the curriculum for three, ninth-grade biology classes in order to provide students with hands-on science experimentation in an effort to understand real-world issues such as climate change. A quasi-experimental study was conducted to examine how the approach of mobile learning and authentic practice (MobiLAP) may foster scientific citizenship among ninth grade students. It was hypothesized that students that form identities as citizen scientists may have more favorable attitudes to contribute to citizen science, have greater interest in science and technology and may be more interested in pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The study consisted of a total of 78 ninth grade students. The treatment group consisted of three classes and participated in an authentic citizen science project where they studied climate change, spent time in nature and used mobile devices to observe and report phenological data. The control group also consisted of three classes and had a “business as usual” classroom experience studying climate change. The Scientific Citizenship, STEM Interest and Mobile Learning Survey instrument was developed to understand students’ citizen science identity formation and was administered to both groups pre and post intervention. The instrument was found to be highly reliable for both the entire scale and each of the four subscales. Findings revealed that the MobiLAP approach had a significant impact on participant attitudes toward citizen science identity and careers in STEM areas, but no significant improvement in attitudes toward mobile learning or learning science and technology.  Implications for science teacher education are discussed.

Paper #10249: Factors that Contribute to the Success of African American STEM Professionals

Principal Author: Yolande K. Akexander Nealy, Wayne State University


This study examined factors that contribute to the success of African American professionals in STEM careers.  Data were collected through a survey from 40 participants and in-depth interviews with eight of them. The survey was used to explore the participants’ educational experiences from elementary school through college and on their STEM-related careers. The results of this study indicate that most of these African American STEM professionals attributed their choice of a STEM career to early exposure to and positive experiences in science and mathematics. Additionally, the positive experiences and success in science and mathematics continued in high school and college, further solidifying their choice of a STEM career. These results point to the important role that educators and others play in preventing leakage in the African American STEM pipeline. These factors include K-16 science and mathematics educational experiences mediated by self-efficacious teachers as well as exposure to role models by means of African American educators and classmates. Furthermore, for almost half of the participants, attending a HBCU seems to have played an important role in their enjoyment of and success in a STEM major. HBCUs provided them with role models and the necessary support and encouragement to succeed in their pursuit of a STEM degree.

Paper #10248: Homeschooling collaboration as clinical experience: a comparison of inservice teachers’ reflections on their preservice clinical experiences

Principal Author: Sarah B.. Boesdorfer, Illinois State University


Clinical experiences for preservice science teachers is a vital part of effectively developing as a teacher during their teacher preparation programs. Many programs must think outside the traditional public school clinical experience in their efforts to engage preservice teachers with K-12 students. This paper reports on one such effort to engage preservice chemistry teachers in a clinical experience with high school students through collaboration with a local homeschooling association (HSA). Inservice teachers who had participated in a HSA collaboration as preservice teachers and some who had not were interviewed for this study.  Interviews focused generally on their impressions of their clinical experiences now that they were teaching full time.  Interviews were transcribed, coded, and then compared. The study found the teachers described characteristics of the HSA collaboration, which align with several characteristics of effective clinical experiences, including extended time in the placement, the ability to take greater responsibility in the class, and a sense of community. The teachers who had participated in the HSA collaboration and a teacher who participated in a professional development school experience had similar responses to the interview questions.  This presentation will include findings from the study along with a discussion of the use of HSA collaborations as clinical experiences.

Paper #10247: What is the Science Content in Student Developed IT Projects?

