2019 International Conference Proceedings

Paper #16028: Utilizing Personalized Learning to Improve Pedagogy in a Preservice Elementary Science Course

Principal Author: Brendan E. Callahan, Kennesaw State University
Co-Authors: Anissa Lokey-Vega, Kennesaw State University


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) both rely heavily on the processes of science to achieve learning. The NGSS formalized these processes into the eight Science and Engineering Practices (SEP). The Georgia Standards of Excellence does not separate these practices from science concepts, however practices are interwoven throughout the standards. Both sets of standards are relatively new. Many college students in Georgia have not been exposed to the new standards in any meaningful way, if at all. As a result, these students will be expected to teach science in a manner different from how they were taught.

Science content instructors must grapple with the problem of a wide range of student backgrounds as they prepare a science course. This is particularly true of preservice elementary education students. Content awareness is a factor in how they teach science. Teachers with stronger content knowledge have a tendency to ask more questions and use scientific practices. However, some students readily admit to not having had high school chemistry or physics, while other students took advanced science coursework at the high school level. Designing a course for these various groups of students has the potential to be very difficult.

For this proposal we are presenting a design case. In this case, we are transforming a successful physical science course designed for preservice elementary teachers into a course that has a more personalized learning structure, meaning the learner has some choice over learning path and pace. Personalized learning is an educational paradigm shift that values learner differences and harnesses technology to allow the educator and learner to co-plan a unique educational experience.

We anticipate that science content instructors and curriculum developers would be most interested in this presentation. Others, such as educational researchers, interested in personalized learning in teacher education would likely be interested in this presentation as well.

Paper #11051: Informal Science Setting Influence on Affective Dimensions of Learning among Education Undergraduates: An Ethnographic Study

Principal Author: Joanne B. Vakil, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Lin Ding, The Ohio State University


This poster presentation is a three-part ethnographic study of pre-service elementary/science teachers and undergraduates completing a non-licensure program preparing them to work with children, youth, and/or families in community settings. Analyzing the affordances of rich, engaging science learning opportunities in informal settings, this research seeks to capture how these experiences traditionally held by a “front-line educator” (National Research Council, 2009, p. 7), help frame prospective teacher identity and impact undergraduate student decisions towards their chosen field of study.  Using the lens of Csikszentmihalyi’s (1975) Flow Experience Theory and the Constructivist perspective of Discovery Learning (Bruner, 1961), the study attempts to encapsulate the informal setting’s influence on the affective dimensions of learning, such as attitudes and confidence. Revealed through inductive analysis of multiple sources of data (site observations, semi-structured interviews, journal reflections, and a survey measuring constructs within the affective and belief domains), the findings from this approach will offer critical perspectives to the study of potential educators in light of the current national shortage of STEM teachers and suggest a re-conceptualization of teacher education that explicitly connects formal with informal learning.

Paper #10235: Secondary Science Teachers’ Understanding of Formative Assessment and Its Practice with Three-Dimensional Teaching and Learning

Principal Author: Yotah A. Koulagna, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Renee Schwartz, Georgia State University


Formative assessment is increasingly recognized as an indispensable process to improve instruction and enhance learning (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Herman, 2013; Kingston & Nash, 2011). However, the concept of formative assessment is elusive, its definition muddled in policy, practice and research due to variable goals and perspectives (Black & Wiliam, 1998; Bennett, 2011; Dunn & Mulvenon, 2009). Its practice is also less enticing to teachers due to dominance of high stake summative assessment (Furtak & Ruiz-Primo, 2008). Attention to this problem is more important now especially in this new era of integrating practices for three-dimensional (3D) teaching and learning advocated by the Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standard (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013). This study employed a qualitative case study to explore secondary science teachers’ understanding of formative assessment and of 3D teaching and learning, how teachers assessed student integrated science knowledge. A purposeful sample of six teachers participated in the study. A situated lens was used as the methodological framework to connect the research problem to the research questions. Data were collected through interviews, observations, and documents. Data were analyzed iteratively with data collection, using thematic analysis, and results interpreted using social constructionist views. The analysis illuminated how these teachers created tasks and used phenomena to elicit evidence about students’ understanding and demonstration of skills and how teachers used the information to improve 3D instruction. Preliminary results indicated that teachers were experimenting with 3D and struggled to apply their understanding of formative assessment to 3D teaching and learning. Suggestions were provided for teachers and stakeholders interested in 3D teaching and learning.

Key words: Formative assessment, Three-dimensional teaching and learning, science teacher



Paper #10234: A Study of The Longitudinal Development of STEM Teacher Education Programs

Principal Author: Keith Sheppard, Stony Brook University
Co-Authors: Margaret Schroeder, University of Kentucky


This case study research investigated the longitudinal development of a group of five Science and Mathematics teacher preparation programs as they progressed through various NSF Robert Noyce awards over the last 15 years.  We were interested in addressing a number of issues. How had the sites, all of which had been deemed successful in terms of recruitment and retention, utilized their sequential awards to develop networks and communities of practice for their students. To what extent, if any, had the Noyce awards changed the STEM teacher practices at the institutions. Had the awards been seen as a progression or were they just individual stand-alone awards solving short-term recruitment goals? To what extent had the awards led to the incorporation of effective practices into the activities and coursework of the teacher preparation programs and what educational rationales were invoked for their decision-making processes.

Looking across the institutions to what extent was the longitudinal development of the programs the objectives, based upon regional criteria and constraints? We hypothesized that teacher preparation programs that have progressed through the various Noyce Track I-II/III-IV and/or Phase II support cycles have created communities of highly qualified STEM teachers who positively influence the next group or cohort of teachers developed at that site.

Paper #10233: Every story counts: Using ethnoastronomy to create a better world.

Principal Author: Richard P. Hechter, University of Manitoba


The challenge facing many science teacher educators in Canada is the active call and expectations for incorporating Indigenous perspectives and knowledge into the provincially governed science curriculum that are in need of a modern refresh. In an attempt to bridge this gap, and in this case bring the Grade 9 astronomy cluster to life to resonate with students, this presentation will tell the story of how my preservice science teachers and I used star lore and ethnoastronomy, free and accessible astronomy software, and roots of social reconstructionism to engage in meaningful learning, discourse, and thinking. This presentation will outline where in this activity we spent time exploring our beliefs of where science and culture meet, part, and abut. I will  share student voices reflecting where they wrestled with questions and answers as to how we as science teachers can positively impact our students by helping develop problem solvers and critical thinkers to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, namely; racism and social justice. Sharing this narrative of our three phase activity will be done by weaving of stories of ethnoastronomy with articulating with images our use of technology to assist us in learning about introductory astronomical concepts, and virtually placing us beside our cultural ancestors in time and place to see what they saw, and then summarizing our collective hope and vision that through sharing and learning these culturally-based stories, in conjuction with those from the traditional science realm, our future students can create a better world.  

Paper #10232: Why Does Linking Science and Literacy across Grades K-5 Consistently Result in Higher Achievement Outcomes: An Explanatory Framework to Support Policy Change in Elementary Science

Principal Author: Nancy Romance, Florida Atlantic University
Co-Authors: Michael Vitale, East CArolina University


Early NGSS-oriented science learning across grades K-5 has been shown to have a lasting impact on student learning in science beyond elementary as well as future career opportunities. Even more so, early science learning linked with literacy development, especially building reading comprehension, writing and communication skills, provides an even more robust model in which both NGSS and CCSS ELA standards can be effectively implemented. Presented will be a description of the conceptual framework resulting from a multi-year set of data as well as year 3 results from a current NSF DR K12 grade 1-2 project which, combined,  offer a well grounded rationale for why integration leads to powerful and transferable results in both subjects. The overall potential contribution will be providing science educators with a way in which to work with schools districts to change policies leading to increased instructional time for elementary science for all students, even those here-to-fore deemed poor readers.

Paper #11049: How First-Grade English Learners Used Language During STEM Lessons

Principal Author: Karina Mendez Perez, Trinity University
Co-Authors: Ellen Barnett, Trinity University; Rocio Delgado, Trinity University


A Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Research Council (NRC), 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NGSS Lead States, 2013) promote scientific literacy and more equitable access to engage in scientific and engineering practices for all. As Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) increase in societal importance (NRC, 2012) linguistic diversity in the U.S. continues to increase (Shin & Ortman, 2011). Educators serving English Learners (ELs) must integrate linguistic supports to foster ELs’ language development and STEM understanding; however, there is limited literature describing the relationships between ELs’ science knowledge and language learning (Buxton & Lee, 2014), and teachers are often unprepared to support ELs (Bryan & Atwater, 2002). This case study of ELs’ language use during STEM lessons addresses this gap. The study was conducted in a first-grade bilingual (Spanish/English) class of 13 students participating in a STEM infused Problem Based Learning Unit. Situated Learning Theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), which posits that learning occurs because of interaction between person, activity, and world, framed the study. Data collected included: observations of whole class and small group STEM instruction, students’ conversations and expressions of their ideas (e.g., written responses to prompts and student-created maps and models), and a 90-minute semi-structured interview with the teacher. Data were anonymized, transcribed, and analyzed using open and axial coding with NVivo12. Emergent categories informed themes. Findings suggested that ELs language use during STEM lessons differed based on the situation, including the EL’s language preference and language proficiency levels, opportunity to engage in STEM practices, and connections to EL’s lived experiences. The teacher’s integration of linguistic scaffolds within STEM activities positioned ELs as legitimate peripheral participants in diverse linguistic and STEM communities. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Paper #10231: Themes in Prospective Middle School Teachers’ Personal and Professional Views about Evolution and its Teaching

Principal Author: José M. Pavez, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Sandhya Krishnan, University of Georgia; David F. Jackson, University of Georgia


learning of evolution in light of the prevalence of creationist beliefs in the Southeastern U.S., and analyze the student responses to a writing prompt challenging them to confront their own personal beliefs and their relationship to their professional intentions in this area. Major themes and dimensions identified include: Religious Beliefs; Understanding and Acceptance of Evolution; Relationship between Religion and Science; and Intentions regarding Teaching of Evolution, with the latter subdivided into the sub-dimensions of: Initiative and Reasons to Teach Evolution; Specific Strategies for Teaching Evolution; Relevance and Disclosure of Personal Beliefs; Teaching of Creationism or Intelligent Design; and Classroom Environment.

Paper #10229: Lesson study as an instructional strategy in a science methods course: Participants’ perspectives

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


There is often a disconnect that occurs between what teacher candidates are taught in their courses and the opportunities to enact these practices in their school placements.  One potential method of bridging the gap between science teaching 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.


The current study incorporated lesson study as a component of an elementary science methods course. The question driving the study was, “Can lesson study be beneficial in a science methods course?”.  This presentation focuses on a subtopic of the driving question, “What are prospective teachers’ perceptions of lesson study as a component of a science methods course?”  The study was conducted with 27 teacher candidates enrolled in an elementary science methods course. Data collected include multiple written reflections during various stages of the lesson study process.   


Findings indicate that most candidates’ individual goals were met through the process of lesson study.  Themes of specific goals met include:  Improve science teaching, gain insight on student learning, gain feedback from peers and mentors, learn from different perspectives of peers, and learn how to collaborate with peers. Interestingly, candidates felt conflicted about collaborating with peers. Many candidates viewed the process of lesson study as a “group project” rather than a professional learning community in which they can learn from their peers; this may have hindered some participants from reaching their individual goals. 


Information presented will include participants’ perspectives of lesson study as a component of a science methods course, a connection to what the literature suggests about the participants’ responses, and a discussion on how these findings can impact the design of a science methods course.  There will also be a discussion of the conflict the participants had about the collaboration process. 

Paper #14007: Creating, Sustaining, and Iteratively Improving a “Third Space” for Science Methods Courses based at a Professional Development Middle School

Principal Author: David F. Jackson, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Meganne Skinner, Hilsman Middle School; Shaughnessy McCann, Hilsman Middle School; Kayla Flanagan, University of Georgia


University-based science teacher education courses face the great disadvantage of not having regular access to current teachers and students, and the perspectives on practical realities that they can contribute. Yet a combination of factors often prevent “site-based” courses from fulfilling what many stakeholders perceive to be their great potential.

This session incorporates presentations from three different perspectives (university professor, multiple middle school teachers, doctoral student TA) on the first two years of a collaborative effort to create, sustain, and iteratively improve two science methods courses for prospective middle school science teachers in the context of an urban, Title I Professional Development School, one specific to the teaching of 8th Grade Physical Science and another to the teaching of 6th Grade Earth/Space Science and 7th Grade Life Science.

Our general goal was to establish a legitimate “third space” (cf. Vick, 2018) professional and educational environment, characterized by “an equal and more dialectical relationship between academic and practitioner knowledge in support of student teacher learning” (Zeichner, 2010, p. 92).

We begin with a brief history of previous efforts, over multiple decades, of one of the authors and previous colleagues to incorporate various forms of piecemeal field experiences for prospective middle grades science teachers and to include practicing middle school teachers as irregular cooperating instructors, and describe how we drew on those experiences and on the efforts of other close colleagues to institute site-based science methods courses at the secondary and elementary levels.

We then give an account of our perceptions of the results (apparent achievements and definite aspects in need of improvement) of two iterations of our efforts in 8th Grade classrooms and one in 6th-7th Grades, in the first case including many details of how this year’s implementation differed significantly from last year’s based on our significant redesign in light of students’ and colleagues’ feedback and reflection.

Paper #10227: History of science in science education: Efforts, research, and implications for science teacher education.

Principal Author: Zhihong Xu, Texas A&M University
Co-Authors: Sijin Yan, Texas A&M University; Michael P.. Clough, Texas A&M University


A long-advocated approach for addressing the misportrayal of science and scientists is incorporating the history of science (HOS) in science teaching. Many different approaches for achieving this have been advocated and produced, but have rarely impacted practice in meaningful and enduring ways. This contrast between the persistent call for history of science in science teaching and its actual use is deserving of study. Thus, we set out to investigate the following:

  1. What rationales have been put forward for history of science in science education?
  2. What general approaches have been advocated for incorporating the history of science in science education, and what instructional materials have been produced reflecting these general approaches?
  3. What positions regarding the history of science in science education are well-supported by empirical evidence? What discordant positions exist?

Claims regarding the value of HOS for teaching and learning science include the following:

  • The HOS can help teachers understand students’ difficulties learning science ideas and the tenacity of misconceptions.
  • The HOS can assist teachers in understanding why telling and showing do not compel students to change their thinking.
  • The HOS can help students understand the complexity of learning science and identify with past scientists’ struggles, thus possibly increasing perseverance.
  • The HOS can help improve students’ attitude toward and interest in science and science education.
  • The HOS can assist in promoting a deeper understanding of science content.
  • The HOS is essential for truly understanding the nature of science.
  • The HOS is intrinsically worthwhile
  • The HOS can help students understand how science impacts and has been impacted by other disciplines.

However, empirical evidence for these claims generally fall well short of convincing most science teachers, curriculum developers, and policymakers that the HOS should play a significant role in science education.  Implications for science teacher education and future research are put forward.

Paper #10226: Implementing STEM in the International School.

Principal Author: Michael W.. Schulteis, Concordia University Irvine


International schools for the children of expatriates can be found around the globe.  The curriculum typically follows that of the home country of the founding school leadership and/or the International Baccalaureate system (https://www.ibo.org/).  The researcher spent one academic year teaching STEM at an American curriculum international school in Shanghai, China, to learn about the culture of international schools, methods for STEM education, comparison of NGSS alignment, and the implications for science teachers abroad.  The presentation describes the researcher’s findings about advantages and difficulties in teaching STEM abroad both on a personal and a professional level.  Curriculum implementation was shown to have a myriad of possibilities and although based on NGSS, can be complicated by the lack of common experience of the internationally diverse student population.  Finally, living abroad for work is discussed in the many fascinating ways that it changes one’s perspective on our place in the global community.

Paper #10225: A comparison of two liberal arts teacher education science methods course: How much time should be allocated the teaching of science as Inquiry?

Principal Author: Lori A.. Smolleck, Bucknell University
Co-Authors: Jennie M.. Carr, Bridgewater College


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of allocated instructional time on participants understanding of teaching science as inquiry in the elementary setting. The critical incidents within two science methods courses that influenced participant knowledge are reported.


Qualitative data sources were utilized.  Participants were enrolled in a science methods course at two Mid-Atlantic institutions during the time of data collection. The researcher at Institution A’s elementary science methods course is focused entirely on teaching science as inquiry for a semester. The researcher at Institution B used teaching science as inquiry as 5 session component of a general elementary curriculum methods course.


Data were collected from the participants in an attempt to gather data concerning student views and understandings related to the teaching of science as inquiry. The reflective assessment instrument was administered using a pre-test post-test design. The methods of choice for analyzing this data were grounded theory and text analysis (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). In an attempt to understand the participants’ experiences, the categories and concepts that emerged from participant responses to these prompts were identified. The researchers then linked these emerging ideas to substantive and formal theories (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000).

Findings revealed that participation in a full semester science methods courses produced a more significant increase in the content knowledge related to the teaching of science as inquiry. Furthermore, the specific components of the courses that were most useful for improving the content knowledge of the participants are discussed. To conclude, the researchers will recommend research based suggestions regarding the ways in which preservice teachers’ knowledge in relation to the teaching science as inquiry can be improved upon as a result of experiences within teacher education.

Paper #10223: Re-kindling wonder in preservice teachers

Principal Author: Josie C. Melton, Western Washington University


This session describes a study designed to learn how activities to develop wonder in elementary preservice teachers influenced partipants' experiences during a science methods course and informed thier vision of practice.  The phenomenological case study used course artifacts and open-ended interviews to describe the personal experience of preservice teachers throughout the wonder-based course and how those experiences shifted their pedagogical approach.  All data was analyzed qualitatively and reveals that a separate content thread focused on a sense of wonder can complement an inquiry-based methods course.  Participants described shifts in their personal conceptions of nature as well as in their approach to teaching science. 


Paper #10222: Examining the Impact of Collaboration and Shared Leadership Practices in Professional Learning Communities

Principal Author: Kimberly B.. Myers, Texas Tech University/Ph.D. Student


The purpose of this research investigation was to examine collaboration and shared leadership practices on perceived teaching practices and student achievement within the STEM classroom. This study used an embedded case study design to examine these collaborative practices on teaching and learning outcomes. Evidence of effectiveness was measured through PLC observations and artifacts, teacher interviews, and student achievement data from the End-of-Course (EOC) state exams that were administered at the end of the school year. Outcomes for this study revealed that: 1. Collaborative, shared leadership practices were shown to contribute to the collective responsibility for each of the PLC team members; 2. Perceived teaching practices and collaborative, shared leadership practices in PLCs were shown to be correlated; and 3. Student achievement was shown to improve for the higher-level categories when teachers actively engaged in weekly, collaborative PLCs each week. The results of this study suggest more guidance and structure from school systems to enhance and sustain effective PLC practices throughout schools, school districts, and preservice training programs. Through collaborative, shared leadership experiences, teachers can improve instructional practices that will ultimately benefit student achievement in learning.

Paper #10221: The Relationship of Teaching Beliefs to Paraprofessional Preservice Teachers’ Self-Efficacy for Teaching Elementary Science

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


Paraprofessionals, or teachers’ aides, have the potential to become excellent teachers due to their prior work experiences in schools, but little research has focused on the nature of their work as teachers.  In particular, it is unclear whether they will more closely resemble more experienced teachers or novice teachers who often have low self-efficacy regarding teaching science.  The current study seeks to understand the teaching beliefs of paraprofessional preservice teachers and whether those beliefs inform their self-efficacy for teaching elementary science.  This study takes place within a framework that draws upon situated learning theory and self-efficacy theory, as well as literature regarding teacher beliefs and their relationships to teaching and learning.  Participants took part in semi-structured interviews that incorporated the Teaching Beliefs Interview protocol (Luft & Roehrig, 2007) as well as questions that explored their prior work experiences and science teaching self-efficacy.  The current study finds that these candidates tend to hold more teaching beliefs in transition between teacher-centered and student-centered beliefs than might be expected from typical novice teachers, though their beliefs still tend toward teacher-centeredness.  Connections between these findings and participants’ self-efficacy beliefs and funds of knowledge for teaching science will be discussed.    

Paper #10220: Increasing Elementary Student STEM Attitudes by Providing Educators with a Choice as to what STEM Materials to Purchase

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


STEM funds and research tend to surround the secondary levels of education, leaving our youngest and most eager learners to pick up on STEM using old resources, or not even learning STEM in the early elementary grades. However, students in the elementary grades are natural scientists, learning about the world around them through the practices of science and engineering. Supporting this natural curiosity at the elementary level may lead to more prepared and knowledgeable students at the secondary level. This presentation provides the results of Nevada’s Office of Science Innovation and Technology K-5 STEM Grant. The grant provides k-5 educators and schools with resources to implement STEM in the elementary grades. Teachers and schools who received funding through the grant were able to choose the materials or program they wanted to implement in their classroom, giving a voice to elementary teachers who tend to be subjected to the traditional top-down approach to program adoption. Barriers to STEM implementation commonly stated by elementary teachers include lack of time, resources, and personal knowledge surrounding STEM. The goal of funding k-5 classrooms is to increase access to STEM materials for both teachers and students as well as increase attitudes towards STEM subjects for elementary grades. Doing so may increase the number of students who apply for STEM coursework in the middle grades. Students were given a STEM interest survey as a pretest and posttest, and data were analyzed using a Chi-Square analysis. Results of the k-2 interest survey conclude that student interest towards engineering increased between testing administrations (N = 657; p = 0.001). At the 3-5 level the Chi-Square revealed increases to interests in technology and mathematics (N = 3419; p < 0.001). This research suggests teachers should be given a choice when teaching STEM in their classrooms, and when doing so they can create a desire in their students to pursue STEM more often, and have greater attitudes towards STEM subjects and careers, even in the early elementary grades.

Paper #10219: Peer Coaching – Supporting the Development of Nature of Science Knowledge and Classroom Practice

Principal Author: Cary W.. Sell, The University of Georgia


For science teachers to be able to teach in the manner that is being called for in current reform documents such as the Next Generation Science Standards, they should have knowledge of the nature of science (NOS) and knowledge of how to incorporate NOS concepts into their classroom practice.  Designing professional development programs that provide the necessary structure for teachers to gain knowledge of NOS and gain the knowledge necessary to teach NOS is an important task for teacher educators.   This study incorporates peer coaching, as part of a community of practice, into such a professional development to determine its efficacy as a support system for developing knowledge of NOS.   In an embedded mixed methods study design which made use of cross case analysis, five secondary science teachers from a suburban high school experienced a 15-week professional development program, utilizing peer coaching as a support system, to help them develop knowledge of NOS and the skills to teach NOS.   The VNOS-C was administered to participants prior to and also after the program. VNOS-C data was quantized for pre/post comparisons. Qualitative data (e.g. interviews, observations, artifacts) was used to determine the efficacy of the different aspects of the PD program.   Using the Wilcoxon Ranked Sumtest, a significant positive change (p<.05) was found in the VNOS-C results when compared pre/post.   Qualitative analysis revealed that along with professional reading and reflecting as a group on what was being learned, a multi-faceted one-on-one relationship resulting from peer coaching was perceived by the participants as being an important support in helping them develop knowledge of NOS and skills to teach NOS.    The results suggested that inclusion of peer coaching as part of a community of practice would be a beneficial addition to PD for in-service teachers learning NOS concepts.  Results also suggested that more study is needed regarding what factors, such as science discipline, may influence how teachers internalize NOS concepts.

Paper #11047: Exploring the affordances of emergent instructional technology on students’ motivation in and understanding of secondary biology instruction

Principal Author: Paul R. Munshower, McMurry University


Virtual reality (VR) technologies are designed to be both realistic and interactive such to create compelling virtual environments (VEs) for the user. Through the use of quality graphic images, touch feedback, simulated movements and auditory stimuli, they are able to induce presence, the psychological perception of physically being in the VE environment (Witmer & Singer, 1998). Considering the unique affordances of technologies to the user, VEs have the potential to enable students to learn science in dynamic new ways: visualizing abstract science concepts in 3-D (Merchant et al., 2013); practicing procedural skills (Ruthenbeck & Reynolds, 2015); and interacting directly with scientific phenomena (Sampaio, Ferreira, Rosário, & Martins, 2010). This research hopes to add to the growing body of literature in VR and formal science learning (see Jones et al., 2016), especially in students’ perceptions of their own learning, including measuring their interest, movitation and identity as scientists (Hite, 2016).

Paper #10218: How Well Does the edTPA Predict the Quality of Teachers’ Classroom Practice?

Principal Author: Dawnne M. LePretre, Illinois Institute of Technology
Co-Authors: Selina L. Bartels, Valparaiso University; Judith S.. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology


The edTPA is used as a benchmark in the licensure of teachers.  This raises the question of how well it predicts teacher practice in the classroom?  The sample consisted of five educators teaching the same subject with the same grade level from preservice (pre) to inservice (post) in the same or similar circumstances.  edTPA rubrics utilized were from Task 2: Instruction: 6, 7, 8 & 9 and Task 3: Assessment: 12 & 13. Rubrics from Task 1: Planning were not used as daily lesson plans were not required in the samples’ schools. Two certified edTPA Pearson scorers determined two teachers improved their instructional practice as measured by rubrics 7, 8 & 9, one teacher exhibited no overall change in practice, but did exhibit changes between rubrics 7 & 9, and two teachers did not maintain nor improve upon their practice as measured across all five rubrics. The edTPA adequately predicted satisfactory teacher performance only 60% of the time in this study.  See Table 2 for further detail  


Teacher one is an Algebra I teacher at an urban public school with a final edTPA score of 42. Her scores on the Instruction and Assessment tasks were 12 and 9 respectively (21 total) with inservice scores of 19 and 9 (28 total).  


Teacher two is a Chemistry teacher in an urban public school earning an edTPA score of 46. Her preservice scores on the two tasks were 12 and 10 respectively (22) and decreased to scores of 6 and 6 respectively for inservice (12).     


Teacher three is a Physics teacher in an all male private school with an edTPA score of 53.  Her scores were 15 and 10 respectively (25) for both preservice and inservice with some differences among the rubrics.       


Teacher four is a Physics teacher in a rural public school, earning 53 on the edTPA.  Her scores were 14 and 12 (26) in preservice, while the inservice scores were 10 and 6 (16).


Teacher five is a Physics teacher at an urban public school, earning a score of 49. His preservice scores were 12 and 10 respectively (22) and 15 and 11 respectively in the post-observation (26).     


Paper #10217: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial of an NGSS-Aligned High School Unit that Integrates Evolution and Heredity

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


We report on a new Next Generation Science Standards-aligned eight-week evolution unit for ninth- and tenth-grade introductory biology students, and the results from a national field test evaluating the unit’s impact on student learning compared to a control condition. The unit, Evolution: DNA and the Unity of Life, provides students opportunities to build a coherent understanding of evolution through (a) inclusion of pertinent heredity core ideas; (b) analysis and interpretation of skill-level-appropriate data about phenomena in published scientific research; (c) the construction of evidence-based arguments, and (d) the integration of crosscutting concepts such as patterns. Results from a national pilot test with 20 teachers and their students in the 2016-2017 school year showed significant student conceptual and science practice learning gains and teacher advancement in skillful implementation of relevant NGSS practices. In 2017-2018, we conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) curriculum field test, in which teacher participants (and thus their students) were randomly assigned to either the treatment group (new unit, n=17) or the control group (business-as-usual, n=21). Field test results indicate that students who received the new curriculum unit had significantly higher learning gains (F(1, 1935)=14.6 p=<.001) than those in the control group, who did not receive the unit.  The estimated Cohen d effect size was 0.6. We will report on the RCT results in this presentation and describe plans for further curriculum development and research.

Paper #10216: Teacher Leadership to Drive STEM Programming in Emerging STEM Schools

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


National reports (e.g., Carnegie Corporation 2009; National Research Council 2012a) call for increased attention to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education to better prepare students for the demands of a scientific, technical, creative and critical thinking workforce (Honey, Pearson, & Schweingruber, 2014; Vilorio, 2014). One mechanism to promote quality STEM Education is the development of inclusive STEM schools.  Most existing STEM schools were opened specifically with this purpose, however, in order for quality STEM to be broadly available to all students it is critical that the process of developing STEM programming within traditional public schools be further explored.  Thus, this project examined the ways in which STEM programming was developed by teacher leadership STEM teams within three existing public schools to inform future directions for this approach.

This multiple case study (Yin, 2014) explored the ways in which teacher leaders, through STEM communities of practice (STEM teams), developed STEM programming across three public school contexts.  Data were collected during the 2016-2017 school year as the STEM teacher teams initiated programming that would support their schools becoming STEM schools.  Data collection measures included (a) pre/post teacher and administrator interviews, (b) audio recorded team meetings throughout the year, (c) STEM Inventory survey responses evaluating 14 critical components for effective inclusive STEM schools (Behrend et al., 2016), (d) STEM team focus group reflection on survey responses, and (e) researcher field notes.  Data were analyzed using qualitative methods.

Four themes emerged from this research:  (a) instructional leadership for driving reform-based practices was important to STEM curriculum work; (b) certain approaches to building STEM curriculum were more productive than others; (c) teachers need school-level systems that support this work to sustain STEM program efforts; and (d) authentic STEM came from valuing the culture of the community and was centered on students.

Paper #10215: URM Students’ Perceptions of TH!NKing Through Active Learning in a Large-Lecture Classroom

Principal Author: Michelle L. Nugent, North Carolina State University
Co-Authors: Miriam G. Ferzli, North Carolina State University; Margaret R. Blanchard, North Carolina State University


Incorporating active learning in college classrooms has been targeted as a way to improve persistence and learning among all students.  Active learning interventions have been particularly beneficial for underrepresented minority (URM) students.  However, many studies use final exam and test scores as indicators of success, which does not inform educators about the actual mechanisms that underlie improved learning, nor does it address potential long-term improvements based on the activity, such as improved study skills.  This study examines the student perspective to gain insight about the specific aspects of activities focused on cultivating critical and creative thinking in a large-lecture introductory biology course.  Multiple survey instruments, open-ended just-in-time questions, and repeated classroom observations were used for this study.  Through reflection-based open-ended questions, students were asked to identify the aspects of classroom activities that they find most beneficial to their learning.  Based on response frequencies, data indicated that URM students identify practicing and asking questions in real-time (70.3%), working with peers (64.8%), and reviewing the quality of the notes they have taken (61.8%) as the most beneficial aspects of active learning tasks.  Data also show that only certain of these benefits transfer with respect to subsequent study methods, as a large number of students report using the activities as a study reference (71.3%), however, many students continue to use inefficient study methods and few students form study groups (36.5%) despite the recognized value of working with peers.  As college student populations continue to become more diverse, instructional practices must be improved to be more inclusive of and effective for a wider range of learners in order to support improved persistence of those who have been underrepresented in STEM fields.

Paper #10214: Consideration of NSTA E-Learning Center SciPacks for Preparing Middle Level Teacher Candidates

Principal Author: Nate Carnes, University of South Carolina
Co-Authors: Flavio Mendez, National Science Teachers Association; Christine Lotter, University of South Carolina


By several accounts, the use of e-texts is on the rise. This presentation seeks to highlight a comparison between an e-text bundle and a certification examination that middle level teacher candidates may have to pass in partial fulfillment of certification requirements. Over the past five years, we required our middle level teacher candidates to purchase the National Science Teachers Association Learning Center (NSTA LC), replacing the traditional science methods textbooks that we used in the past. Our colleagues at over 100 colleges and universities have opted to use this resource as their online textbook, as well. The NSTA LC online textbook option is a bundled product that consists of several online resources, including 25 SciPacks.

Seeking to add to scholarly discussions about the increasing use of e-texts, we investigated the alignment of NSTA SciPacks with the ETS Test-at-a-Glance document for the Praxis II Middle Level Science examination with an intent to determine the alignment between the two. Given the breadth and diversity of resources that the NSTA Learning Center offered, we limited our attention to the SciPacks to make our investigation a more manageable one. SciPacks are digital resources that teacher candidates can use to develop and enhance their understanding of specific science concepts and related instructional implications (i.e. addressing common misconceptions). We incorporated the use of summative content analysis (Hseih & Shannon, 2005) to answer our question. This research method starts with identifying and quantifying specific words or content. The intent is to explore usage, but not to infer meaning. So, we searched the SciPacks identified for middle level science content and matched words and phrases with the similar or the exact theory, principle, concept, or fact that appeared in the ETS Test-at-a-Glance document. We found that the online modules were well connected to the exam topics.

Paper #10213: What Elements Matter in Preparing Science and Math Teachers for High-Need Schools?

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


Teacher education programs have long been criticized for being irrelevant to what teachers actually face once they enter the classrooms, particularly to meet the needs of diverse students in underserved communities (Akiba, 2011; Carlson, 1999; Clandinin, 1995; Levine, 2006; Liston, Borko and Whitcomb, 2008; Sleeter, 2008; Wilson, 2014).    Teachers must be prepared for the “work of teaching”, (Loewenberg Ball & Forzani, 2009) or the practices, tasks and activities that new teachers must navigate to acclimate to a classroom of his/her own.  This study of a specialized teacher preparation program that includes a year-long clinical residency seeks to uncover the elements of the program that new teachers and their mentors view as most relevant and useful in preparing them to teach in high-need schools. Through qualitative analysis of a variety of data sources including observation rubrics, questionnaires, teacher reflections, interviews and field notes, the authors constructed a case study of novice teachers working in high-need schools in a major metropolitan area of the northeastern United States. Preliminary data analysis shows elements of strength included the cohort model, extended clinical residency, continued support during the induction year, and hands-on professional development activities relevant to the day-to-day work of teaching. This presentation will amplify the novice teachers’ voices about what was most effective in their program, but triangulate those findings with evidence from rubrics assessing their teaching, their mentors’ perspectives, edTPA scores, and other pieces of evidence. We expect to generate a discussion of how best to meet the needs of novice teachers while still ensuring their effectiveness as teachers, particularly in high-need schools.

Paper #11045: ReModeling: Transforming Models by Design to Facilitate Sophisticated Sensemaking Skills

Principal Author: Jaclyn K. Murray, Augusta University


Modeling is the most challenging science practice for students to understand and for prospective and in-service teachers to teach.  If students were to create or use a physical model of a physical system, how would they determine what data is meaningful for developing a new model that focuses on specific data pattern(s)?  How do these data patterns help us to make sense of the phenomenon?  And how do we best represent this pattern with a model?  This investigation proposes that students utilize a dynamic pendulum model in a simulated environment to answer a student- or teacher-generated question.  Guided by their question, students plan an investigation to collect meaningful data from the original model.  After students analyze the data and identify patterns through iterative design by creating graphs and applying statistics, they can develop a mathematical model that describes one or more elements of the phenomenon.

Paper #10212: Who Likes STEM More? Exploring Gender Differences in Attitudes Towards STEM

Principal Author: Abeera P.. Rehmat, Purdue University
Co-Authors: Marissa C.. Owens, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals are critical to America’s thriving economy, innovative capacity and global dominance. As more jobs continue to grow in these fields, fewer students are prepared to pursue these jobs. This decrease is even more evident among females. Although the female population makes up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college educated workforce, they are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs.  This lack of gender equality in STEM is concerning. Educators are now required to think of innovative ways to engage and prepare students for current and future challenges while cultivating an interest among students in STEM disciplines, particularly females. With that in mind, this quantitative, quasi-experimental repeated measures study was conducted with 52 fourth grade students. The study utilized the upper elementary attitude S-STEM survey developed by Friday Institute for Educational Innovation (2012) to investigate gender attitude differences towards STEM in a problem-based learning environment.  The quantitative results revealed that over time both genders showed a shift in their attitudes towards STEM. However, a significant difference in means between males and females on the post STEM attitude survey was found.

Paper #10210: FLORES: Family Learning and Outreach for Research and Education in STEM

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


The FLORES program consists of a school-community partnership, where the university trains elementary teachers how to implement it. Families come to their local elementary school for evening sessions where a STEM activity engages parents and children; dinner is provided. Through the sessions, parents learn how to support investigation through questioning. The shared community dinner builds the connection among the low-income families, teachers and school.

Currently, FLORES is conducted in English and Spanish in diverse urban settings in the northeastern US where we engage low-income families in science and engineering activities. In Fall 2018, we are expanding the model in three ways: first, by adding another module to the program offerings to include coding, second, by implementing the program in Ireland, and third, by including pre-service teachers in our implementations. This presentation will study the challenges and successes of this expanded implementation. We also would like other universities to implement the model, through sharing our research we can invite others to become involved.

Research Questions:

  • How does parents’ self-efficacy toward “doing STEM” develop over the course of participating in FLORES?
  • How does the FLORES experience contribute to the development of early childhood teacher candidates?

While this work is a continuation of study on the FLORES model, our data collection to examine preservice teachers’ role and development is new and will begin in Fall 2018. Research during the past five years illustrates that FLORES is a worthwhile program that can be implemented by districts for a minimal cost. Researchers readily observe that parents are engaged during sessions with both content and their children and are able to successfully navigate STEM activities. We find that FLORES is a valuable method of improving and developing family STEM engagement. Literature supports family engagement for the betterment of children’s interest and learning, as well as the long-term benefit of the low-income communities we seek to support through this program.

Paper #10209: Personal Meaning Mapping Assessment for Interdisciplinary Emerging Pathogens Professional Development

Principal Author: Kathryn A. Stofer, University of Florida
Co-Authors: Julie Bokor, University of Florida; Mary Jo Koroly, University of Florida; Madison Jones, University of Florida; Caitlin Price, University of Florida; Stephanie Guimaraes, University of Florida


Teacher professional development must incorporate content development, especially on contemporary complex, authentic topics at the forefront of scientific research. The field lacks current research in infectious disease education regarding the efficacy of workshops on teachers’ overall conceptual knowledge. Emerging Pathogens is an interdisciplinary topic that is relevant to students’ lives, and that affects the human, agricultural and economic health of their communities. Therefore, we present the results of teacher content changes before and after a two-week residential university workshop on emerging pathogens using qualitative personal meaning mapping rather than quantitative pre- and post-tests on content. 15 teacher participants in 2017 teacher participants taught a variety of 9th-12th grade classes, from foundational biology and marine science through advanced placement. Their pre-workshop meaning maps contained a total of 579 nodes, an average of 39 ideas per teacher map, while post-workshop maps had 928 nodes, or 62 ideas per teacher map, for an increase of nearly 50%. The most common theme in the pre-workshop maps was medical, at 48% of nodes on the maps, followed by scientific (16%) and investigation (11%). After the workshop, the distribution of nodes shifted; while medical was still the most prevalent theme at 40% and scientific remained at 16%, organisms increased to 12%, people increased to 10%, and education increased to 9%. Based on Wilcoxon signed rank tests, the increase in organisms frequency was significant at p < .05. Our alternative qualitative assessment demonstrates true content increases contextualized by a teacher’s own background rather than forcing an assessment based on a standard expected outcome, which may or may not adequately capture increases and benefits derived especially by outlier teachers entering with a stronger or weaker background than average.

An additional 22 teachers participated in the June 2018 professional development; their results are currently undergoing analysis and will be presented at the conference as well. 

Paper #10208: Preparing Preservice Teachers to Teach Science to English Learners: A Review of Literature

Principal Author: Alexis Rutt, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Frackson Mumba, University of Virginia; Amanda Kibler, University of Virginia


Classrooms in the United States are becoming increasingly diverse. English Learners (ELs) now account for one-tenth of the K-12 student population (Lyon, 2016) and are present in geographical areas that traditionally have not seen much linguistic diversity (Lee & Buxton, 2010). This growing prevalence of ELs in many classrooms across the United States means that most teachers will likely have the opportunity to teach ELs at some point in their careers (Ballantyne, Sanderman, & Levy, 2008). Unfortunately, few preservice teachers (PSTs) receive training on how to effectively teach science to ELs in mainstream science classrooms, especially at the secondary level (Buxton & Lee, 2014), and as a result, many PSTs do not feel well-prepared to teach ELs (Durgunoglu & Hughes, 2010).