Principal Author: Helen Meyer, University of Cincinnati


This study is a retrospective evaluation of high school students Information Technology (IT) projects for the disciplinary content and science practices used by students in their projects. IT can best be defined as the interface between people and their technological devices (Said, 2017). As such, IT requires personnel to be proficient in a wide range of knowledge and skills with computer and/or digital content as a base but equally importantly IT workers need to be able to deploy knowledge to solve problems.  IT workers also draw on a wide range of standard academic knowledge as they build their solutions. The purpose of the study was to understand the kind and quality of science students deployed into group selected projects. The group projects were the culminating activity of a three week summer IT program. The study is framed by the literature in problem/design-based learning as an instructional strategy for development of students’ critical thinking and ability to deal with complex and open-ended problems.  The study is based on 25 projects completed over the three years of the summer program. The summer program was designed as an exposure experience with the long term goal of increasing the pipeline of underrepresented groups entering IT careers. Approximately 100 high school students from seven partner schools completed the program. The demographics were: 62% qualifying for free or reduced lunch programs; 48% female; and 64% underrepresented minorities in IT careers.  The focus of the project evaluation was the science content and practices students used in their IT products.  Unsurprisingly all 25 projects used some science practices during development however, disciplinary content ranged from no explicit science to content that exceeded the NGSS K-12 standards expectations. The significance of this study for science educators is to bring light to the ways students make use of science in while engaged in technical based activities; and to reinforce the role of fundamental science to our increasingly technical society.

Paper #10246: Teaching Evidentiary Reasoning Online with the PERSON framework

Principal Author: Robert B. Marsteller, Lehigh University
Co-Authors: Alec M. Bodzin, Lehigh University


A growing number of K-12 students are learning online.  It is important that science teacher education continues to participate in the development of new approaches to instruction that synthesize instructional technologies with science education reform efforts. Both new and current science educators should be as prepared to teach science in both online and face-to-face environments.  It is insufficient to transfer traditional classroom pedagogies for learning in online environments.  Online teaching and learning environments can provide unique opportunities to promote science learning. This paper presents a recent initiative for designing online science teaching and learning environments.  The paper presents the Promoting Evidentiary Reasoning and Self-regulation Online (PERSON) theoretical framework and the curriculum approach used to promote science teaching and learning in an online environment.  An online secondary biological science curriculum unit was designed for students to practice evidentiary reasoning skills. An implementation study was conducted to test the efficacy of PERSON with 83 ninth grade students.  Data sources and instruments included the Biological Evolution Assessment Measurement (BEAM); discussion forum posts; formative assessments of evidence based reasoning; and field notes.  Findings revealed that BEAM posttest scores were significantly greater than pretest scores for items designed to measure evidentiary reasoning.  It was found that performance on daily evidentiary reasoning tasks strongly predicted BEAM posttest scores.  However, findings revealed that students did not meet local standards for performance on items designed to measure evidentiary reasoning. Implications for designing science instruction in asynchronous online learning environments to support evidentiary reasoning and the professional development of science teachers are discussed.

Paper #11039: What’s a Crosscutting Concept? Cataloging Preservice Elementary School Teachers’ Understandings

Principal Author: James Minogue, NC State University


Crosscutting Concepts (Dimension 2 of NGSS’s 3D learning) provide a way of linking the different domains of science and, as such, are seen as being critical to the development of science proficiency (NRC, 2007). Designed to “bridge” or “link” various science disciplines, the Crosscutting Concepts presented in the latest reform documents (NGSS Lead States, 2013; NRC, 2012) are large, overarching ideas that have to first be understood before they are able to fulfill their intended purpose. The aim of this descriptive study was to catalog preservice elementary school teachers’ understandings of the Crosscutting Concepts from the NGSS. Subjects’ were prompted to describe what they thought each crosscutting concept meant and to provide an example(s) of how/where the particular crosscutting concept would/could surface (i.e. be seen) in their K-6 science curriculum. Written responses were analyzed using summative content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005) and findings were mixed. While the preservice teachers provided accurate definitions and rich examples of “patterns” and “cause and effect”, useful operationalizations of the other (5) cross-cutting concepts proved more difficult for them to construct. Specific examples are provided and implications for practitioners, administrators, policy makers, methods instructors, professional development designers, curriculum developers, and other science education researchers are discussed.