Most prior research on preparing teachers to teach science to ELs has been done with in-service teachers at the elementary level. Recently, however, research as begun to emerge that addresses preparing preservice science teachers to teach science to ELs. The purpose of this literature review was to examine the extant research to identify what components of preservice teacher training programs have been found to be effective for preparing PSTs to teach science to ELs.

Results indicated that, despite a variety of intervention types, some components were found to be effective across multiple interventions. These included integrating language and science methods courses, ensuring cohesion across methods courses and practicum experiences, and providing ample opportunities for PSTs to engage in and practice targeted instructional practices, especially in classrooms including ELs. Despite the effectiveness of these components, challenges remained, including PSTs’ struggles to translate their knowledge about targeted practices into planning and instruction. The results of this review can inform the development of science teacher preparation programs and direct future research for preparing preservice science teachers to teach the United States’ increasingly diverse K-12 population.

Paper #10207: CyberSecurity and Technology: How Do They Fit into a Science Classroom?

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


This study bridges discipline silos between science courses and computer science by indicating how they fit into and complement each other. A study of eight K12 teachers and 26 K12 secondary students participated in a GenCyber (cybersecurity) camp for a week during July 2018. External evaluations of the camp show its success and how cybersecurity fits into science and mathematics classrooms. This GenCyber camp was a five-day introductory camp for middle school and high school teachers and students. The GenCyber camp offered morning modules of CORE instruction, or cyber-oriented reinforced education, with the afternoon focused on differentiated learning adventures for teachers and students in specialized subject options engaging in hands-on labs. Most instruction utilized Micro:bit technology. Teachers and students made explicit connections to chemistry (battery function chemistry, sensors), physics (frequency, particle vs. wave, movement, acceleration, photon detection, magnetic fields), biology (simulating biological behavior, synchronizing, pattern detection) and mathematics (matrix, functions, modeling, unit conversion).

Paper #11044: A measurement of self-efficacy, school climate, and burnout in Louisiana science teachers

Principal Author: Leiflyn Gamborg, Louisiana State University


The current literature and research centeralized on teacher burnout fails to acknowledge key characteristics and background of the individual teacher. This especially holds true when examining burnout in science teachers and between those who are alternatively licensed and those who completed a traditional certification program. Given that the state of Louisiana has reported increased rates of attrition as well as promoting these alternatively licensed programs for this subject area, understanding the dynamics of burnout becomes imperative. This presentation of research in progress attempts to measure and examine different dimensions of burnout in relation to self-efficacy, perceived school climate and how these differ by one’s certification experience.

Paper #13014: Exploring Engineering and Computational Thinking in Integrated STEM

Principal Author: Kristina M. Tank, Iowa State University
Co-Authors: Elizabeth Gajdzik, Purdue University; Ibrahim Yeter, Purdue University; Tamara J.. Moore, Purdue University; Monica E. Cardella, Purdue University


With the increasing attention being placed on integrated STEM instruction (NRC, 2014) and with the integration of engineering and computational thinking (CT) into K-12 science classrooms that is seen as (more than %50 states) states implemented and adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013), recommendations are being made for teachers to integrate content, pedagogy, and thinking skills from these two areas into their science instruction. While these areas are cross-disciplinary in nature and provide an opportunity for thinking about meaningful STEM integration, most teachers are being asked to integrate two areas in which they have little background or experience (Banilower et al., 2013; Yadev, Stephenson, & Hong, 2017). This is problematic as the integration of multiple areas requires teachers to have a deep understanding of each discipline as well as a knowledge of how these concepts relate to each other and to what we want students to be learning in the classroom (Frykholm & Glasson, 2005).


Through participation in an externally funded project focused on integrating STEM and CT for early elementary students in both in-school and out-of-school environments, this exploratory session will engage participants in a short, shared experience with two different models before engaging participants in a roundtable discussion around integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) plus computational thinking (CT). This session is designed to provide a space for exploring and discussing the integration of engineering, and CT into STEM as well as identifying the challenges and opportunities associated with science teachers’ implementation and integration of these two areas into elementary science instruction.

Paper #10206: Exploring New Teacher Beliefs: Identity, Homelife, and Culture in the Classroom

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


A growing shortage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students, teachers and professionals seen by many as a threat to the nation’s global economic standing. The lack of quality STEM teachers is often attributed to deficits in these areas. This collaborative action research (CAR) is situated within the long-term goals of a The Robert Noyce Scholarship Program at our research-intensive university in the southeast US, seeks to improve STEM teacher preparation and retention in high-need middle and secondary classrooms. It is partnered with a large local title I school district and offers financial, cohort and mentor support to highly qualified STEM degree holders and STEM majorswishing to supplement their undergraduate STEM degree, with a Master of Arts in Teaching. Asthey work towards their degrees, they intern, work and learn alongside peers, University faculty, District teachers and staff and other science education professionals. It is hoped such a multi-tiered support will allow Noyce graduates to persist beyond their inductive teaching years and become highly qualified practitioners. Our study served as an arena of self reflection for past and present Noyce scholars engaged in community of practice (COP), to use a journal club to explore beliefs regarding the roles our identities, home lives and socio-cultural experiences play in science teaching and learning. Preliminary analysis has uncovered two trends. First, COP members incorporated a number of diverse perspectives into our conversations, and brought to light aspects of culture we had not considered. Perhaps more importantly, it also revealed COP members were very open in sharing personal stories, beliefs, and hardships. We view these preliminary findings with a sense of optimism regarding the ability of the COP to prompt critical reflection amongst these new teachers, and ultimately, increase our understanding of ways to best support them in their development. Accordingly, we are bolstered by the potential of future findings to contribute to the field of science teacher preparation. 

Paper #10205: Supporting preservice elementary teachers’ sense-making of the ASTPs through ePortfolios

Principal Author: Courtney Lynch, The Pennsylvania State University
Co-Authors: LeeAnna Hooper, The Pennsylvania State University


In this study, we examined to what extent the process of curating a personal digital archive of elementary science teaching and learning impacts the ways in which preservice elementary teachers make sense of their own teaching experiences and the ambitious science teaching practices. The setting for this qualitative study is an elementary science methods course that requires a concurrent field placement in the semester before student teaching. Over the course of a fifteen week semester, students enrolled in the methods course had an opportunity to enact three science lessons within their field placement that align to the reform based approach to teaching science. Collected artifacts from those teaching experiences were then uploaded to the ePortfolio in order to analyze and reflect on the ways in which those artifacts served as evidence of the ambitious science teaching practices. The preliminary results seem to indicate that the ePortfolios provided a space for the preservice teachers to make sense of and see connections between the the ambitious science teaching practices and their own field experiences. During this session, we will share details about the ePortfolios as well as share results from the study.

Paper #10204: Creating Next Generation Science Classes from Next Generation Science Standards

Principal Author: Dora Kastel, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: John Russell, Math for America


As professional learning initiatives are designed to support the ambitious vision of the NGSS, they must consider the layers of planning that teachers, teacher leaders, department heads and curriculum designers attend to. This means moving from planning individual lesson plans and assessments to creating coherent sequences of learning that integrate all three dimensions as described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012). The Five Tools and Processes for Translating the NGSS is a professional development curriculum that provides resources and scaffolds for unit planning, identifying three-dimensional learning goals, designing learning sequences anchored in real world phenomena and problems, breaking down those sequences into individual experiences, and creating authentic assessments.

Through multiple iterations of facilitating the Five Tools, the presenters realized that an important part of the change process in this work with teachers came from the multiple opportunities provided for teachers to discuss and react to differences in both the processes and outcomes of the Five Tools curriculum development work, as compared to their current approaches to planning instruction and classroom assessment.

For those who are working with in-service teachers to realize and implement the innovations of NGSS, implications of this work reveal that curriculum development tools and processes, especially those that are novel for teachers, are more successful when grounded in reflections of that curriculum work in relation to teachers’ current classroom practice. Pre-service teacher educators may also be able to apply findings to teacher preparation coursework.

Paper #10203: High school teachers’ considerations, benefits and challenges in classroom pilot testing 3D curriculum materials

Principal Author: Dina Drits-Esser, University of Utah
Co-Authors: Kristin M.. Bass, Rockman et al; Louisa A.. Stark, University of Utah


In the age of NGSS, curriculum developers are actively creating materials that are aligned to these Standards, and are seeking to test their effectiveness and efficacy in the classroom. Using interview and survey data, this study explores the reasons behind high school biology teachers’ decisions to participate in classroom pilot testing of a new 7-8 week unit on evolution that aligns to the three dimensions of NGSS. Pilot testing in this context involves teachers using the materials in their typical classroom contexts while providing feedback for revisions. We also explore the benefits and challenges of participation for teachers, and whether they would undertake field testing in the future. Findings suggest that the teachers were primarily motivated to participate for professional growth. Benefits of participation included acquiring a new complete unit that integrates evolution and heredity, growth in 3D science teaching practice, skill in effective teaching of evolution, and a sense of professionalism. Participation challenges included the time needed to learn new materials and complete the data collection instruments, and the need to shorten subsequent units. Willingness to participate in future curriculum testing largely depends on the reputation of the curriculum developer for producing relevant, appropriate, and high-quality materials. Substantial support for teachers throughout curriculum testing is key, particularly if the curriculum innovation requires a paradigm shift in teaching a familiar subject or concept.

Paper #15010: Implementing the Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science Model in Introductory Biology for Pre-Service Teachers

Principal Author: Rachel A.. Sparks, Illinois State University
Co-Authors: Rebekka Darner, Illinois State University


With the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards, evolutionary concepts are beginning to be explicitly taught in elementary school. However, research shows that pre-service K-8 teachers are unprepared to teach evolution, hold many naïve conceptions regarding evolution, and often do not have the opportunity to take courses in evolutionary biology to increase their understanding. Therefore, these teachers enter the classroom feeling uncertain about the validity of evolutionary theory, outright rejecting evolution, incorporating alternative explanations of evolution into instruction, or avoiding evolutionary ideas entirely. Pre-service teachers must have the opportunity through their science coursework to develop comprehensive evolutionary understanding in order to effectively teach these concepts.

To address this gap in evolutionary understanding in pre-service teachers, an introductory biology course taught through an evolutionary perspective specifically for pre-service elementary and middle school teachers was developed. This course utilizes the Teaching for Transformative Experiences in Science model to make evolutionary ideas relevant to students’ everyday lives in order to encourage conceptual change. Data from a pilot version of this course demonstrated that students in a TTES-instructed section developed an appreciation for evolutionary theory and showed significantly greater gains in conceptual understanding of evolution than students in the general education group taught in the conventional method used in this course. After the pilot study, instructional methods were updated to foster pre-service teachers’ comfort and confidence teaching evolutionary ideas as well as improving evolutionary understanding.

In this session, the course syllabus and relevant instructional materials will be presented. Evidence of student outcomes regarding evolutionary understanding, familiarity with evolution-related NGSS performance expectations, and updated data on the efficacy of the course with pre-service teachers will also be shared.

Paper #16027: Collaborating to Improve STEM Teacher Preparation in Washington State

Principal Author: Jose M.. Rios, University of Washington Tacoma
Co-Authors: Julie Antilla, Seattle Pacific University; Edward Geary, Western Washington University; Tamara Holmlund, Washington State University Vancouver


A consortium of universities, colleges, and organizations is currently working to improve science learning for all Washington State students by collaboratively transforming STEM teacher preparation programs.  In this roundtable presentation, we present the goals, structures, and activities associated with this NSF-funded collaboration to improve K-12 STEM teacher preparation. Specifically, we provide opportunities for participants to learn about and discuss: (1) the benefits and challenges of collaborating within and across institutions to improve STEM teacher preparation statewide, (2) resources, models, and drivers of change that can be leveraged to support organizational change and collaboration building in support of next generation STEM Teacher Preparation programs, and (3) barriers and strategies to increasing the recruitment, retention, and success of diverse STEM teachers. We address capacity building in higher education through a focus on organizational change, diversity, and collaboration building. We attend to the specifics of teacher preparation through six “critical component” working groups that include: integrating computer science in teacher preparation; integrating engineering; integrating education for sustainability; mathematics and STEM integration; clinical practice and induction, and pedagogical content knowledge. Our objective for presenting this to the audience at the ASTE is to provide others with potential structures and principles for doing similar collaborative work around STEM education and the lessons we have learned, to date.

Paper #11043: A Conceptual Framework for Studying Science Voice Development

Principal Author: Robert J. Palmer, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Felicia Leammukda, University of Minnesota; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota; Barbara Billington, University of Minnesota


Science education ideally produces intellectually competent, problem solving critical thinkers. Intellectual competence can be recognized as students gain meaningful recognition from people whose acceptance matters because they have authority in a particular field of study (Carlone & Johnson, 2007; Gibau, 2015). This often occurs simultaneously with unique identity and individual voice development as students mature into adults (Seiler, 2013). Often in schools, the process of forming unique identities and voice for each student also generates borders which may become barriers that limit both agency and access to potential career fields(Cook-Sather, 2006). As science teachers, we need to use caution not to hinder student identity development but encourage science voice as part of their identity which will allow students access to cross academic and career borders.

The goal of this study is to understand and promote science voice development. Our research has led to the development of a four-dimensional conceptual framework for studying science voice development. We demonstrate application of this framework by evaluating an existing curriculum. Using this framework as a guide in curricular development should help prevent development of scientistic attitudes described by Bowen(Yerrick & Roth, 2005). Scientistic attitudes occur when students accept scientific claims without critical questioning and accept science as the one and only way of thinking. Emphasizing science voice development will allow enculturation not only into science practices, but also into critical reflection to recognize shortcomings of science. Research on science voice also has implications for science opportunities. If students from underrepresented groups are empowered with a positive science voice, this could lead to higher levels of diversity and representation in science.

Paper #10202: Professional Learning Communities and their Facilitation for Advancing Ambitious Teaching Practices

Principal Author: John L. Russell, Math for America


Next Generation Science Standards and the Framework for K-12 Science Education encourage teachers to not only change the content of their teaching, but also the way that they deliver it. In order to promote these modern teaching practices, professional development (PD) experiences for teachers need to develop new approaches that enhance the transfer of the PD context into the teachers’ classroom practice. In this research study, professional learning communities (PLCs), defined as collaborative groups of teachers who make their practice visible within their professional learning, are analyzed in a formally instituted series of teacher professional education offerings.  Moreover, the setting included a professional learning community composed of teacher-facilitators who were actively engaged as facilitators of other PLCs. The goal of this design experiment was to both explore PLCs as PD models within science education as well as to begin to develop tools for PD that allow teachers to work from within the context of their own classroom. The sources of evidence used in this study included teacher and student produced artifacts and interviews, and written transcripts of the sessions were also examined. All data were primarily explored using methodology taken from grounded theory. This approach facilitated identification of emergent themes that particularly addressed some of the ways that researchers and teacher leaders can work together in the future to make certain that PD and the teachers’ classroom practices are more coherently connected.  Among other findings, it is recommended that borrowing from and adapting the work of scholars in sociomathematical norms around the use of explanations can be the basis for a possible framework for improving future studies of teacher professional practice.

Paper #11042: Engaging as members of the professional teaching community: How conference attendance impacts the decision of preservice teachers to pursue a career teaching secondary science or mathematics

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


Professional conferences offer participants opportunities to network with educators, gain insights into the teaching profession, and learn new pedagogical teaching strategies. According to the National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) most recent update of preservice science teaching standards, PST are expected to engage in professional development opportunities that would allow them to further develop their understandings of  content knowledge, pedagogy and “identify with and conduct themselves as part of the science education community” (NSTA, 2012, p.3). The purpose of the study is to determine how participation in a professional conference impacts preservice teachers’ (PST) decision to pursue secondary teaching as a career. A group of science and mathematics preservice teachers were offered funding to support their attendance at a professional conference aligned with their content area for teaching.  Six science PST attended the 2018 NSTA national conference and seven mathematics PST attended the 2017 NCTM southeast regional conference. Interviews were conducted with each PST to learn more about their experiences and how the conference impacted their thinking about pursuing secondary teaching as a career. Preliminary analysis of the interview data support the assertion that the conference attendance enhanced PST self identification as members of the professional teaching community.

Paper #10201: STEM Touchstones for Teacher Professional Learning: Meeting the Challenge of STEM Teaching in High Need Schools

Principal Author: Regina E.. Toolin, University of Vermont
Co-Authors: Simon Jorgenson, University of Vermont; Stephanie Ratmeyer, University of Vermont


The VSTEM Leadership Institute (VSTEM) located at a public university in the northeast and funded by the Math Science Partnership Program, attempts to answer the call for “STEM learning for all” through a program that models STEM professional learning and leadership for K-12 teachers teaching primarily in high need schools. VSTEM’s immediate goal is to enhance STEM knowledge and pedagogical skills aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and best practices for STEM teaching.  The long-term goal is for K-12 teachers to actively engage in authentic scientific inquiry and research-based teaching practices so that they may transform their own classrooms into dynamic and stimulating places of interdisciplinary STEM inquiry for their students. This study seeks to examine the progression of the VSTEM Program over the period between 2015-17 with a specific focus on VSTEM touchstone development and implementation by participating teachers. 

Paper #10200: “I am never not thinking about the nature of science”: A field season in the Galapagos with scientists and the impact of the experience on an elementary science educator

Principal Author: Brant G.. Miller, University of Idaho
Co-Authors: Joel D.. Donna, University of Wisconsin, River Falls


In June of 2018, a team of faculty from Biology and Science Education along with undergraduate and graduate students embarked on a field season in the Galapagos to do research on land snails, specifically from the genus Naesiotus. I took the opportunity to immerse myself in the land snail research and explore how the nature of science (Lederman & Lederman, 2014) plays out in real time for scientists, and in so doing, come to a better understanding of the nature of science as a science educator. The research questions driving this work are: 1) How is science negotiated in the field? 2) How is the nature of science made explicit in a field research setting? 3) How does the experience of doing science impact a science educator whose job it is to prepare future science teachers? Data for this research was in the form of interviews, focus groups, reflexive journal entries and observational field notes while in the Galapagos. Data was analyzed using a constant comparative method (Glaser, 1965) keeping in mind the aspects of the nature of science (Schwartz, Lederman, & Crawford, 2004). Preliminary findings strongly relate to the nature of science aspects of sociocultural embeddedness and the tentativeness of science. In this presentation, attendees will hear about the adventure of doing field work, how the nature of science unfolds in the field for participants, and how I, as the science educator on the trip, made sense of the experience and how it impacted my science methods course.

Paper #11040: Embedded Assessments as a Learning Tool in Elementary Classrooms

Principal Author: Amal Ibourk, Florida State University


Although extensive research has shown the important educational value of technology-enhanced online units on students’ science learning, few studies have looked at how embedded assessment tools within these units can facilitate multiple aspects of upper-elementary students’ science learning around complex scientific concepts such as genetics, as well as encourage teachers’ iterative feedback to students. This study investigates how an upper elementary teacher uses embedded assessment tools to scaffold the iterative process of learning and feedback that occurs in an online platform that leverages learning technologies. This study provides evidence that embedded assessments have promise for supporting students’ science learning. In addition, these embedded assessments can encourage student self-reflection and support teachers in making evidence-based instructional decisions as well as provide immediate feedback along the way.

Paper #13013: Science Teacher Leadership: An Active Exploration of Perspectives

Principal Author: Jennifer S. Mayo, University of Portland/Portland Public Schools


Descriptions and definitions of teacher leadership generally attend to the products of teacher leadership, that is what teacher leaders do not how teacher leaders would describe themselves, or how interested others (i.e., district administrators, principals) would describe them. Through the lens of our experience with science teacher leaders, participants in this session will contribute to current understandings of science teacher leadership by engaging in perspective taking and describing science teacher leadership through a variety of strategies, including visual representations and arts-based strategies. Data from similar prior exploratory session at Fall 2018 regional science education conferences will be shared. Discussion will center around application of perspectives on science teacher leadership as it relates to session participants.

Paper #10198: Strengthening Preservice Science Teachers’ Understanding of Nature of Science: The Role of an Embedded Research Experience in Teacher Preparation

Principal Author: Julie Angle Angle, Oklahoma State University


Creating a scientifically literate populous continues to be a goal of science education. Common themes of achieving science literacy include possessing a strong science content knowledge, an understanding of the methods/practices of science, and an accurate view about aspects of nature of science. Equipping future science teachers with the knowledge and skills to help prepare a scientifically literate populace is a goal of most teacher preparation programs. To achieve this goal, a new science methods course, called SM-CURE, was developed and implemented in the science education program at Oklahoma State University. The general goal of the SM-CURE course is three-fold, to: 1) Engage PSTs in a semester-long authentic research apprenticeship under the mentorship of science and engineering faculty, 2) Provide PSTs with explicit-reflective instruction about nature of science, and 3) Facilitate PSTs in transitioning their research into a standards-based research middle school or high school lesson that explicitly addresses scientific practices and NOS. This session describes the rationale for the course, provides depth of detail to the SM-CURE course assignments, and explains changes in PSTs’ understanding about nature of science because of this unique learning environment.

Paper #10197: Development of Unit Planning Tools for STEM integration using the ASSIST Approach.

Principal Author: William E.. Hansen, University of Iowa
Co-Authors: Mark McDermott, University of Iowa


A synthesis of three years work utilizing an approach known as Argument-based Strategies for STEM-Infused Science Teaching (ASSIST) to help science educators implement the Next Generation Science Standards and create meaningful learning environments for students. Part of this development has lead to the creation of tools intended to help educators utilize the ASSIST approach the developments that have taken place aimed at in simplifying the process without sacrificing the aspects of effective science teaching.


These important aspects have been outlined in past and current research as argumentation, STEM integration, and multimodal student expression. The unit planning tools that have been developed to help teachers implement this approach have changed to better suit the needs of the educators without sacrificing the aforesaid aspects of quality science teaching. The presentation will show the evolution of these planning tools and how they can help current and pre-service teachers with the integration of STEM and NGSS within the framework of argument-based teaching.


After going through the evolution and rationale of the changes made to the unit-planning tools, the presentation is going to shift focus and illustrate how pre-service educators can utilize this tool. An example encompasses taking an NGSS standard and planning a unit step-by-step using the ASSIST approach in a simplified by effective fashion for pre-service learners.  Another focus of the presentation will serve to show how education methods professors can use the unit-planning tools to teach their methods students how to integrate STEM into the classroom with this framework of argument-based inquiry.

Paper #11039: Research Experience for Teachers: Big Data and Computational Thinking

Principal Author: Stephanie B. Philipp, University of Louisville
Co-Authors: Olfa Nasraoui, University of Louisville; Jason Immekus, University of Louisville; Mary Mills, University of Louisville


This poster will share initial findings from the first year of a Research Experience for Teachers, supporting nine secondary STEM teachers from diverse schools in six week university research projects in Big Data and Data Science. The research projects chosen by teachers focused on socially impactful data science. Teachers translated their research into curriculum incorporating the practice of mathematical and computational thinking and the lessons they learned from the research process.

Paper #16026: Racial Consciousness in Elementary Science Teacher Education: Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and Critical Whiteness Studies

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


Using culturally relevant pedagogy and critical whiteness studies, an elementary science methods course has been developed. During this session participants will discuss instructional innovations, including the author's, that include incorporation of critically conscious readings and activities developed to promote anti-racist teaching in schools.

Paper #10196: Supportive STEM Professional Development: Innovative and Effective Practices for Teacher and Student Growth

Principal Author: Karen L. Rizzo, Pennsylvania State University-Behrend


Improving teaching and learning is largely influenced by professional development (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Desimone, 2009). While many forms of teacher professional development (PD) exist, and offer advantages/disadvantages, the evidence to support the array of practices remains limited (Desimone, 2009; Yoon, Duncan, Lee, Scarloss, & Shapley, 2007). This is particularly concerning given the immediate need for professional development of  science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers (Desimone, 2009) and costs of PD. Building from the work of Scher and O’Reilly (2007), this presentation provides a synthesis of the characteristics of STEM PD over the last decade and its impact on teachers and students in STEM classrooms. Analysis of participants, settings, research designs, interventions, and outcomes from twelve studies meeting inclusion criteria will be shared and discussed.

            Results from this review indicate a prioritized focus on practices aimed to improve STEM teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge. Desired teacher and student outcomes are reported suggesting evidence in support of five proposed elements of professional development. Consideration for planning STEM PD and future research topics will be discussed in light of these findings.


Paper #10195: Growing as they give: Teacher development through cultural community wealth contributions within an informal STEM summer program

Principal Author: Sonia M. Howard, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Natalie S. King, Georgia State University


      Informal education settings (IESs) are becoming more relevant and necessary because of the potential to broaden access to STEM, which is especially important for students of color in underresourced areas. In addition to the need for further exploration into IESs as a means towards broadening access to STEM for students of color, there is a growing need to understand teachers’ roles in creating and sustaining these safe science learning spaces. Ladson-Billings’ research into teachers who have demonstrated success teaching students of color formed the basis of culturally relevant pedagogy. Teachers who are culturally relevant pedagogues possess valuable knowledge about their communities and their students that can be leveraged in IESs.

      Our study began as an exploration into what compelled eight teachers into participating in a summer STEM program. We highlighted STARS Camp, an eight-week, full-day, non-residential summer program located in southeastern United States founded by one of the authors while she was still a science teacher within the community. The program was designed using the tenets of CRP, because it would primarily serve children of color in an underresourced community. The group of teachers expressed the opportunity to stymie summer learning loss in their students was the primary factor in their decision to work with STARS. From this initial finding, we analyzed data further to better understand what they contributed to work towards their goal and explore how they perceived progress towards their goal. Using Yosso’s (2005) CCW model as a framework, we found that teachers worked towards their goal through their contributions of all six of the types of cultural capital to the program, and that at the conclusion of the summer, teachers expressed satisfaction in the growth they saw in both their students and themselves as teachers.

      Our presentation shares our findings and implications related to developing culturally relevant informal STEM programs and teacher contributions to them can benefit both teachers and the programs themselves.

Paper #10194: Inclusive Science Instruction for Students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities: Evidence-based Strategies

Principal Author: Karen Lee. Rizzo, Pennsylvania State University-Behrend
Co-Authors: Jonte C. Taylor, Pennsylvania State University; Jiwon Hwang, University of California-Bakersfield


Science connects the how individuals interact with environment and how they interpret those interactions (Browder, et al., 2007).  For students with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), science instruction and achievement has been lagging behind those of their peers without disabilities.  In this presentation, we will focus on the findings from our analysis of single-case research (SCR) examining the effectiveness of science instruction for students with intellectual disabilities and ASD including correlational analysis on the calculated effect sizes of each study.  From the SCR studies reviewed in our analysis, ten instructional practices for teaching science emerged with supportive evidence for application. These practices include: discrete trial/1:1 instruction, explicit instruction, embedded instruction, graphic organizers, inquiry-based instruction, peer-related strategies, self-management strategies, task analysis, time delay, and technology-related strategies. Significant effect sizes were found for these practices across settings, gender, and ethnicity. These ten practices warrant practitioner attention, training, and application particularly for Earth/space science teachers of students diagnosed with an intellectual disability with moderate severity.  In order to capitalize on the strengths of all students, school personnel can consider these instructional strategies as tools to support teachers in enhancing student learning.  Teachers of physical science, life science/biology, and Earth/space science may optimize student learning with application of discrete trials, task analysis, self-management skills, and supported inquiry-based instruction when working with students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Overall, our results provide teachers, administrators, and support staff ways to take action in collectively improving the quality of science instruction, particularly for students with Intellectual disabilities and ASD.

Paper #10193: Learning about the NGSS through analysis of science lessons

Principal Author: Line Saint-Hilaire, Queens College/CUNY
Co-Authors: Eleanor Armour-Thomas, Queens College?CUNY


In this case study, we use video analysis as tool to assess teachers understanding of the three dimensions of the NGSS and how it is related to the integration of ELA and Math. Teachers were able to express their understang and differences were found between inserve and preservice teachers.

Paper #16025: Master Teaching Fellows’ action research of implementing new standards

Principal Author: Hui-Ju Huang, California State University Sacramento
Co-Authors: Sarah Ives, California State University Sacramento; Jenna Porter, California State University Sacramento


A group of science and math high school teachers participated in the Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs) program that aims to build teachers’ leadership capacity for implementing strong STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instructions and mentoring other teachers. The current research study participant teachers’ action research projects by exploring their reflections on the change of teaching practice and the influence on student learning.

The data sources are from participated teachers’ action research projects. The qualitative methodology - constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) was used for data analysis. Through action research, participant teachers consistently examined their instructional approaches and student learning experience. They actively worked on new standards and connected their lessons to the vision of practice put forth by the standards. They challenged their teaching practice, and renewed their commitment to teaching as a profession as one teacher stated, “This process has caused me to become more purposeful in planning lessons to focus on students along with the content standards. More purposeful in creating assessments that will demonstrate the depth of student achievement.” (due to word limit, detailed description of findings is not provided here but is included in the presentation).

The study gain insight into teachers’ action researches of improving STEM education.

Understanding teachers’ perceptions is essential for teacher educators to develop a support system that will help them work effectively in achieving the goals of their classroom instructions and broader science education reform. Through the efforts such as the current study, together we will be able to meet the opportunities and challenges of implementing new standards.

Paper #10192: Home-Grown Primary Science: Developing District-wide K-2 Science Teachers and Curriculum Aligned to NGSS using the ASSIST Approach

Principal Author: Dana Atwood-Blaine, University of Northern Iowa
Co-Authors: Mason Kuhn, University of Northern Iowa


Currently, 19 states have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and numerous others are revising their own state standards in ways that reflect the NGSS.  The implementation of any science standards rests with teachers, and for teachers, an NGSS represents a significant transition from the way science is currently taught in most classrooms. The new expectation of 3-dimensional science teaching and learning from the earliest grades is a challenging primary teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge about how to teach science to children.  Providing scalable and sustainable professional development in science education for K-2 teachers in a Midwestern urban school district, even a mid-sized district with 10,000+ enrolled students, poses a unique set of challenges in itself: teacher buy-in, teacher turnover, lack of resources, and high-diversity in student population.  


Over the course of 18 months, 104 different teachers participated in between 5 and 13 days of summertime professional development focused on using the ASSIST approach with NGSS-aligned science instruction, with ongoing support throughout the school year.  Those teachers created 3 science unit plans for each grade level, K-2, for a total of 9 units. The units, based on NGSS topic bundles, were first developed during 2017 Year 1 Summer Workshop, taught during the ’17-’18 school year, and revised during the 2018 Year 2 Summer Workshop.


We perceive ourselves to be partners with the teachers we work with, and professional development is a two-way street for all of us.  It is an on-going, immersive, and organic process. It takes time. It’s messy. Things didn't look so good the first year, but by the end of Year 2 Summer Workshop, amazing things were happening and remarkable changes had taken place.  Through the revision of their unit plans, teachers demonstrated major improvements in their understanding of NGSS, the 3-dimensional nature of science teaching and learning, the ASSIST Approach, and strategies for supporting student negotiation of claims based on evidence.

Paper #10190: Does context matter? General Chemistry students’ conceptual understanding of entropy, enthalpy and free energy, and integration of a Biology context.

Principal Author: James M.. Nyachwaya, North Dakota State University
Co-Authors: Nicholas Garza, Oakland University


This study looked at how General Chemistry (II) students responded to a question framed in the context of a biological phenomenon of cellular respiration. In the chemistry course, students had covered the concept of free energy, which is also covered in Biology. In addition to looking at students’ conceptual understanding of concepts such as entropy and energy change, this study also probed the extent to which students integrated the context of cellular respiration into their responses. Since students worked in groups to complete a worksheet, we also got a sense of group dynamics, and the state of process skills, in addition to how they used the academic language of chemistry and science in general. Our results indicate that in answering the prompts, most students took a chemistry perspective, giving little regard to the context (Biology). We also noticed algorithmic tendencies in students’ responses, showing a lack of conceptual understanding of associated chemistry concepts of entropy, enthalpy and free energy. Audio transcripts of the groups revealed that norms across the groups were not always ideal. In some instances, students also struggled with using the appropriate academic language.

Paper #16024: Science Teacher Candidates’ Experiential Learning from edTPA and Critical Incident Reflection Protocols

Principal Author: Michael Dias, Kennesaw State University
Co-Authors: Laurie Brantley-Dias, Kennesaw State University; Anton Puvirajah, Western University, Ontario Canada; Kim Cortes, Kennesaw State University


Across the U.S., certain dimensions of reform-based teaching practice and reflective thinking of preservice teachers is being evaluated via the Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) currently used by 786 Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) in 40 states and the District of Columbia (SCALE, 2018). Typically, the use of edTPA has been mandated for all preservice teacher education programs in adoption states, without input from university-based teacher educators. Despite the positive aspects of edTPA, so daunting is its workload on teacher candidates that, in our context, it has constrained other guided reflections that were in place prior to edTPA.

We present our efforts to expand our preservice teachers’ reflective practice beyond the scope of edTPA. We do this with an adapted Critical Incident Reflection (CIR) protocol. The CIR affords teacher candidates agency for choosing events of teaching practice that they deem salient for reflective analysis, while still affording the teacher educator the opportunity to direct reflection toward dimensions of reform-based practice left unexplored by edTPA. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, we wanted to explore how student reflections from the CIR compare to that directed by the edTPA protocol. Second, data from this study will inform development of a rubric for an instrument to code and evaluate the CIR to be used by preservice teachers to make meaning of their teaching actions for self- and supervisor-directed development of professional goals and actions.

Guiding questions are: (1) What do CIR and edTPA protocols reveal about preservice science teachers’ reflection on practice? (2) How do CIR and edTPA protocols influence professional goals of science teacher candidates? The design of this study and analysis of its data are informed by Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning theory. Rather than examining reflection from a hierarchical perspective, we view it from a Multidimensional Reflection Model, a holistic approach that embraces the use of different lenses and purposes for analysis of teaching practice.


Paper #10189: Bench to Bedside: The Effectiveness of a Professional Development Program Focused on Biomedical Sciences and Action Research

Principal Author: Houda D. Pruitt, University of Florida
Co-Authors: Julie R. Bokor, University of Florida; Margarita Hernandez, The Pennsylvania State University; Mary Jo Koroly, University of Florida


A three-year, National Institutes of Health-funded residential professional development program immersed 83 secondary science teachers in a summer institute called “Bench to Bedside.” Teachers were provided with knowledge, skills, experiences, and incentives to improve their science teaching and increase their awareness of scientific processes, technologies, and careers by examining the translational medicine continuum of basic to clinical research. This was done with the help of medical school researchers, clinical personnel, biotechnology entrepreneurs, program mentors, and prior year participants. A critical component of the institute was the preparation and implementation of an action research project that reflected teachers’ newly acquired knowledge and skills. Action research proposals were critiqued by project team members and feedback provided prior to action research implementation in schools during the following year. Teachers shared their action research outcomes with colleagues and project team at a symposium and online as a critical step in networking the teachers. Results of a mixed methods program evaluation strategy indicate that the program produced significant gains in teachers’ confidence to explain advanced biosciences topics, development of action research skills, and formation of a statewide biosciences network of key stakeholders. Constraints of time, variation in teacher content and action research background, technology availability, and school-related variables, among others, are discussed.

Paper #15009: Teaching Science Methods Online

Principal Author: Danielle Dani, Ohio University


More and more institutions of higher education across the nation are offering part, or all, of their degree programs online. In its Online Report Card, the Babson Survey Research Group (2015) reports that more than 5.8 million students take at least one online course, including over 2.85 million taking all their courses online. Most of these students attend public institutions (73% undergraduate and 39% graduate). However, many of the faculty teaching online courses tend to adopt traditional approaches to teaching that manifest in a reading, lecture, and discussion heavy course rather than one where students actively create their learning experiences (Lane, 2013). Yet engaging teachers and teacher candidates “in meaningful laboratory and simulation activities using contemporary technology tools and experience other science teaching strategies with faculty who model effective teaching practices consistent with those expected of the prospective teachers” is an essential characteristic of science teacher preparation programs (National Science Teachers Association [NSTA], 2017). At the center of NSTA’s recommendation is the need for teachers and teacher candidates to experience science learning and teaching, a need that seemingly conflicts with the ways in which online learning typically occurs. This syllabus presentation describes an experiential approach to promote virtual science teacher education using the R2D2 model– read, reflect, display, and do (Bonk & Zhang, 2007). The course is offered as part of a graduate level endorsement program . A syllabus, sample activities, course projects, and samples of student work will be shared.

Paper #11038: How do Practicing PK-3rd Grade Teachers Plan Science/Engineering Instruction?

Principal Author: Susanna E. Hapgood, University of Toledo
Co-Authors: Jeanna Heuring, University of Toledo; Grant Wilson, University of Toledo


Planning science and engineering instruction is challenging for preschool and elementary school level educators (Hixson, Stohr, & Hammer, 2013). Some research has been conducted examining supports for preservice teachers’ planning on the basis of the New Generation Science Standards (NGSS, 2013) (Beyer & Davis, 2009; Schwarz, 2009), but very little work has been done with practicing teachers. Yet, science teacher educators work with preservice and practicing teachers and it is important to find ways to increase the understanding of the NGSS among practicing teachers (Reiser, 2013). A first step is to better understand how practicing early childhood teachers currently plan science and engineering instruction. 

This presentation shares baseline data regarding the science and engineering instructional planning practices of 39 preschool and primary grade educators who are participants in a National Science Foundation-funded professional development program designed to teach educators how to understand and plan instruction on the basis of the NGSS.

Looking across the findings, we found that these PK-3 educators reported teaching science at least several times during the school year (92%), and about a third of those teachers reported teaching science/engineering every week. Almost 53% of the participants responded that “hands-on activities” anchored their instruction, and an additional 40% reported that a specific science concept or topic was their anchor. A majority of the teachers reported that they engage in collaborative planning for their science/engineering instruction. Given this finding about how common it is becoming for teachers to collaboratively plan, teacher education programs should consider including more opportunities for teacher candidates to practice engaging in collaborative planning and learning professional norms for working with colleagues, and professional development efforts may be particularly useful when teams of teachers from schools attend together.

Paper #10188: A framework for assessing the authenticity of secondary student involvement in the practices of science: Implications for science teacher education

Principal Author: Stephen R. Burgin, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: William F. McComas, University of Arkansas


Authenticity is a term that has become ubiquitous within the field of science education, particularly when it comes to the practices that learners of science engage in. However, a common definition of just what makes for the authentic doing of science is virtually non-existent. In this theoretical position paper, the case will be made for a new framework which could be utilized by science teacher educators, science teachers, and science education researchers to classify the authentic nature of the work in which students engage. The specific framework consists of three dimensions. These are the similarities between the practices that students engage in and those employed by professional scientists, the degree to which the activity is meaningful to the learner, and the significance of the work to the scientific community. Examples of classroom activity that falls in various plays among these three dimensions will be discussed along with future directions for research in science teacher education. Such a tool would have implications that we believe would serve to encourage science teachers and science teacher educators as they strive to implement authentic scientific practices in their classrooms.