Paper #10245: Development and comparison of discourse use in student teachers’ inquiry lessons

Principal Author: Heidi Cian, Clemson University
Co-Authors: Michelle Cook, Clemson University



Science student teachers are often instructed to adopt inquiry-based teaching methods, yet may encounter difficulties implementing these practices in the field. Student teacher supervisors and methods instructors need strategies to help support student teachers in their use of inquiry. Because language is a powerful tool for communicating ideas and values, understanding how to talk in an inquiry-led classroom may help student teachers use inquiry more confidently and successfully. The purpose of this research is to use student teacher discourse to examine how student teachers develop in their implementation of inquiry-based instruction during their student teaching year. Using field observations, post-observation interviews, and written reflections from three case students, we identify that particular patterns of discourse differentiate students who grow more markedly in their use of inquiry. Our findings show that the student teacher who demonstrates the most growth in diversity of use of language and patterns of discourse that communicate value of student-centered ideas also was more successful in using inquiry. These findings suggest that discussion of how to tailor teacher talk in an inquiry-based classroom could be helpful in supporting student teachers.

Paper #10244: Beyond an Ethics of Economic Support: Poverty as Proxy for Perceptions of Cultural Bias based on Race

Principal Author: Phillip A. Boda, Independent Researcher


Given the current climate in educational research to rely on neuroscientific research, the time to interrogate the influence of these findings on teacher perception is paramount. The current neuroscientific findings of the effect of poverty on cortical development complicate the already obfuscated reality of urban contexts where poverty is most prominent. Using urban education and disability studies research, this paper presents the case that the impact that this issue has on students that live in poverty is far from just an addressing of economic strife. Instead, it relates more to assumptions and perceptions teachers hold about these students based on cultural markers of race. Therein, the issue of poverty is economic, but is also deeply couched in the intersection of race and disability as deficits. These neuroscientific findings fall short in addressing their impact on the lives of students living in poverty by neglecting culture as a marker of race.

Paper #10243: Using the Growth Mindset to Improve Opportunities for Negotiation in Argument-Based Inquiry Elementary Classrooms.

Principal Author: Bridget Tharp, University of Northern Iowa
Co-Authors: Mason Kuhn, University of Northern Iowa


This presentation will discuss a study where researchers evaluated if teaching students about the growth mindset as a strategy to enhance their meaning making improved student performance on standardized science tests. The teachers in the study used an Argument-Based Inquiry approach in their classrooms and routinely ask students to construct claims and offer them for public critique by their peers. During these student-to-student negotiations, it is inevitable that some ideas will gain support due to superior evidence.  However, if the teacher provides students the autonomy to debate ideas amongst each other it is likely students will not want to surrender their position because of a fear of being “wrong.” The study evaluates if teaching the growth mindset creates a communal environment where students address learning tasks together, listen to each other and consider alternative viewpoints. To determine if lessons about the growth mindset improved student understanding of the science, a quantitative analysis of their Iowa Assessment Science scores were evaluated.

Paper #10242: A First-Year Middle School Science Teacher’s Experiences Navigating Science Content in a Dual Language Immersion Program

Principal Author: Patricia D.. Morrell, University of Portland
Co-Authors: Erik Mellgren, Madison High School; Sally Hood, University of Portland


This research will add to the small body of existing literature on teaching science in DLI programs.  The purpose of this study is to determine how a novice teacher with no DLI training deals with content/language balance in a middle school science classroom.  We sought to identify the challenges and success of his experiences to improve both teacher preparation as well as program development.


To frame the study we drew on research in several areas:  challenges with implementing and teaching in DLI programs in middle school (e.g., DeJong & Bearse, 2012), specific implicationsof DLI in science, including academic langauge (e.g., Weinburg et al., 2014), and novice teachers’ beliefs and experiences (e.g., Luft et al., 2015).


The study involved a three-way collaboration among a first year DLI middle school science teacher and two university professors (one science educator and one Second Language specialist).  One faculty member had supervised the teacher’s student teaching experience and had him in her science methods class, so they already had developed a professional relationship before the study. 


The middle school that served as the context for this study was in the second year of DLI.  The program involved two content areas:  science and social studies.  The teacher taught five classes of 8th grade Integrated Science; three in the DLI program and two in English.  The study was framed as a case study (Merriam, 2009).  Data collected for the study consisted of interviews (one at the start and another at the end of the academic year), classroom observations of both the Spanish and English science classes by the university faculty members (using both running record type observational notes and a DLI protocol to focus on language) plus post observation debriefs, and the teacher’s weekly journal reflections. 