Paper #10187: Faculty co-teaching in elementary STEM teacher education: Lessons learned, suggestions, and impact on preservice teacher STEM self efficacy

Principal Author: Elizabeth Allison, University of South Alabama
Co-Authors: Todd Johnson, University of South Alabama; Kelly Byrd, University of South Alabama


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of two redesigned teacher education courses: elementary mathematics methods and elementary science methods. The courses were reimagined and restructured to include STEM integration components, including STEM model lessons co-taught by instructors. The concept of STEM education has gained momentum and visibility in the last decade, with increased emphasis on the need for problem-based education, interdisciplinary learning, and fluency in 21st century skills and practices. With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics (CCSSM), the overlaying “taxonomies” of mathematics and science are easily identified. Increased self-efficacy in STEM integration, particularly math and science, allows for feelings of better preparedness upon entering the teaching profession, potentially increasing early year retention (Moseley & Utely, 2006; Wingfield, Nath, & Cohen, Freeman, 2000). 

Findings indicate that the co-taught integrated STEM modules of the mathematics and science methods courses led to a significant increase in preservice teachers’ STEM self-efficacy.


Paper #10186: STEM For All: How Teachers Can Create Classrooms That Address the Negative Impacts of Heterosexism and Heteronormativity on Gay Men in STEM Classrooms

Principal Author: David P. Steele, UGA


Gay men continue to experience discriminatory and oppressive practices, even as societal attitudes towards them have improved. These experiences include both implicit and explicit issues of heterosexism and heteronormativity that is present at all levels of society. Using a narrative inquiry approach, this qualitative study examined how students who self-identified as gay men experienced heterosexism and heteronormativity in their STEM majors. Drawing upon the work of Costa (1995) and Aikenhead (2001), the goal of this study was to determine how gay men navigated, or were not able to navigate, cultural borders between their lived-world and the world of canonical science. Data collected through the utilization of interviews, photo-elicitation, and photo-feedback were used to reconceptualize cultural border crossing as a continuum of navigational responses gay men exhibit to the genderized conditions of their STEM environments. Using thematic analysis, three distinct themes emerged from the data: a) how heterosexism acts as a barrier to STEM access: it pays to be straight; b) having multiple social identities has negative implications for my emotional, social, and educational selves; and c) my behavior in STEM is dictated by heteronormative expectations. These three themes were illustrated in counter-stories from the point of view of composite characters. The findings suggested that multiple factors contributed to participants’ persistence in STEM fields. First, the findings highlighted strategies the participants employed to navigate the often homophobic and heteronormative environments found in STEM classrooms. For example, these strategies included policing actions through closetedness and gender enactments. Additionally, the findings suggested having a strong STEM identity is, in part, a key to gay men persisting in STEM fields.

Paper #10185: The roles of the Twitter hashtag #NGSSchat in the context of science education reform efforts

Principal Author: Joshua M. Rosenberg, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Co-Authors: Joshua W. Reid, Middle Tennessee State University; Matthew J. Koehler, Michigan State University; Christian Fischer, University of California - Irvine; Thomas J.. McKenna, Boston University


At present, science education is undergoing sustained policy, curricular, and instructional reform efforts (i.e., NGSS Lead States, 2013). While scholars debate whether this time is really different than in the past, there is one new feature that might be: the role of technology and particularly social media in shaping whether, and if so, how and why, changes in science teaching and learning happen. Despite the potential for science education reform efforts to be shaped by social media, and some initial signs that such influences are important (Shelton & Ende, 2015), there has not been any research to investigate how many individuals are using social media to discuss NGSS-related topics and who they are, whether (and how) they are interacting, and what they are discussing. The purpose of this presentation is to carry out the first empirical investigation of the #NGSSchat. To address the research questions, a convergent parallel mixed-methods design, theoretically and analytically grounded in social network theory was used to access and analyze data associated with the Twitter hashtag #NGSSchat. We present completed work related to who is participating in the #NGSSchat hashtag, what patterns of interaction between different groups of users can be observed using social network analysis, and what topics have been discussed as part of the chats. This work, as well as future directions that we discuss, provides an opportunity to discuss the efficacy of this approach to science education reform discussions and how this tool (i.e., hashtags and Twitter) can be applied to other science teacher education contexts. This presentation is likely to be of interest to a variety of ASTE members because as science education reform continues to progress, stakeholders in science education need environments to discuss and make decisions regarding the future of science teaching and learning.

Paper #10184: Becoming a teacher: Reflective practice as a way of exploring secondary science teachers’ beliefs and practices

Principal Author: Preethi Titu, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Gillian H. Roehrig, University of Minnesota; Joshua A. Ellis, Michigan Technological University


Teacher beliefs have a significant impact on teachers classroom practices and provide a strong basis for their classroom actions. When teachers reflect on their practice and beliefs, it can bring to their attention what they do intentionally or unintentionally. By engaging in reflective practice, teachers can construct and reconstruct their own beliefs and practices so that they can provide optimum learning conditions for their students. This long term qualitative study explores beginning science teachers beliefs and practices which they develop over their first few years and allows them to contemplate their beliefs with their practices through reflection. The study is critical to educational practice as understanding and reflecting on one’s beliefs and practices plays a significant role in improving science teaching practices. In this single embedded qualitative study, we analyzed two primary data sources: semi-structured interviews that were conducted over the course of the years and reflection journals written by the teachers during the first two years as teachers. The participants were six secondary science beginning 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 included 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 and practices toward teaching varied among the teachers. In general, the findings revealed that their beliefs and practices centered around three themes: 1) from being a ‘sage on the stage’ to being a ‘facilitator.’ 2) focus on their students, and 3) level of student teacher interactions. Further analysis of sub-themes is also discussed.

Paper #10183: The Impact of an Engineer: Using a Triad Model on Student Teachers’ Science Lesson Quality

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


An urgent need exists to better prepare and support elementary teachers’ science teaching, and now engineering teaching in states that adopted NGSS. This study examines the impact of a federally-funded professional development effort to place an engineering graduate student with a student teacher and cooperating teacher in a grades 3-5 urban classroom. The intent is to simultaneously extend the impact of the science methods class for the student teacher and to provide inservice professional development for the cooperating teacher, while improving the engineers’ ability to engage with non-expert audiences. In this study, we assessed time for science, strategies employed, and science teaching effectiveness using the AIM protocol in a treatment/control group design. Statistically significant differences favoring the triads were observed in the use of class discussion, the use of relevant and meaningful examples, and classroom culture. These results are promising, yet both groups still struggle to engage students in data collection/analysis and sense-making experiences. This enduring problem in elementary science teaching is one that must be addressed if students are to learn intended science concepts.


Paper #11037: Using Satellites, Weather Balloons, and Antares Rockets to Increase Middle and High School Students’ STEM Attitudes

Principal Author: Jeni R. Davis, Salisbury University
Co-Authors: Starlin Weaver, Salisbury University; Steven Binz, Salisbury University; Brian J. Raygor, Wicomico County Public Schools; Philip Bock, Wicomico County Public Schools; Chad Pavlekovich, Wicomico County Public Schools


After 30 years of effort, increasing the number of females and underrepresented minorities in STEM careers remains a challenge (NRC, 2011). Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) suggests STEM instruction should be student-led, focus on meaningful interactions with data, and provide opportunities for students to construct claims based on scientific evidence (NGSS Lead States, 2013). The purpose of this poster presentation is to present a STEM program, known as ThinSat, that partners Twiggs Space Lab, Orbital ATK, Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) with a university and local middle and high school students. The ThinSat Program, an educational outreach initiative, was developed with the purpose of enhancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, by providing students the opportunity to create and send a payload into space via the Orbital ATK Antares rocket. In our project, middle and high school students will engage in an authentic STEM experience that allows students to do the work by engaging in the practices of an engineer. Students will have access to engineers during the duration of the program to assist with design, construction, data collection, and analysis of real-time data collected once their ThinSat is deployed. Additionally, undergraduate physics students will be completing the same project at the university and will support the middle and high school students face-to-face and virtually. We want to explore how middle and high school students’ participation in a year-long authentic STEM experience in tandem with engineers and undergraduate physics students will impact their attitudes toward STEM. Our poster will detail the implementation of the ThinSat program and provide initial findings of how the middle and high school students respond to engaging in an authentic STEM experience.

Paper #10182: Preservice and First Year Teachers’ Successes and Challenges in Enacting Inquiry-based Practices

Principal Author: Amy N. Tankersley, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Co-Authors: Elizabeth B. Lewis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Aaron Musson, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Student teaching is a critical time in science teacher preparation and it is important to understand how to best structure the experience and support student teachers in their development as teachers. This study explores the use of inquiry-based instruction by preservice and first year teachers from a midwestern university. We observed 40 preservice science teachers during their student teaching and of this group we followed 14 teachers in their first year of teaching to better understand their subsequent use of inquiry practices and potentially identify factors that might influence those practices. We observed classrooms using the four factors of the EQUIP instrument, teacher interviews, and collection of teacher- and student-level demographic data we explored student teachers’ use of inquiry-based instruction. Despite having taken two science teaching methods courses that were strongly aligned with the NSTA Preservice Science Teacher Preparation Standards (2012), these teachers mostly taught lessons that used little inquiry-based instruction. The teachers were able to integrate more inquiry-based activities in some lessons; such lessons were more effective in facilitating learning as these activities supported students’ conceptual development. Assessment was teachers’ biggest challenge and only 22% of lessons required for any type of student reflection. During the first year of teaching there was a drop in the use of inquiry-oriented discourse from student teaching lessons in the same approximate point in the semester. This drop could have been the result of 33% of the lesson having been taught out of field during teachers’ first year. Our data provides evidence that teachers assigned to out of field placements during their first year of teaching may revert to more traditional teaching practices Teacher education programs place pre-service teachers in-field to provide a content knowledge basis that can support their ability to accept and understand inquiry-based instruction during their program. 

Paper #10181: Effectiveness of a practice-based science methods course for promoting preservice teacher learning

Principal Author: Danielle Dani, Ohio University


Despite a lifetime of what Lortie (1975) calls an apprenticeship of observation in traditional science classrooms, teacher candidates are expected to adopt and enact inquiry and problem-solving based teaching practices during clinical experiences and in their teaching career. In many cases, opportunities for rehearsal and enactment of practices learned in methods courses only occur during the last, student teaching, semester of teacher preparation programs and are hindered by the teaching approaches and learning environments established by mentor teachers (Rozelle & Wilson, 2012). This presentation reports on a practice-based science methods course that provides teacher candidates opportunities to rehearse, enact, and reflect on content-specific and standards-aligned high leverage practices in authentic settings. The presentation also reports on an investigation of the affordances of the course for teacher candidate learning, development of their practice, and the benefits of the structure of the course for preservice teachers, mentor teachers, and science education programs.

Paper #10180: Influential Factors Impacting the Design of Elementary-based Formative Assessments

Principal Author: Justin R.. McFadden, University of Louisville
Co-Authors: Tom Tretter, University of Louisville; Brian Robinson, University of Louisville


Elementary science teachers need support to shift science teaching to be aligned with the expectations of current reform efforts, particularly those teachers in more rural areas who may not have access to strong support networks. Using a central project focus on the collaborative design, implementation, and refinement of multi-dimensional formative assessment tasks for use in their classrooms, we created a structured teacher learning community for 50 teachers in one educational cooperative in rural Kentucky. Using a mixed-methods case study approach, we documented (a) the factors, experiences, and supports that motivated and enable elementary teachers’ use of formative science assessments as a means for stimulating instructional change and (b) the practices teachers adopted as a result of using these assessments. Results indicated four specific factors associated with increased use of NGSS-aligned pedagogical practice: (1) quality of formative assessments, (2) nature of feedback provided to students after administering assessments (i.e. next instructional steps), (3) a greater variety and use of teaching strategies that respond to student thinking during classroom instruction, and (4) greater and more explicit involvement of students during the assessment process. 

Paper #10179: Preparing science teachers to overcome common obstacles and teach the nature of science

Principal Author: Michael P.. Clough, Texas A&M University
Co-Authors: Benjamin C.. Herman, University of Missouri, Columbia; Joanne K.. Olson, Texas A&M University


Calls for school science to promote among students more accurate understanding of the nature of science (NOS) has a long history, beginning as far back as at least the mid-nineteenth century. Beginning with Project 2061, most science education reform documents have emphasized the importance of NOS understanding in science teaching and learning. However, science teachers who want to accurately and effectively teach the NOS often encounter many substantial obstacles that interfere with their efforts. These obstacles derive from sources outside and within the schooling system, and together they make inaccurate NOS instruction or, at the very least, inattention to accurate NOS instruction far safer and easier.


Understanding why and how some science teachers do accurately and effectively teach the NOS in the face of these formidable obstacles is crucial for preservice and inservice science teacher education efforts directed toward accurate NOS instruction. Recent research has focused on science teachers who accurately and effectively teach the NOS to determine how they persevere, navigate, and overcome those institutional constraints. Such research has determined that science teachers who triumph in their efforts to accurately and effectively teach the NOS exhibit the following:

  • They deeply understand what effective NOS pedagogy entails and are aware of how complex and difficult implementing it can be.
  • They possess fervent practical and transcendental rationales for NOS teaching and learning.
  • They connect with other teachers who seek to accurately and effectively teach the NOS.
  • They do not see themselves as having to always follow the lead of their colleagues or take orders from their administrators
  • They are politically savvy.
  • They leave a school where accurate and effective NOS instruction is not possible.

This presentation, drawing from several empirical studies, addresses preparing teachers with strategies for navigating and overcoming common obstacles that interfere with efforts to accurately teach the NOS.

Paper #16023: When I Got Ambitious: Shifting an Elementary Science Methods Course Toward Ambitious Teaching

Principal Author: Patricia Bills, Oakland University


Preparing elementary science teachers is a challenge in part because there is no clear pathway for helping preservice teachers gain the skills necessary for the complexity of science teaching in a reform based context, especially given that little time is devoted to learning science teaching in teacher education programs. Developing coherence between what science methods courses address and what prospective teachers will see in classrooms in states that have adopted the NGSS requires teacher educators to make shifts in their practice as well. One approach is to develop what Windschitl and Stroupe (2017) call the what of science teaching (the NGSS) through the means by which it is done (ambitious teaching). This roundtable session will present how one elementary science teacher educator redesigned the elementary science methods course at a traditional teacher education program according to the principles of ambitious science teaching. The redesign resulted in a shift in thinking among preservice teachers toward being able to: 1) effectively plan science experiences around an anchoring event of a natural phenomenon, 2) develop student thinking through their initial attempts at a model-based approach, 3) and more closely approximated evidence-based explanations. In this session, the researcher explores the question, “what does ambitious science teacher education look like?” (Kazemi, Franke, & Lampert, 2009).

Paper #10178: Reflection on the Aspects of an Effective STEM Integration Partnership: a collaborative action research study

Principal Author: Justine N. Kim, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Corbin Rice, University of Minnesota; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota


STEM (Science, Math, Engineering, and Mathematics) education is becoming increasingly popular in academia and has research based support, yet it is not a common pedagogy used in schools. In recent years, the school–university partnership has become one of the most prevalent strategies for educational change in English countries (Zelleramayer & Margolin, 2005). In this study, teachers and a researcher engaged in Collaborative Action Research to develop STEM curriculum as part of a year long professional development model. The process of implementing an integrated STEM unit as well as the teachers and researcher reflections were documented. Through qualitative analysis, a codebook was created and the documented data was deductively coded. We argue that partnerships are the vehicle to drive stem education. The partnership model has been productive in school spaces such as informal school settings, pre-service teacher programs, science education, and literacy. However, partnerships for in school STEM spaces are still relatively new and their is a need for more literature surrounding their implementation.

Paper #10177: Statistical reliability of an English Language Nature of Solutions and Solubility-Diagnostic Instrument

Principal Author: Mandy McCormick Smith, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Jonathan M. 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. The original instrument was developed in Turkish to assess solution chemistry understanding among 16 and 17 year old students. From its original development and implementation the instrument has been translated to English and has undergone three rounds of data collection and instrument revisions.  To evaluate the reliability and the discriminatory power of this assessment tool, statistical tests were used focusing on both item analysis (item difficulty index, discrimination index, point-biserial coefficient) and the entire test (Cronbach’s alpha and Ferguson’s delta). The presentation will present data collected in college-level intro chemistry courses Fall 2018 semester and common alternative conceptions.  Future hopes for the NSS-DI Eng are that upon further improvement, it will provide chemistry educators and researchers insights into common solution chemistry conceptions, alternative conceptions, and student understandings, and will lead to improved chemistry education.

Paper #10176: Improving Teaching Engineering Self-Efficacy through Engineering Mini-Units

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


Research suggests that teachers need to experience multiple mastery experiences in order to improve science teaching self-efficacy and outcome expectancy (Tosun, 2000). A similar approach was attempted in order to improve engineering teaching self efficacy. Two-lesson Engineering Mini-Units (EMU) were integrated into a science methods course for preservice elementary teachers. First the professor led the participants in an exemplar lesson emphasizing the engineering design process. Then the preservice teachers planned their own lesson and constructed a prototype. Following receipt of professor feedback and revision, the preservice teachers implemented the lesson during their school-based field experiences with actual students. Pre and post testing using the Teaching Engineering Self-efficacy Survey (Yoon, Evans, & Strobel, 2014) over the past four semesters revealed significant gains in all five constructs measured. 

Paper #10175: Teaching the science of drug addiction: More than a traditional drug prevention program

Principal Author: Rhea L. Miles, East Carolina University
Co-Authors: Tonya Little, Northeast Academy for Aerospace and Advanced Technologies


A middle school science teacher facilitated student learning about the scientific process by having them design their own experiments using planaria and the stimulants caffeine, sugar, and an energy drink.  Students increased their knowledge about drug addiction, biomedical careers, and biomedical research. 

Paper #10174: Collaborative inquiry and the shared workspace of professional learning communities

Principal Author: Daniel Carpenter, University of Findlay
Co-Authors: Brenda Carpenter, National Science Foundation


The purpose of this paper is to explore educator collaborative inquiry in the shared workspace in professional learning communities (PLCs). Specifically, this investigation was part of an ongoing investigation of well-established PLC collaborative interactions and self-directed learning of educators as part of the shared workspace as a component of school improvement.

A qualitative design was used for this investigation. Participants were purposefully selected to provide qualitative data on existent, well-established PLCs and their practice as educators in the shared workspace. Qualitative data were collected about participant perception. Data were collected from each participant by conducting semi-structured interviews, observations, and the collection of document and artifacts.

Findings from this ongoing investigation point to positive collaborative physical interactions and intellectual discourse that lead to educator learning through the collaborative inquiry process.

Theories on PLCs and educator job-embedded professional learning are unique in this paper. The concepts of PLCs and the collaborative inquiry process have been well developed but not in the context of the shared workspace. Recent literature on effective collaborative inquiry educators undergo in PLCs as a continuing professional development model provides a foundation for the work done in this ongoing case study. Sustained collaboration and continued professional development of teaching innovations as a product of the collaborative inquiry process in the shared workspace are underdeveloped as yet but further developed in this paper.

Paper #10173: Middle School Life Science Teacher’s Understanding of Conceptual Models and Use of Technology for Designing Tinkercad-based 3D Digital Conceptual Models

Principal Author: Regina L.. Suriel, Valdosta State University
Co-Authors: Kyle W. Culpepper, Valdosta State University


Science student use of technology is often limited partly due to digital (in)accessibility and teachers’ lack of knowledge and confidence with technology (Kalonde, 2017). Studies suggest increasing science teachers’ knowledge and use of technology for instruction. This case study of 18, seventh-grade life science teachers participating in a week-long professional development workshop highlight teachers’ understanding of science-based conceptual models (CM) and designs/use of 3D digital CM utilizing Tinkercad. Findings suggest further examination of middle school science teachers’ understanding of CM scientific assumptions and limitations, and use of CM 3D designs, which without appropriate scaffold may not lead learners to deeper conceptual understanding because learners are more likely to address technical aspects of models’ structure and functionality (Norström, 2013) than scientific assumptions and limitations.

Paper #16022: Partnership with a Purpose: A Model of a School-University Collaboration

Principal Author: Aimee L. Govett, East Tennessee State University
Co-Authors: Jamie Price, East Tennessee State University


In the fall 2017, administrators and 82 teachers from a local middle school contacted professors within a college of education at a four-year university requesting some guidance in applying to become a STEM Designation School. The state department of education had created a “roadmap” which defines the attributes necessary for a school to create a comprehensive STEM learning environment for its students. The roadmap recommends partnerships between institutions of higher education and PK-12 professionals as this brings valuable tools and resources to enable innovative change in the teaching and learning environment.

When a school achieves a STEM school designation, the purpose is to promote the state’s mission of rigorous STEM-related learning opportunities for all students. These learning opportunities should ideally include experiences with project-based learning (PBL) on a continual basis throughout the school year. Teachers and administrators at the school were unfamiliar with the characteristics and implementation process associated with PBLs. Thus, education professors with experience in helping teachers develop and implement authentic PBLs were asked to create a quality professional development opportunity that allowed teachers to experience PBLs as students, and then to work together to create their own PBLs.

Teachers at the school were initially fearful of the idea of PBLs, and rightfully so due to the strict pacing guide required in order to meet content standards prior to state testing. As a result, education professors took on the role not only as partners, but also as mentors and coaches, to help teachers and administrators understand how PBLs can be used to teach standards. They (professors) wanted to model methods for using PBLs in a way that provides the students with authentic learning experiences resulting in deeper conceptual understanding of the associated content. Through this partnership, teachers at the school have developed and implemented PBLs with their students and found the experience to be one that they plan to continue in the future.

Paper #14005: Challenges in preparing teachers for diversity in today’s science classrooms: Considering wicked problems

Principal Author: Sophia (Sun Kyung) Jeong, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Stacey Britton, University of West Georgia; Sun Young Jeong, Medical College of Wisconsin; Logan Leslie, University of West Georgia; David Steele, Oak Ridge Associated Universities; Deborah J.. Tippins, University of Georgia


The purpose of this themed paper set is to examine issues of diversity in today's science classroom.  As an eclectic group of scholars including science educators, policy maker, and researchers, we are using the analytical lens of impressionist tales to foster a conversation about what we see as challenges in preparing prospective teachers for diverse science classrooms of today.  Briefly, at the center of impressionistic tales is an event, interaction, or something that happened and has left an impression that highlights the challenges science educators face in preparing prospective teachers for diversity in today's science classroom.  The proposal presents five impressionist tales which narrate challenges that came up in various contexts of teaching and learning science: 1) immigration status of students and their parents and its impact on science fieldtrips, 2) a phenomena of “othering” of students due to their names during science classes, 3) the impact of heterosexism and heteronormativity on students pursuing STEM, 4) physical challenges during an outdoor science activity, and 5) the complexity of health and safety concerns in chemistry labs for female students.  These tales center around issues of diversity that might be thorny or “wicked” to discuss (Rittel & Weber, 1973).  The issues at the heart of these interactions are especially hard to discuss because these moments often occur unexpectedly, remain in the background of students’ day-to-day experience with school science, or can pass by too quickly to do anything about it in that instant. As such, these interactions are easy to go unnoticed by the classroom teacher.  Therefore, through the use of impressionist tales, we aim to bring these challenges to the forefront of the issues we discuss among science educators and foster a conversation about what we need to do in teacher preparation programs to prepare our future science teachers to navigate these challenges.  

Paper #10172: Supporting Teachers as Designers through Professional Development

Principal Author: Julie R. Bokor, University of Florida


There is little research on how and to what extent teachers engage in the process of design, particularly in the context of translating a teacher-scientist partnership professional development (TSP PD) program into learning experiences for the K-12 science classroom. This single case study of an existing TSP PD program aimed to understand the activity structures and design supports that foster science teachers’ ability to design learning experiences for their classroom context. The conceptual framework considered design expertise as the integration of a set of professional knowledge and skills, each contributing equally. Conjecture mapping provided an explicit description of how learning may occur in a particular environment and the interaction of the variables under investigation. Quantitative instruments were used to assess subject matter knowledge (SMK), pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), curriculum design knowledge (CDK), and design expertise. Participant perceptions were considered through daily reflective journals, semi-structured interviews, and a storyline reflective method. There were no changes in SMK or PCK based on the objective measures; however, there was a gain in CDK. Additionally, the participants’ daily reflective journals reveal they perceive differences in their personal learning, pedagogical practices, and instructional design decisions as a result of the TSP PD program. All participants demonstrated a successful level of design expertise, producing curricula for use in their classrooms and indicated the activity structures and design supports were mainly affordances for their design. The findings suggest TSP PD programs situated in authentic research laboratories may not be an appropriate form of professional development to increase SMK or PCK unless explicit learning supports are included in the program design. This study proposes a new conceptual framework for the integration of professional knowledge leading to design expertise in which CDK is a necessary knowledge type that provides the foundation for design.

Paper #10171: Public School Teachers’ Understanding of Legal Issues Related to Evolution and Approaches to Teaching Evolution

Principal Author: Ronald S. Hermann, Towson University
Co-Authors: Ian C. Binns, University of North Carolina Charlotte; Lee Meadows, University of Alabama Birmingham; Joseph W. Shane, Shippensburg University


In this session we describe an ongoing study exploring K-12 public school teachers’ approaches to teaching evolution, views of evolution and creation, and knowledge of past legal cases. The present study is an expansion of Moore’s (2004) survey of 103 Minnesota biology teachers understanding of legal issues. We expand on this work by attaining more information about teachers, surveying teachers from multiple states, including all K-12 teachers of science, and including “I don’t know” as an option on the original survey developed by Moore. A 32-question survey was completed by 111 teachers from 28 different states. Interesting findings include: 50.5% devote over 17 hours to evolution instruction, 41.7% employ an advocacy approach to evolution and 19.4% differentiate between science and non-science, 50.5% teach evolution as a unifying course topic, and 55% hold a position of agnostic evolution. Only 2.8% and 9.2% of teachers, respectively, strongly agreed or agreed that they feel pressure from the community to teach alternatives to evolution. Similarly, 0.9% and 2.8%, respectively strongly agreed or agreed they feel pressure from school and/or district administrators to teach alternatives to evolution. An average of 57.68% of the responses were the correct response, 13.04% were incorrect, and 29.29% of the responses indicated the teachers did not know if the statement was correct or not. Several statements indicated that a high percentage of teachers were not sure of whether the statement was correct or not. When asked if it is still a crime to teach evolution anywhere in the United States today, 55% indicated they did not know and only 32.1% correctly responded that it is not. Fifty-four percent did not know if the court determined that creation science has no scientific merit and 35.8% correctly responded to the statement. The presentation will include resources that science teacher educators can use to help prepare K-12 public school teachers to teach evolution in a manner consistent with the law (Author, 2013a; 2017) including an upcoming book on the topic.

Paper #10170: Disciplinary Practice Understanding Among Pre-Service STEM Teachers

Principal Author: Kara E. Baldwin, Illinois State University
Co-Authors: Rebekka Darner, Illinois State University


Both the Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) highlight the importance of disciplinary practices of science and mathematics. The disciplinary practices outlined in the standards provide a framework that focuses on engaging students in behaviors typical of mathematicians and scientists in order to develop conceptual understanding. In the wake of these reform documents, developing an understanding of scientific and mathematics practices is essential for effective teaching. With limited research studies on disciplinary practice understanding, this presentation uses interview data to consider STEM preservice teacher understanding of disciplinary practices prior to the bulk of their teacher education coursework. Preliminary results suggest disciplinary practice understanding is rooted in educational experience. This presentation will discuss methods, disciplinary practice coding schemes, and preliminary analysis of preservice teachers’ understanding of disciplinary practices. 

Paper #13012: The Intersection of Formal and Informal Learning Experiences as Alternative Inclusive Spaces: Exploring Activities and Dialogues

Principal Author: Helen Douglass, University of Tulsa
Co-Authors: Geeta Verma, University of Colorado Denver


Out-of-school STEM learning spaces are fast emerging as alternative and inclusive spaces of learning for all students (including minoritized students). Professional development (PD) opportunities for Preservice and Inservice teachers around these topics are lacking. Providing learning opportunities in university science education courses will be extremely helpful to future and practicing science teachers. We will provide opportunities to session participants to engage in conversations related to the intersection of formal and out-of-school learning experiences. In addition, participants will have opportunities to experience a modified design thinking protocol, work with computer science and robotics materials and imagine/design a collaborative partnership with content experts.

Paper #10169: Students’ competencies to be a creative problem solvers with computational thinking

Principal Author: Young Shin Park, Chosun University


In this study, we would introduce how we develop one tool (CTAT) including 9 components of computational thinking and their definitions from the view of science education, and how this tool, CTAT, has been validated for its application into science teaching and learning.

The results are as follows;

We had operational definition with 9 components of CT in science education through discussion with science educator and science teachers. One thing with big change is ‘generalization’ from ‘parallelization’, which were not found at any science programs selected and analyzed in this study. In science program, the meaning of parallelization by computer science (run the same program at different computers to save time) was not appropriate and we did not find any exact parallelization in any science program. Therefore, I defined that generalization is normally coming after simulation, where students are expected to run each simulation at different context to be confident that simulation as the solution is applicable to most cases of contexts, so I added generalization into Com_CTAT_final at the end.

In general, the profile of CT components in STEAM program showed the spectrum covering from data collection to generalization as levels go higher. The first three data related CT components were dominating at elementary levels, all components of CT except parallelization were found at middle school, and finally more frequencies in each component of CT were found at high school level than middle one. Therefore, Com_CTAT_v2 (without parallelization) was well defined analyzing tool which can be applicable to decide if any program include components of CT, how much it includes, and how it can be promoted.  




Paper #10168: Creating School Advocates for Experiential Learning in the Outdoors

Principal Author: Ryan M. Walker, Mississippi State University
Co-Authors: John L. Pecore, University of West Florida; Michael Dias, Kennesaw State University; Shana N. Lee, Mississippi State University


The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT) is challenging teachers’ perspectives of experiential learning in the outdoors. In-service teachers participated in an intensive 1-year training series, designed to increase their use of experiential learning pedagogy, outdoor spaces and authentic science processes. The program consisted of four immersive workshops located within the National Park and follow-up activities by Tremont staff at the participating schools. Pedagogical aspects of the training included modeling, co-design, Understanding by Design unit planning, citizen science and reflective practice/journaling. The project evaluation team conducted interviews of participant teachers, school administration and GSMIT faculty. Field observations of training sessions focused on aligning the delivery of training materials and lessons to program goals.  Researchers identified a sequence of experiences that successfully transformed teacher perceptions of outdoor space and experiential learning to include: reexamining routines of learning, breaking down barriers to effective instruction, rebuilding successful habits and skills, reflecting, establishing new routines, embracing new perspectives, providing continued support, feedback on practiced skills, and a critical review of old routines. Challenges addressed during the duration of the program included establishing continued administrator support, teacher perceptions of outdoor space and class time for teachers to implement lessons. Outcomes for participant teachers included increased time teaching in the outdoors, improved student standardized testing scores and teacher-initiated peer training for their colleagues. This presentation will provide detailed description of the instructional strategies implemented to achieve program goals and the associated impact on participant teachers.

Paper #10167: Creating cultural competence or deficit-based views: A study examining middle school students’ experience with culturally framed engineering

Principal Author: Khomson Keratithamkul, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Justine Kim, University of Minnesota; Gillian Roehrig, University of Minnesota


While science associations have taken on the motto Science For All, 50% of all scientists and engineers in the United States are White and 61% are male (National Science Foundation, 2014). To combat this uniformity and engage students in academic content, science educators and curriculum developers have drawn from theoretical perspectives that ground engineering problems in real world context. Our study was guided by Kumashiro’s (2000) Anti-Oppressive Education theory. As engineering curricula continue to include global context, not much research has been done on the effects of this contextualization. Beliefs about the people and places are created, which may be limited through narrow portraying of these cultures. According to the Framework for Quality K-12 engineering (Moore et al., 2014), an important element of engineering curricula encompasses both local and global knowledge of the problems and solutions.

Herein, we observed and analyzed an engineering unit titled “Ecuadorian Fisherman”. Students were tasked with finding potential solutions to meet the client’s need for an affordable portable fish cooker. Students also learned several heat transfer methods before coming up with their own solutions. We then collected students’ written reflections on their engineering experience and perceptions of both Ecuadorian people and the fishing profession. All these reflections were open-coded and collapsed into themes. In addition to students learning the content, we also found that deficit-based views of the people and places presented in the lesson were created rather than the desired cultural competence views. These negative perceptions were imprinted through limited portraying of the culture being shared in the lesson. While more engineering curricula continue to be developed with global contextualization, we critically evaluate what effects this contextualized framework has when used with students who do not show an interest or identify with the culture being shared in the lesson.

Paper #10166: American Indian Students and STEM Learning

Principal Author: Rita Hagevik, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
Co-Authors: Mary Ann Jacobs, The University of North Carolina at Pembroke


The traditional knowledge passed down from generation to generation informed Indigenous peoples about how to live in their specific environments. That traditional knowledge or “Native Science” helped Native people to survive in the face of the challenges their homelands presented (Brayboy and Castagno, 2008). Traditional Western science is just beginning to acknowledge and understand the importance of Native Science. Additionally, Western scholars and educators are beginning to explore ways to use traditional Indigenous knowledge to teach STEM content. These efforts, however, are just beginning to be investigated in the science education literature and in the classroom (Brayboy and Castagno, 2008). It is well documented that Native cultures and the traditional knowledge that supported their survival were not valued in the early American educational systems developed for American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) students. This literature review gives an overview of the many twists and turns that U.S. educational policy would take regarding the education of AI/AN students. While much has changed over time with regard to how Native students, families, and communities are engaged in the educational process, much remains to be done. While we are beginning to understand AI/AN cultures and Native Science better and respect them more, the gross underrepresentation in STEM fields and coursework persists. Focusing on Native Science and teaching Western formal science so that students become well versed in both may be the key to creating more interest and engagement in STEM fields and STEM careers within AI/AN communities.

Paper #10165: An Examination of Preservice K-8 Teachers’ Autobiographies for Attitudes and Outlooks Toward Teaching Science

Principal Author: Amity F. Gann, Temple University
Co-Authors: Rebecca A. Siegel, Temple University; Janelle M. Bailey, Temple University


Teacher attitudes toward the subjects they teach, a factor affecting developmental trajectories and student outcomes, are likely developed long before the teacher enters a classroom. It is therefore useful to examine the experiences that led to these attitudes, as well as how they influence teachers’ feelings about teaching these subjects. We classified preservice elementary teachers (PSETs) into discrete profiles based on the experiences and emotions they described in science autobiographies. Initial results suggest six profiles each are sufficient to describe (a) attitudes about science and (b) outlooks toward teaching science held by preservice elementary teachers. The authors read almost 200 essays, assigning each to profiles for attitude and outlook. The data suggest that, despite PSETs not always responding to all aspects of the prompt asking for retrospective and prospective science teaching reflection, there is a strong association between attitude and outlook. Science teacher educators may find these profiles providing broad descriptions of students in their classes useful to help better address specific needs of PSETs as they prepare to lead students of their own.

Paper #10164: Is “Inquiry” Happening? Preservice and Practicing Teacher Experiences Before and After Becoming Teachers of Science

Principal Author: Alice (Jill) Black, Missouri State University


For over a century, lecture/recitation methods of learning science have been negated, while the tenets of Constructivism, with students constructing their own knowledge by assimilating new information with prior conceptions, has been recognized.  Although the definition of "inquiry" has been debated, such Constructivist-related methods allow students to make predictions and observations, or explore, before explanations are sought. Although research has indicated for decades that constructivist-based inquiry pedagogy results in heightened science learning, other studies suggest that teachers often experience barriers to implementing such methods.  What is the actual personal K-12 student experience, then, that current pre- and inservice teachers have?  Have they themselves experienced the student perspective of participating in inquiry science learning, before being expected to teach this way?  If not, are they able to engage in constructivist thinking and teaching? This study collected data from 85 preservice and inservice elementary and middle-school teachers with four surveys. In the primary study, pre- and inservice teachers were surveyed in detail about the pedagogy of their own K-8 experience at lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school levels. In the second, preservice teachers wrote about a science lesson that they particularily remember from their own elementary or middle school years. In addition, inservice teachers were asked about their owuse of Constructivist methods, using the Constructivist Teaching Inventory.  They were also given a questionnaire concerning their teaching methods and perceived barriers in regard to Constructivist teaching.  Results showed that inquiry-related teaching methods were commonly the least-reported by both preservice and inservice teachers (7.0% in lower elementary), as compared to reading/lecture, worksheets, verification labs, or craft-type activities. 100% of the remembered K-12 science activities were exploratory hands-on.  75% of inservice teachers improved their CTI pre- post/post scores.





Paper #11036: Lack of Relationship between Self-Efficacy and Science Teaching Practice

Principal Author: Katherine Carman, Drake University
Co-Authors: Jerrid Kruse, Drake University; Jesse Wilcox, Simpson College; Neal Patel, Drake University; Colin Seebach, Drake University; Joleen Henning, Drake University


While many studies use the STEBI instrument to make claims about the effectiveness of various programs (e.g., professional development, preservice, etc), we are unaware of any studies that have sought to determine if the self-efficacy as measured by the STEBI, or its subscales, is related to effective teaching practice.  Therefore, this study sought to determine if self-efficacy is related to effective teaching practice for preservice elementary teachers.

In a single elementary science education course, we collected self-efficacy data from elementary preservice teachers using the STEBI-B (Enochs & Riggs, 1990) instrument at the beginning of the course and at the end of the course. STEBI-B scores ranged from 71 – 114. We also recorded the PSTE and STOE subscales.

Video data of the preservice teachers enacting science instruction took place in a local school.  This field experience setting was highly supportive and preservice teachers were actively encouraged by the cooperating teachers and methods professor to enact all they had learned in the course. Indeed, the preservice teachers’ grades were affected by their ability to enact research-based science teaching. Preservice teacher videos were analyzed by two researchers who were not the methods professor using the Local Systemic Change Classroom Observation Protocol (LSC-COP) (Banilower, 2006). Initial agreement between the researchers was 85% with 100% agreement reached with discussions.  Resulting scores on for the LSC-COP ranged from 1 – 6, with a high score possible of 7.

Because of the non-continuous nature of the LSC-COP data, we carried out Spearman Rho correlation analyses between LSC-COP scores and the STEBI-B scores as well as both STEBI-B subscales. Only the STEBI-B and the two STEBI-B subscales demonstrated significant correlations to each other. The LSC-COP data (teaching effectiveness) was not significantly correlated to the STEBI-B or either of the STEBI-B subscales. 

Paper #10163: Teacher and School Support for Students’ Science Career Development Through Nature of Science and Inquiry

Principal Author: Bridget K.. Mulvey, Kent State University
Co-Authors: Katherine R.. Eagleton, Kent State University; Mila Rosa Librea-Carden, Kent State University; Jeff Papa, Kent State University


Students’ views on scientists are developed early and are often resistant to change. Although all students do not need to become scientists, it is critical for students to have a realistic understanding of science/scientists. The present study addresses this need by exploring support for students’ science career development and teachers’ ideas to improve this. We conducted an initial exploration of nine K-12 teachers’ (a) descriptions of schools’ student career development supports and (b) sense making of student NOS and career development experiences and the teachers’ instructional plans. Data were participants’ online discussion board responses to 8 prompts and My Career Story questionnaire responses, with all analysis following analytic induction guidelines. Findings include that more than half of the schools represented had none to minimal career development supports. Teachers were interested yet saddened to learn that many of their students were surprised that scientists could look like “ordinary people” and that their students felt they had little help related to future careers. Observation/inference-based inquiry and NOS lessons were identified as stepping-stones to explicit discussions about students’ career ideas and interests. The potential for this type of instruction and assessment to change teachers’ expectations for their students is an unexpected yet critical finding. During the PD, participants began to advocate for a consistent, integrated approach to careers. They recognized the need to go deeper than talking about generic “scientists” to address more specific science careers. Participants identified the importance of their role in supporting students’ career understanding and development. The evidence-based decisions show participants as responsive to students’ needs that they had previously been unaware. Overall, teachers may be able greatly expand student’s career development through explicit, reflective attention in their classes, building on explicit, reflective NOS instruction.