Several themes emerged from our data analysis: 

  1. facilitation with constant use of Spanish
  2. sense of isolation (lack of mentor or colleagues to serve as a professional learning community)
  3. curriculum enactment (lack of resources, uncertainty with trade-offs of content for language instruction)
  4. specific science/language issues (inappropriate “tool box,” cognates, academic language, SIOP tensions)
  5. focus on students (reluctance in speaking, readiness for high school science in English, development of mutual respect)


The findings suggest several considerations for both methods instructors and program administrators.


Paper #16027: Finding the Methods in Methods Education

Principal Author: Colby Tofel-Grehl, Utah State University
Co-Authors: Emily Olsen, Utah State University



A number of factors contribute to attrition from the teaching workforce: school working conditions (Allensworth et al., 2009; DeAngelis & Presley, 2011), teacher burnout (Aloe et al., 2014), and termination due to poor performance (Boyd et al., 2007; Goldhaber et al., 2007). Data suggest that successful teachers must be prepared to maintain high quality instructional practices and environments while managing high levels of stress (Aloe et al., 2014; Dicke et al., 2014). Ingersoll, Merrill, and May (2014) found that the characteristics of preservice teacher preparation were significantly predictive of teacher attrition. 

In order to better understand teacher attrition in science, training opportunties and learning must be examined. To better understand the instructional methods preservice teachers are offered, we opted to analyze a sample of secondary and elementary science methods course syllabi.  Findings indicate a wide range of topics being taught in science methods classes that were not identified as instructional methods. With broadening particpation an important goal, this paper discusses the dynamic tension that now exists for science methods instructors to balance the wide range of topics currently taught within methods classes.  


Paper #10241: A Structured and Collaborative STEAM program: Operationalizing a Professional Development Framework

Principal Author: Kristin Cook, Bellarmine University
Co-Authors: Sarah Bush, University of Central Florida; Jon Saderholm, Berea College; Christopher Rakes, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Robert Ronau, National Science Foundation; Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, University of Kentucky


This presentation reports on a structured Mathematics-Science Partnership professional development (PD) program focused on the integration of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) in elementary classrooms. With a support system including STEAM education and content faculty, community partners, an evaluation team, school administrators, and expert STEAM teachers; twenty-five teachers and five instructional coaches met together for whole-group PD as they developed and implemented integrated STEAM problem-based inquiries. Here, we describe how the PrimeD framework guided our STEAM work through a collaborative, reflective, and iterative process, providing a case for our journey in operationalizing the PrimeD framework.

Paper #10240: PrimeD: A Professional Development Framework to Build Partnerships and Empower Teachers

Principal Author: Kristin L. Cook, Bellarmine University
Co-Authors: Christopher Rakes, University of Maryland Baltimore County; Jon Saderholm, Berea College; Sarah Bush, University of Central Florida; Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, University of Kentucky; Robert Ronau, National Science Foundation


The Professional Development: Research, Implementation, and Evaluation (PrimeD) framework synthesizes research and theory to describe and distinguish characteristics of effective PD into four distinct but interconnected phases and to provide vision and structures to create and manage PD as dynamic, collaborative, growth system. The PrimeD framework is designed to support the iterative self-improvement system which focuses on stakeholder issues, targets outcomes that address those issues, and uses valid, reliable, and appropriate measures. PrimeD, scaffolds PD experiences into four phases (Design, Implementation, Evaluation, and Research), which provide a structure for maintaining common goals and ongoing self-improvement. This presentation will share the PrimeD framework development and validation through multiple lenses of implementation, including results from applying PrimeD to both inservice and preservice projects. Audience members will reflect on how PrimeD can guide the complex nature of PD programs, how to distinguish the differences and similarities between evaluation and research components of PD projects, provide clarification of PD variables and measures, and to increase the potential for classroom impact.