Paper #11035: The Stories of Title I Students Returning as Teachers to High-Needs Schools

Principal Author: Melissa A. Jurkiewicz, Mercer University
Co-Authors: Vicki Luther, Mercer University; Vincent Youngbauer, Mercer University; Sybil Keesbury, Mercer University; Sharon Augustine, Mercer University; William Lacefield, Mercer University; Shannon Navy, Kent State University; Susie Morrissey, Mercer University


The growing diversity in public school classrooms in the United States continues to outpace the diversity of the teaching workforce.  It is important to attract and retain minority teachers who can provide support for diverse students.  Attracting and keeping teachers is a constant struggle in American public schools and attrition rates are increasing, particularly for minority teachers in high-needs schools.  This qualitative case study chronicles the stories of three minority preservice teachers who meet five indicators for higher risk of attrition from the teaching profession.  We examine why they entered the teaching profession and their thoughts on why they will stay or leave.  The cases examined here revealed the motivations of three preservice teachers who attended Title I schools as students and noted unique advantages provided by that experience as they entered into Title I classrooms as science teachers.  This qualitative case study provides implications for recruiting and retaining minority science and math teachers.

Paper #10162: Developing K-5 Science Educators through Authentic Experiences in an Engineering Research Laboratory

Principal Author: Gayle N. Evans, University of Forida
Co-Authors: Kent Crippen, University of Florida; Chelsey Simmons, University of Florida; Renee Simmons, University of Florida


Economic analysts forecast that the U.S. will need one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade but within the workforce pipeline, the inadequate preparation of elementary school teachers is of grave concern. The focus of this study, a Research Experiences for Teachers (RET), is a 3-year program bringing together engineering research scientists, K-5 teachers, and industry professionals to address this issue. The goal of the RET is to increase interest in and preparation for STEM careers through the incorporation of STEM concepts, practices, and role models into elementary classrooms. The RET includes four distinct elements that are designed to heighten participating teachers’ STEM awareness and expertise, including: (1) a 6-week immersive research experience; (2) curriculum development led by an education expert; (3) exposure to STEM careers through seminars and field trips led by local industry professionals; and (4) engineering researcher involvement during curriculum development and implementation. This year-one evaluation is focused on the research question: What elements of the research experience support the project’s goals? and involved a mixed method approach to understanding the experience of six participating elementary teachers and six engineering graduate students who worked together as protégé-mentors in each of three different laboratories.

Paper #11034: Exploring Mathematicians Views of Nature of Mathematics and STEM Education

Principal Author: Jesse L. Wilcox, Simpson University
Co-Authors: Kean A. Roberts, Drake University; Jerrid W. Kruse, Drake University; Jaclyn M. Easter, Grand View University



The emphasis on STEM education has grown in recent years despite a relative lack of consensus of what “STEM” means (Akerson et al., 2018).  Perhaps a key part of understanding STEM is to understand the nature of each discipline and how those disciplines interact with each other.

Although existing literature exists on nature of science, technology, and engineering, the nature of math (NOM) is lacking.  Indeed, NOM has been theorized, but never corroborated with mathematicians, unlike nature of science (Wong & Hodson, 2010) and nature of engineering (Boyett et al., 2010). This qualitative study explored mathematicians’ views on the nature of math and the implications for science and STEM education.

Preliminary findings reside within four distinct categories: a social dimension of mathematics (to what extent mathematics is a social construct and how mathematicians interact), the role of representation in mathematics, the utility of mathematics (why mathematics is beneficial and influences human society), and a standard of goodness in mathematics (what makes mathematics correct/good/complete).  The study also explored how mathematicians conceptualize STEM.

Paper #10161: Students’ Application of Nature of Science Understanding to Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design

Principal Author: Kathryn Green, North Carolina State University
Co-Authors: Ian Binns, University of North Carolina-Charlotte; Mark Bloom, Dallas Baptist University


Evolution is a critical part of biology, yet is sometimes avoided by teachers due to lack of understanding, personal beliefs, or insufficient trainiing.  This can lead to teachers presenting Creationism, Intelligent Design (ID), and Darwinian evolution as equally valid theories to account for the diversity of life on Earth.  This proposal examines how community college students in an introductory biology class for non-majors think about science and apply their understanding of the nature of science to making decisions about evolution instruction. More specifically, this investigation aimed to determine how community college students in an introductory biology class for non-majors defined science and applied that definition of science to make decisions about evolution instruction in public schools. It also compares the community college data to that of elementary pre-service teachers who completed the same assignment. This is an important comparison because the undergraduate elementary education students will likely teach science to young students in the future, while undergraduate non-science majors will likely be parents of young students in the future.

Paper #11033: S+T+M=E?: A Theoretical View of the Nature of STEM

Principal Author: Joshua W. Reid, Middle Tennessee State University
Co-Authors: Candice M. Quinn, Middle Tennessee State University; Grant E. Gardner, Middle Tennessee State University; Jeremy F. Strayer, Middle Tennessee State University


There continues to be a national concern regarding the shortage of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates to fill current and anticipated STEM workforce positions (the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2012). Many educational programs have been created to help reduce the projected deficit (Honey, Pearson, & Schweingreber, 2014; U.S. Department of the Interior STEM Education and Employment Pathways, 2013), and most programs focus on increasing student interest in STEM to promote retention. Despite the push for promoting STEM education, there has been little clarity as to what skills and knowledge are required for those in the workforce (i.e., nonacademic STEM professionals), and how best to prepare students who will become the future workforce. This presentation will discuss our attempt to address this scarcity of research in two parts. First, we will discuss our results from a thorough review of the literature on the epistemologies of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (i.e., Nature of Science, Nature of Mathematics, Nature of Engineering, and Nature of Mathematics). The work resulted in a theoretical model that represents one view of the integrated nature of STEM. The second part of our study is preliminary and will involve a cross-sectional survey that will be disseminated to the STEM workforce to better understand their knowledge and skills used in their profession from either a siloed or an integrated view. During this presentation, we will present our theoretical model from the literature review, the designed survey and participants, and seek feedback for future directions and modes for the survey.

Paper #10159: Preservice Secondary Science Teachers’ Experiences with Engaging Students in the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Principal Author: Stacey L. Carpenter, University of California, Santa Barbara


This qualitative case study examined 12 U.S. preservice secondary science teachers’ experiences with engaging students in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering practices during their student teaching field placements, as well as the supports and constraints afforded to them through their field placements and university coursework. Data were collected from open-ended interviews: Preservice teachers were interviewed twice during their 13-month teacher education program. The most frequent supports that preservice teachers discussed were a focus on the practices in their university coursework by their science methods instructors and the use of instructional strategies and scaffolds to guide students as they engaged in specific practices. The most frequent constraints that preservice teachers cited were the novelty of the NGSS and a lack of knowledge about how to engage or support students in specific practices. The findings from this study have important implications for science teacher education. Although preservice teachers discussed using instructional strategies and scaffolds to support students in engaging in certain practices (e.g., engaging in argument from evidence), they did not know how to support students in engaging in other practices (e.g., asking questions, analyzing and interpreting data). Thus, science teacher educators need to ensure that preservice teachers are exposed to and have opportunities to try instructional strategies that support students’ engagement in all practices. This is particularly important for U.S. science teacher education as more states adopt standards aligned with the NGSS. However, it is also important more broadly since engaging students in science and engineering practices has been shown to be an effective form of science instruction, yet is also an area where teachers struggle.

Paper #10158: Preservice Teachers’ Conceptions of STEM Before, During and After the Planning and Delivery of a Lesson

Principal Author: Selina L. Bartels, Valparaiso University
Co-Authors: Katie Rupe, Illinois Institute of Technology; Judith Lederman


Starting as early as the 1990s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education has been gaining popularity (Bybee, 2010).  A vast amount of money has been spent on everything from STEM curriculum to STEM grants. In this current day and age every school from pre school to post secondary is looking to their teachers to deliver “STEM” curriculum.  Therefore, elementary teachers should be prepared to teach STEM lessons.  In an effort to rectify elementary teachers’ discomfort and lack of preparation to teach STEM lessons the researchers set out to teach how to plan and deliver elementary STEM lessons in preservice Mathematics and Science methods courses.  For this study we looked at what are preservice elementary teachers’ understandings of STEM and planning for STEM lessons after explicit modeling and practice in elementary science and math methods courses? There were 15 preservice teachers in this study and the study took place during two concurrent methods classes.  The findings for this study show that teachers’ understandings of STEM and the ability to lesson plan did increase from explicit and reflective modeling and teaching.  Not only did their understandings of STEM increase but their lesson planning in general improved. This study shows that preservice teachers need to have extensive modeling along with practice in writing STEM lessons in order to develop and deliver quality STEM lessons.

Paper #10153: Data Explorations in Ecology: Supporting Science Teachers’ Focus on Data in Secondary Classrooms

Principal Author: Tobias Irish, University of Hawaii at Hilo
Co-Authors: Alan Berkowitz, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Cornelia Harris, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Carol Brewer, Prairie Ecotone Research Group, LLC


The Data Explorations in Ecology Project (DEEP) was a professional development and research effort designed to support secondary science teachers in implementing instruction focused on data literacy. As part of the PD, teachers engaged in data exploration activities themselves, worked to develop curricular modules focused on data literacy, and then worked to implement instruction focused on data literacy in their science courses. The research associated with this PD effort was designed to help understand the extent to which the teachers focused on data literacy practices in their teaching and identify factors that supported or constrained their efforts. The data indicate that learning occurred for the teachers as a result of these efforts. Teachers reported that as a result of the PD and support provided by this project, they felt substantially more confident in their own data exploration skills and their ability to introduce those skills to students. They also reported having greater comfort in finding, interpreting, and using data sets in their teaching, and that they would continue to use the DEEP modules and principles in their teaching. Factors that were identified as affordances for teachers in these respects include their participation in a professional learning community (PLC), their involvement in the development of the units, the instructional resources provided by DEEP, and the opportunity to engage in data exploration activities themselves. In terms of constraints, all of the teachers felt that time was the greatest barrier to more frequent and comprehensive implementation of data exploration activities. Some of the teachers also mentioned that their own lack of data exploration skills prevented them from engaging students in these types of investigations. These results highlight key considerations in facilitating instruction focused on data literacy that can be used to help further support teachers in meeting the vision of the new science standards.

Paper #10152: K-12 Teachers’ Implementation of Computing and Computational Thinking

Principal Author: Judith Morrison, Washington Sate University
Co-Authors: Jonah Firestone, Washington State University; Danielle Malone, Washington State University


In this study, we explored the concerns and challenges expressed by teachers about incorporating computing skills and concepts into their teaching and how they plan to incorporate teaching computing and computational thinking in their K-12 classrooms. This exploration is the first step to understanding the professional development experiences teachers need to support the implementation of computing and computational thinking into their teaching. By situating the learning of computational thinking and computing in science (NGSS) and mathematics (CCSSM), students learn how to integrate computational thinking into STEM concepts, experiencing the importance of computational thinking in problem solving across disciplines. The following questions were used to focus our exploration: What are teachers’ expressed concerns and challenges for teaching computing skills and concepts? and How do teachers plan to incorporate new instruction on computational thinking and computing skills in their classrooms? Data were collected over a six-month period from 25 teacher participants in five 3-hour computing workshops. They completed a pre and post questionnaire about their concerns and challenges for implementing computing, their ideas about teaching computing in general classrooms, and their plans for implementing computing in the future. The teachers submitted plans for lessons implementing computing, a subset of teachers were interviewed, and all workshops were video-recorded. Overwhelmingly, the most common responses regarding the challenge of implementing computing was a lack of time. The teachers also cited students’ abilities and lack of resources as issues. The activities mentioned most often for future use were “unplugged” activities (activities not involving a computer but relevant to computing or computational thinking) and the use of scratch for simple coding examples. Recommendations include supporting teachers with time, resources, and professional development to ensure they are able to successfully implement interdisciplinary computing skills.

Paper #10151: American Sign Language Resources for Communicating about the Nature of Science

Principal Author: Patrick J. Enderle, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Scott Cohen, Georgia State University; Claudia Hagan, Georgia State University; Renee Schwartz, Georgia State University


Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students often experience science instruction that does not offer them opportunities to delve deeply into the nature of science (NOS). Learning about NOS concepts necessitates distinguishing between the colloquial and scientific meanings of several commonly used terms, thus emphasizing the importance of language in the learning process. To understand what linguistic resources were available, we collected and reviewed several major curricular sources specifically focused on science teaching for DHH students that provide relevant signs for science terms. This analysis focused on a list of relevant terms generated from a review of NOS literature and consultation with NOS scholars. Overall, eight prominent sources were reviewed using a list of 31 relevant terms. Findings demonstrate a significant lack of signs available for critical NOS terms.  Further, for terms that did have a sign common among several of the sources, some signs used handshapes that were very similar to other terms that could potentially facilitate the development of NOS misconceptions. The presentation provides examples of these issues, including illustrations and videos of certain signs, and discusses other potential issues that can help science teacher educators prepare teachers who can provide more equitable experiences in their classrooms.

Paper #10150: Standardized Spectacle: Teacher Educators’ Views of the Impact of a High-Stakes Science Assessment Initiated through State Policy on Teacher Certification

Principal Author: Marcelle A.. Siegel, University of Missouri
Co-Authors: Dante Cisterna; Shannon M.. Burcks, University of Missouri; Christopher D.. Murakami, Chatham University; Suleyman Cite, University of Missouri; Nilay Muslu, Mugla Sitki Kocman University


An increasing trend in teacher education programs is the implementation of high-stakes assessments for teacher certification, such as content and performance assessments. These assessments have been advocated in the context of ensuring that high-quality teachers can enter and graduate from teacher preparation programs. We study the impact of an entry-level, high-stakes assessment, developed for pre-service teachers to measure general education knowledge (including science) in a Midwestern state. In particular, we examine teacher educators’ perceptions of this assessment. We interviewed teacher educators to explore their understanding of this assessment, its characteristics, and implications. We also explored their perceptions about the relation of this assessment to teacher education curricula and pre-service teachers. Secondary data sources–includinginterviews with pre-service teachers, testing and curricular artifacts, and classroom observations–further supported the analysis. The study identified three emerging themes: ethical considerations of the assessment; the meaning of authentic assessments in teacher education; and failing the needs of pre-service teachers. We also discuss implications for teacher education programs and, in particular, for science teacher education.  

Paper #10149: Elementary Teachers Access Children’s Museum to Support STEM Learning

Principal Author: Tammera J. Mittelstet, University of Nebraska
Co-Authors: Krista L. Adams, University of Nebraska; Soo Won Shim, Purdue University


Science education is currently redefining the definition of what it means to educate students in the areas of STEM.  The National Next Generation Science Standards place an emphasis on constructing students’ knowledge by contextualizing it and providing more opportunity for the student to apply their new knowledge.  Thus, there is an upward trend for educators of the formal learning environment (schools) to interact and access more with informal learning environments.  Informal learning environments (e.g., museums, nature centers) present unique opportunities to contextualize STEM learning for students but the problem is: Are they meeting the standard of educational value for formal educators with their emphasis on learning through play?  This study investigated the educational structures in place at the exhibits of a Midwestern Children’s Museum by practicing formal educators.  Investigators used a Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) framework mindset and collect data through surveys, open-ended questionnaires, and individual interviews of practicing formal educators who have accessed the museum.  This constructivist grounded theory study helps define for the museum and other informal learning environments the formal educators’ insight into what structures the formal educators see in place within the exhibits and what improvements need to be in place for acceptance and increased participation of the formal educational entities.

Paper #10148: Examining Preservice Teachers’ Use of the UDL Framework to Ensure Access to Three-dimensional Science

Principal Author: Jennifer Mesa, University of West Florida


This study examined preservice teachers’ use of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and guidelines in planning three-dimensional science instruction for students with disabilities in an elementary science methods course.  Based on research documenting the lack of access and learning for students with disabilities in science, the methods course was redesigned to provide preservice teachers with opportunities to learn about applications of the UDL framework in science and to practice planning accessible instruction using the UDL principles and guidelines.  Specifically, the module on planning inquiry-based science instruction was revised to explicitly show preservice teachers where the UDL principles and guidelines could be applied in the 5E instructional model to reduce potential learning barriers. In addition, preservice teachers were provided with two hypothetical cases of students with learning differences to take into consideration as well as a planning tool to support their use of the UDL framework in planning accessible 5E units targeting the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Sixty-two NGSS-based 5E unit plans were analyzed to determine preservice teachers’ use of the three principles and nine guidelines of the UDL framework.  Preservice teachers favored strategies aligned with the three guidelines associated with the first UDL principle (provide multiple means of representation) such as using alternative representations including videos, diagrams and models in their teaching.  Patterns in preservice teachers’ uses of UDL were used to develop recommendations for integrating UDL in preservice science teacher education.  Recommendations focus on scaffolding preservice teachers’ use of the UDL framework and encouraging preservice teachers to consider various ways of supporting active and engaged science learners, which is critical for the successful implementation of three dimensional science in today’s inclusive classrooms.   

Paper #10147: A Practice-based Approach to Elementary Science Preservice Teacher Preparation

Principal Author: Stephen L. Thompson, University of South Carolina


The research reported here explored the science teaching self-efficacy beliefs of 64 preservice teachers who took part in a “practice-based” elementary science methods course. By practice-based we mean the course focused on collaborations that occurred in authentic classroom settings with students, centered on examining student work, and involved crafting responsive instruction. This approach emphasizes organizing elementary science teacher preparation around core teaching practices and then helps novices develop professional knowledge and skill with the targeted practices. The researchers also examined those science methods course experiences that the preservice teachers felt were especially impactful. Participants completed the STEBI B instrument pre/post course involvement, provided written responses to an ungraded end of course exit slip (artifact) prompt, “List the three course activities/experiences that most helped you better understand how to teach science at the elementary level. Describe what made them impactful for you” and a subset (N=14) took part in delayed post interviews centered on their science teaching self-efficacy and any science methods course experiences that impacting their science teaching self-efficacy. STEBI B data analysis revealed positive changes in preservice teachers’ mean scores across both the Personal Science Teaching Efficacy (PSTE) sub-scale and the Science Teaching Outcome Expectancy (STOE) sub-scale. Higher post scores in the PSTE sub-scale indicated growth in self-efficacy for science teaching while higher post scores in the STOE sub-scale indicated gains in beliefs that science teaching practices can positively impact student learning. Quantitative data analysis revealed that preservice teachers most frequently identified opportunities to learn about science teaching strategies and then practice them with students as particularly impactful. Additional trends in the preservice teachers written and interview responses will be shared and discussed within the presentation.

Paper #10145: The Impact of Cooperating Teachers on Pre-service Science Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Principal Author: Kayla R. Norville, North Carolina State University
Co-Authors: Soonhye Park, North Carolina State University


Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is a specialized body of teacher knowledge required for effective teaching (Shulman, 1986).  The student teaching experience is critical for pre-service science teachers (PSTs) to develop their PCK by integrating different knowledge bases such as content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical knowledge (PK) that they learned during coursework while interacting with students in actual classrooms.  There is a need to generate a deeper understanding of PSTs’ PCK development and how we can better the “learning-to-teach” process (Nilsson, 2008).  This multiple case study explored the impact of cooperating teachers (CTs) on PSTs' PCK development during the student teaching experience. The complicated nature of teacher knowledge cannot be gathered with one single instrument (Author, 2008); therefore, multiple instruments were used and multiple data was collected.  Data sources included observations, semi-structured interviews, researcher’s field notes, and lesson plans.  Data analysis indicated that the cooperating teachers influenced their PSTs’ PCK development in terms of the following aspects: (a) science teaching orientations increased from the beginning to the end of the semester (b) the interaction between knowledge of students (KSU) and knowledge of instructional strategies and representations (KISR) increased throughout the semester, and (c) knowledge of science curriculum was the least to interact with other components.  The findings imply that CTs are not only a critical contributing factor to PSTs’ PCK development but also a hindrance to it.