Paper #10239: Scientific Inquiry in Chilean Primary school: An exploratory study

Principal Author: Juan P. Jimenez, Illinois Institute of Technology


The aim of this study is to analysis the relationship between primary science teachers´ perceptions of inquiry and implementation of inquiry activities in Chilean classrooms. Four primary science teachers and their classroom participated in the study. Videotaped classroom observations, teacher interviews, and the Views about Scientific Inquiry (VASI) were used to assess knowledge of inquiry and implementation of inquiry activities. The results show that teachers who received special training about inquiry activities still manifest difficulties moving from a more traditional approach to a true inquiry-based practice.

Paper #10238: Closing the Experience Gap: Embedding Science Methods Coursework within the Elementary Science Classroom Setting

Principal Author: Stephen L. Thompson, University of South Carolina
Co-Authors: ed Emmer, University of South Carolina


The presentation will share data trends from three beginning elementary science teachers that center on their beliefs about science teaching. The findings will be used to outline and describe a framework for elementary science teacher development that spans pre-service and induction teaching periods. The framework centers on three dimensions:

1) Pre-service Methods Course Emphasizing Conceptual Change Pedagogy – This dimension emphasizes extensive use of hands-on activities, instruction about pedagogical techniques such as conceptual change approaches, and opportunities to experience success as learners of science in reform-oriented contexts.

2) Pre-service Methods Course that Includes Classroom Immersion - This dimension emphasizes observations of conceptual change model teaching, reform-based science teaching to elementary children, and a cycle of collaborative assessment, planning, teaching, and reflection.

3) Induction Collaborative Teaching - This dimension emphasizes creating supportive teaching conditions during induction, developing a positive environment for teaching science, alignment between teaching practices learned in teacher education programs and teaching practices enacted during induction period, observations of conceptual change model teaching, and a collaborative cycle of assessment, planning, teaching, and reflection.

Paper #10236: Nurturing the Development of GATE Science Teachers

Principal Author: Judith A. Bazler, Monmouth University
Co-Authors: Meta Van Sickle, College of Charleston


Identification as giftedness and Talent is present in childhood and often persists for a lifetime.  Generally, most colleges/universities provide special needs services for appropriate students only at the "needs" end of the spectrum.  Faculty might not believe it necessary to provide accommodations for gifted/talented students either at undergraduate or at the graduate level but, teacher education programs rarely (if ever) have courses for GATE future teacher.    In order to accommodate one or more GATE students in a class, faculty need to rethink their pedagogy and assessment strategies.  We identify traits of future teachers who have characteristics of GATE.  Finally, after students are identified, adaptations in assigments for science methods classes that provide a challenge for all students but especially for any GATE students in the class will be discussed. 


Paper #16026: Assisting Elementary Teachers implement STEAM in the K-8 classroom

Principal Author: Nancy K. DeJarnette, University of Bridgeport


This STEAM research project was funded by the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium 2017. The Goals of this project are to provide professional development for teachers in a K-8 elementary school in an urban high needs district. The researcher provides hands-on professional development with a STEAM curriculum with an earth and space focus, resources and materials, and in-class support for implementation. Instruction and resources were provided on how to integrate multiple disciplines within STEAM in a single challenge.  More emphasis is placed on engineering design challenges while addressing the Common Core English Language Arts and Math standards as well.

Paper #10235: Elementary Teachers’ Experience, Subject Matter Knowledge, and Knowledge of Student Misconceptions

Principal Author: Leigh K.. Smith, Brigham Young University
Co-Authors: Ryan S.. Nixon, Brigham Young University; Richard R.. Sudweeks, Brigham Young University


Knowledge of students’ science misconceptions is an important component of teacher knowledge and has shown to influence instructional decisions and student learning. However, there is some evidence that teachers may not understand misconceptions and struggle to identify examples from their teaching experience. Additionally, many teachers have shown to be largely unaware of student misconceptions and often hold misconceptions similar to those of their students. Because it is unclear what aspects of teachers’ knowledge and experience influence their knowledge of student misconceptions, this study explored the relationship between elementary teachers’ years of teaching experience, subject matter knowledge, and knowledge of student misconceptions. Participants were 438 fifth and sixth grade teachers recruited from five nearby school districts, who completed a three-part instrument: (1) a 32-item test comprised of items selected from the MOSART test bank (Sadler et al., 2010) that align with topics included in the state core curriculum for fifth (16 items) and sixth (16 items) grades, (2) eight of the 32 items specific to a participant’s assigned grade level, where teachers were asked to select the most common incorrect answer students would provide, and (3) questions about background experiences (e.g., current grade level assignment, years of experience teaching 5th/6th grade). Contingency tables were constructed to explore differences in responses regarding common misconceptions among teachers with different years of teaching experience and among teachers with different levels of subject matter knowledge. The relationship among these variables was also explored by regressing teachers’ knowledge of student misconceptions on their years of teaching experience and subject matter knowledge. Results suggest increasing years of teaching experience does not enhance teachers’ knowledge of students’ science misconceptions; however, increased teacher SMK is associated with greater knowledge of student misconceptions.

Paper #15008: Integrating Service Learning and Science Methods for K-8 Teachers

Principal Author: Jenna Porter, Sacramento State


Preservice teachers are often faced with tension between theory and practice. Service learning is one method for bridging the disconnect that is mutually beneficial for preservice teachers and community partners. I've integrated service learning in my science methods course to provide authentic experiences for practicing the effective pedagogical strategies and theories learned in the course.

Paper #13015: Helping Learners Make Sense of Complex Inscriptions

Principal Author: Kevin D.. Finson, Bradley University
Co-Authors: Jon E. Pedersen, University of South Carolina


The purpose of this experiential session is to help science educators understand the role and importance of visual inscriptions in the teaching and learning of science concepts. Experience with a sequence of single-theme visual inscriptions on Devil’s Tower will form the basis for the session. Prior research with inscriptions indicates different eye fixation patterns occur depending upon what is contained within inscriptions and inscription typology (i.e. degree to which one is iconic or symbolic) as noted by Olson (2013). Often, what the learner perceives as a salient feature, called an Area of Interest (AOI) of an inscription is not the same as that identified by inscription designers or instructors. A better understanding of how learners perceive science inscriptions may lead to improved designs of visual inscriptions utilized in science instruction and improved instruction helping learners more effectively discern salient information conveyed in visual inscriptions, how to make use of that in science concept development, and how to use it to convey their own understanding of those concepts.

The session will include review basics typologies of visual inscriptions, perceived AOIs, generation of sample inscriptions and how to deconstruct them, and discussion of future research needs, potential benefits, and implications for science educators.

Throughout the session, activity will be anchored to the following key questions:

1. In what ways do AOIs differ with typology of inscription (i.e. iconic versus symbolic)?

2. What do learners’ AOIs reveal about the locations of the most salient parts of each type of inscription?

3. At what point do learners recognize that more symbolic inscriptions of an object are alternative representations of the iconic inscriptions of that same object?

Paper #10233: Collaborative Professional Development Focused on Promoting Effective Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards

Principal Author: Sarah A. Haines, Towson University


The purpose of this presentation is to examine the design, implementation, and initial outcomes of a collaborative PD program intended to prepare middle and high school educators to effectively implement the NGSS in classrooms with diverse learners. The PD program discussed herein was designed around key principles of effective PD associated with substantial changes in teacher knowledge and practice recommended in the research literature (Darling-Hammond et al, 2009; Guskey, 2002; Reiser, 2013). Implementation of the NGSS requires a significant shift in how teachers plan for and implement instruction in the classroom. In addition, the inclusion of diverse learners in general education settings further intensifies the need for all teachers to have the necessary skills to plan in ways that meet those students’ needs as well. Effective implementation of the new NGSS requires that general and special educators collaborate to ensure meaningful access for students with disabilities. This PD program serves as a model for providing teachers with the required content and pedagogical knowledge as well as the opportunity and skills to engage is such critical collaborations.