Paper #10144: An investigation of teacher and student perspectives on connecting ecology learning with environmental issues

Principal Author: Yael Wyner, City College of New York, City University of New York
Co-Authors: Erica Blatt, Rowan University


This study uses sociocultural learning theory to understand how middle and high school science students and pre and in-service science teachers connect daily life activities to environmental issues and ecology. As part of a larger open-ended questionnaire, participants (N=421) drew diagrams and completed open-ended questions regarding the food they eat and how it relates to the environment, environmental issues, and to the ecological principle of food webs. Follow-up interviews were conducted with 54 participants. Responses were analyzed for how they described the food eaten, the environment, environmental issues, and the food web connections. Results indicate that most participants were unable to connect the food they eat with ecosystem food webs, although many of these respondents demonstrated food web understanding proficiency. The results suggest a disconnect between formal ecology instruction and out of school daily life activities like eating. We provide several recommendations for how this disconnect can be remedied in our classrooms.

Paper #10143: Immersive Scenarios: Engaging Children in Authentic Inquiry

Principal Author: Dana L.. Zeidler, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Mitch J.. Ruzek, University of South Florida; Melanie Kinskey, University of South Florida; Kati Burns, Educational Foundation of Sarasota County - Florida


The overarching goal in science education is the development of scientific literacy (Roberts, 2007, 2011; Roberts & Bybee, 2014.) Traditional science teaching has tended to focus on compartmentalized academic content that is removed from the practice of everyday life. Confronting this has been a perennial challenge in science teacher education, and the impact on the stifling students’ creativity, critical thinking and engagement has been well document in the literature (DeBoer, 2014; Zeidler, et al., 2016). Progressive science teaching emphasizes situating learning in sociocultural contexts that engage children in activity of learning by tapping their natural instincts of wonder, curiosity raising questions and actively seeking meaning about the world around them (Zeidler, 2014). In this paper, we offer an innovative idea positioned in the notion of Immersive Academics (IA) drawing from science, the creative arts, social sciences, language arts, and other domains central to human understanding that was conducted at a whole school level – an immersion event that cut across grade levels and content areas at an elementary school.

Our method of instruction was grounded in authentic inquiry (Crawford, 2014; Ireland, Watters, Bowniee, & Lupton, 2011) and focused on a tailored curriculum designed to meet the developmental needs of elementary children, tapping science, the creative arts, social sciences, language arts, and other domains central to human understanding as we modeled and fostered authentic scientific habits of mind. An overview of this week-long immersive scenario is presented and key ideas for successful implementation for whole school commitment are discussed.

Paper #10142: Personification as a Reflective Tool to Examine Pre-service Teachers Attitudes Towards and Conceptions of Biology

Principal Author: Zachary T. Grimes, Middle Tennessee State University
Co-Authors: Joshua W. Reid, Middle Tennessee State University; Cindi Smith-Walters, Middle Tennessee State University


Recent calls for reform in science education have noted the need for student engagement in scientific practices. By engaging in scientific practices, students interact with the discipline via cognitive and affective interactions. Although much research has explored the cognitive outcomes of preservice teacher learning in science courses, there is a dearth in the literature exploring the affective outcomes. As evidenced by decades of research, learning to be a reflective practitioner is difficult for pre-service teachers, yet reflection is needed for development as an effective teacher, including the teacher identity, science knowledge for teaching, and honing their teaching skills. In order to explore the dynamic landscape of preservice teacher attitudes and epistemic emotions at the end of a one-semester biology course, we used a reflective prompt which asked students to personify biology. This work illuminated students’ affective responses towards biology. We will show how this prompt revealed students’ attitudes towards biology, their perception of biology as a discipline, as well as, how this prompt could be used in teacher education.

Paper #11032: Supporting Novice Teachers with an Induction Process: VCU Noyce

Principal Author: Elizabeth W. Edmondson, Virginia Commonwealth University


The use of a two year induction model supports our Noyce Scholars in their first years of teaching. New teachers leave at high rates within the first five years of teaching. Ingersoll (2007), supported by Linda Darling-Hammond et al. (2016), identified several contributing factors including low salaries, lack of support from school administrations, student discipline problems, and the lack of teacher input into school decision making. This paper investigates the impact of the XXX Phase I and II Noyce induction model on teacher retention to learn whether the model used is able to overcome the contributing factors identified by Ingersoll. The following questions guided this investigation: (1) What rates of participation in induction sessions occurred for Noyce Scholars now novice teachers? (2) How does participation in induction sessions impact retention of novice teachers? (3) What components of the induction model supported retention of the novice teachers? (4) What factors has the induction model not been able to help the novice teachers overcome? Our induction model engages the Scholars in two protocols, a problem-solving and success protocol, that provide opportunities to collaborate and support one another. Multiple methods, both quantitative and an inductive qualitative approach, were used to answer the research questions. Seven cohorts (n= 65) of middle and high school novice teachers from one Mid-Atlantic University Noyce Grant are the subjects of this study. The two-year model has been very successful with at least 83% of the completing scholars attending at least one session. There are a variety of reasons for not attending including family obligations in the evening and living to far from the site to attend. Qualitative analysis of interview transcripts and session videotape indicate that the program provides needed support: personal-emotional, pedagogical, task/problem-focused, and critical/reflective, consistency, and community building. Initial findings indicate that this model has helped to retain our novice teachers.

Paper #10141: Fostering STEM Interest in Middle School Female Students of Color through STEM Integration at a Developing STEM School

Principal Author: Felicia D. T.. Leammukda, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Bonnie B.. Boyd, University of Minnesota; Gillian H.. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) have been and continue to be dominated by white males (Corbett & Hill, 2015). Females, particularly female students of color, are underrepresented in post-high school STEM majors and STEM careers. The population of STEM majors and careers do not reflect current demographics of the US population (Corbett & Hill, 2015), with this decline in attitudes among female students of color occurring during the middle school years (Reigle-Crumb, Moore, & Ramos-Wada, 2010). Participants of this study include female students of color at an emerging urban STEM school located in the Midwestern United States. The whole seventh grade class at the school participated in inclusive integrated STEM units that were developed by the core seventh grade teachers and implemented during the regular school day. This study examined whether implementation of integrated STEM curricula helps to foster STEM interest in seventh grade girls of color. Results include three themes that emerged from this study that contributed to cultivating STEM interest in girls of color: 1) Students were able to make connections between what they learned from participating in the STEM units and their own daily lives. 2) Students were given the opportunity to present their work to their peers and to a broader audience. 3) Due to the flexibility in schedule and teacher autonomy to develop curricula, students were given the opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary STEM units and given the space and time to work together in a supportive environment. Results of this study can be used to develop and guide further integrated STEM curricula that focuses on improving STEM interest, with the ultimate goal of increasing representation of females of color in these areas. The authors of this study challenge educators to find ways to appropriately support female students of color in their success in STEM by improving their STEM interest.  

Key Words: Female Students of Color; STEM interest; Single Case Study, Integrated STEM Curricula

Paper #11031: Change the Culture or Change the Girl: The Gender Gap in Physics

Principal Author: Stephanie M. Stehle, George Mason University


Gender disparities in the STEM workforce continue despite over fifty years of attention to the problem (American Physical Society, n.d.; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011; U.S. Department of Commerce, 2017). Of the different STEM disciplines, physics has one of the worst female representations with less than twenty percent of the physics degrees going to women (American Physical Society, n.d.). This literature review identifies factors that contribute to the disparity, and research-based strategies to address the problem.  Areas for potential future research are discussed.

Factors playing into the gender gap include (a) achievement, (b) teaching methods, (c) learning strategies, (d) stereotype threat, (e) self-concept, (f) interest in physics, (g) self-efficacy, (h) gender stereotypes, (i) gender invisibility, (j) intellectual recognition, and (k) compensation. Literature reviewed to identify solutions to the problem ranges from studies set in elementary schools up through graduate schools and professional life.  Strategies identified include those that teachers and other practitioners can implement, as well as raising awareness of the gender gap from a young age. Efforts to change the gender gap tend to emphasize either changing the culture or changing the girl (Lubienski & Ganley, 2017).  Some literature suggests that a critical mass of 30% female must be reached to make STEM, and physics specifically, a more welcoming field for women (Hughes, 2014; Russo & Brittain, 2014). In physics this means an increase of 50% over current participation to reach this threshold.  This presentation challenges the arguments that we should focus on either changing the culture or the girl in order to reach the critical mass.  A concerted effort in multiple areas will help us move toward gender equity in STEM and physics.

Areas of future research are recommended.  These include raising awareness of differences in participation within STEM, focusing on interest in STEM, and physics, at an earlier age, and changes to classroom climate. 

Paper #10140: “It’s not a just deaf or just black thing, it’s a deaf/black thing”: Intersectionality and mentorship in STEM for deaf youth

Principal Author: Jessica A. Scott, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Maggie Renken, Georgia State University; Patrick Enderle, Georgia State University; Scott Cohen, Georgia State University


Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career options are quickly expanding. National initiatives are focused on improving education and retention within the STEM career pipeline. A potential mechanism for improved STEM education outcomes may be mentorship. Experienced adults with backgrounds similar to those of their mentees may positively impact mentees’ cognitive and affective outcomes. This may be particularly true for underrepresented DHH students. Like many minority groups, deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) youth and adults are underrepresented in STEM coursework, majors, and careers. This study examines focus group data that asks DHH youth in high school the potential role that a DHH STEM mentor could play in their vocational training, college, and/or career trajectories. Findings indicate that DHH youth have strong beliefs about mentorship and the characteristics of a successful mentor. Specifically, participants discussed the importance of alignment of language use, cultural group membership, and career goals between mentors and mentees. Participants stated a desire for a mentor who could communicate with them using American Sign Language, and some also noted that the racial/ethnic background was important in addition to a preference for a DHH rather than hearing mentor. Intersectional experiences of an individual who is DHH and a racial/ethnic minority may be an important facet of mentorship. Youth also emphasized that a STEM mentor should be actively working within the specific field that the mentee is interested in. These findings have important implications for teachers working with this population and other minority or underrepresented groups in STEM. Higher education faculty and DHH adults who work in STEM fields may wish to explore the possibility of establishing mentorship programs that provide an entry point into STEM and support for students from underrepresented groups who have an interest in pursuing a STEM career.

Paper #10139: Science teachers’ perceptions of their increasing use of professional noticing during instruction

Principal Author: Lauren N. Stewart, San Diego State University
Co-Authors: Meredith Houle Vaughn, San Diego State University; Donna L. Ross, San Diego State University


Teacher professional noticing is defined as the in-the-moment decision making that teachers make in their classrooms. Noticing is composed of three component skills: attending to, interpreting, and responding to student ideas. The present study examines five teachers’ reflections on their growth of their noticing skills and how these skills influence their teaching. This study is part of a larger five-year NSF-funded Noyce Master Teacher Fellowship Program. The five teachers included in the present study are five out of 16 exemplary secondary science teachers in the southwestern United States. Teachers’ growth in noticing was measured using a noticing task developed by the authors. This task was administered at the beginning and at the mid-point of the study and is used to measure the noticing skills that teachers engage in when performing the task. These teachers were selected because they demonstrated growth in either attending to student ideas, interpreting student ideas, or both. Teachers’ reflections were analyzed and six major themes were identified. These themes are: 1) influencing teacher moves, 2) eliciting student thinking, 3) no longer focused on looking for right or wrong answers, 4) use of phenomenon-based instruction, 5) using students’ work as evidence for understanding, and 6) discussing students’ use of evidence in supporting their explanations and understandings. The themes highlighted and discussed in the present study are 1) influencing teacher moves, 2) eliciting student thinking, and 3) no longer focused on looking for right or wrong answers. Specific quotes from each teachers’ reflections are presented and comparisons are made between the teachers’ responses. Our study demonstrates that there are parallels between what teachers perceive that they attend, interpret, and respond to in their classrooms and what the teachers actually notice during professional development (PD). Our study also demonstrates that the teachers who participated in this PD program perceived that they had grown in their noticing skills since the program’s start.

Paper #15008: A course to foster teacher agency in alleviating STEM opportunity and achievement gaps: A syllabus share

Principal Author: Rebekka Darner, Illinois State University
Co-Authors: Kara E.. Baldwin, Illinois State University


Opportunity and achievement gaps that begin in K-12 grades result in systematic under-representation by women and some ethnic minorities in science disciplines. This presentation details a course in which teachers develop understanding of the sources of such gaps and their perceived roles in addressing opportunity and achievement gaps in their classrooms. Rising seniors earning their secondary teaching credentials in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field(s) were enrolled in a seminar course that explored the sources of opportunity and achievement gaps in STEM fields, the role of implicit bias in teacher expectations, strategies for managing implicit bias, the role of teachers’ and students’ racial identity development in teacher-student interactions, and teacher agency as a vehicle for closing opportunity gaps. Students’ written reflections, online discussions, and final papers indicate that by focusing on teacher agency, substantial understanding of opportunity and achievement gaps can be fostered in a relatively short but intense course. The syllabus, timeline, and all assignment prompts for this course will be shared and discussed.

Paper #13011: 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 Liddell, Alabama State University; Shirley Scarbrough, Alabama State University; Carol Banks, Tuskegee University


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 #13010: Creating Confidence in Science Teachers to Lead Field Experiences

Principal Author: Sarah M. Nuss, Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in VA
Co-Authors: Lisa A. Lawrence, Virginia Institute of Marine Science


There is an overwhelming consensus that both increased learning and a sense of stewardship emerge from first-hand experiences in the environment (Chesapeake Bay Program, 2001).  Educational research corroborates the observation that involvement in real-world experiences enhance learning (Lieberman & Hoody, 1998; Bestelmeyer et al., 2015). Some studies have found that environmental education opportunities in schools even improved student performance (Bartosh 2004 and Louv 2005).  National efforts such as the No Child Left Inside (NCLI) initiative (US Senate 2011) have grown from demonstrations of the efficacy of environmental education experiences in offering teachers authentic ways to teach problem solving and demonstrate the multidisciplinary nature of science (Badger 2010).  Schools are the most plausible way to systemically offer environmental education to K-12 students, thus teachers are playing a significant role in these experiences in the environment (Nagra 2010).

While K-12 students are identified as the key recipients of stewardship education and meaningful outdoor experiences, their teachers frequently lack the background, experience or confidence needed to develop and implement a meaningful watershed educational experience (MWEE) for their classes.  Educators from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve have developed a two-day workshop for pre-service teachers at the College of William and Mary to develop their scientific investigative skills, and increase confidence in putting field experiences into practice in their classroom.  The pre-service teachers participate in a number of examples of field experiences, including preparatory, action, and reflection activities.  At the completion of the workshop, teachers have stated that they are not only confident, but excited to utilize these new skills in their current and future classrooms.

Paper #13009: Impacts and implications of a faculty professional development workshop in environmental education

Principal Author: Michael E. Beeth, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Co-Authors: Scott Ashmann, University of Wisconsin Green Bay; Rebecca L. Franzen, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point


Teacher preparation programs in Wisconsin must include instruction in environmental education and the conservation of natural resources by law. Authors (2015) documented that the means by which teacher education programs in Wisconsin meet this statutory requirement varied tremendously from simply watching a video in a science content course to environmental education as an important focus of the entire teacher preparation program. Given the statutory mandate for environmental education and the wide range of approaches of meeting this requirement, we were challenged to offer two Environmental Education Workshops for Wisconsin Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) to develop the instructional materials, human and social resources needed to improve the delivery of instruction in environmental education statewide. With funding from the National Science Foundation (DRL 1638240), an organizing committee composed of teacher educators from public and private institutions of higher education and the Environmental Education Consultant from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction chose place-based learning as the instructional framework for our workshop (Sobel, 2005). Three case studies will be presented that analyze the instructional materials developed by participants, how those materials were incorporated into syllabi, and interviews about the impacts the workshop had on participants and his or her teacher preparation program. These document the role that material, human and social resources played in improving these individuals’ approaches to environmental education.

Paper #10138: Environmental Topics in Physics by Inquiry Course: Integration Challenges Encountered by Physics Teachers

Principal Author: David Kimori, Minnesota State University, Mankato


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 challenges the teachers faced while integrating environmental topics in their classrooms. 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 Ham and Sewing (1988) four categories of barriers to environmental education. Findings of this study indicate that teachers acknowledge the importance of teaching environmental issues in their classrooms but continue to struggle with conceptual, educational, logistical and attitudinal barriers to successful integration of environmental topics in physics.

Paper #11029: Teaching Evolution in the Deep South

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


Central to understanding of biology by the scientific community, the teaching and learning of evolution in American 6-12 public schools continues to be inconsistent. The quality of evolution instruction (which is tied to teachers’ acceptance or rejection of evolution) is also partially tied to the cultural norms and institutional expectations of the communities to which students and teachers belong, including religion and state-local politics. In order to enhance evolution education, a better understanding of this phenomena is warranted, meaning a deeper understanding of the perceived cultural barriers and institutional challenges 6-12 science teachers face in areas where evolution is taboo. This in-progress case study seeks to investigate the state of evolution education in Alabama, a state that has forward thinking in the adoption of new science standards (i.e. placing more emphasis on evolutionary theory and adjacent concepts), yet is located in a socially conservative region of the United States. Additionally, this study seeks to identify generalizable trends for states, where the cultural dynamics are similar (i.e. predominantly Christian and politically, socially conservative). Distributed statewide to middle and high school teachers, an online questionnaire collected both quantitative and qualitative data on 6-12 Alabama-based science teachers’ acceptance and understanding of evolution, instructional practices for evolutionary theory and adjacent concepts, perceived influences on their instructional practices, and changes to their teaching practices since the adoption of new standards in 2015. A subset of participants representing acceptance levels (i.e. acceptance, non-acceptance, and undecided) will be recruited for semi-structured interviews to further explore influences and changes to teaching practices for evolutionary theory. This study provides insight to the cultural influences and institutional barriers teachers face when engaging in secondary evolution instruction.

Paper #10136: Development of Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Science Teacher Identity and Self-efficacy

Principal Author: Deepika Menon, Towson University
Co-Authors: Saiqa Azam, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada


Science teacher identity and self-efficacy beliefs that play a major role in determining teachers’ science teaching practices have been the topic of great interest in the preservice science teacher education. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate how and what factors are associated with preservice elementary teachers’ formation of science teacher identity over the years of past experiences with science and how their identities are shaped within the context of a science methods course. The primary data sources included pre- and post-administration of the Science Teaching Efficacy Belief Instrument-B (STEBI-B), demographic and open-ended questionnaires, written science autobiography, written reflections on teaching experiences, field- notes by researchers during classroom observations, and artifacts. A total of 55 preservice elementary teachers participated in this study. The study took place at two research sites: (1) at a large Mid-Atlantic university in the United States (N=42), and (2) at a public university in Canada (N=13). The pre-post repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the statistically significant differences between the means of the STEBI-B pre- and post-test. Results indicated statistically significant gains in participants’ science self-efficacy beliefs. Qualitative analysis of the participants’ responses indicated positive shifts in their science teacher self-image and they credited their experiences in the field for enhancing their confidence to teach science. Five categories representing the course-related factors contributing towards development of participants’ science teacher identity were found: (1) engaging young learners in science, (2) pedagogical strategies to enhance student-centered instruction, (3) teacher actions to support student learning, (4) assessment strategies to assess student learning, and (5) recognizing challenges in classroom teaching. The study includes implications for preservice teacher education programs, science teacher education, and research.

Paper #10135: Maximizing Observation, Analysis, Feedback and Reflection During Clinical Experiences Using An App-based Tool That Facilitates A Team Approach

Principal Author: Craig Berg, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Co-Authors: Raymond Scolavino, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Scott Ashmann, UW-Green Bay


Preparing future teachers how to teach effectively and engaging learners at high levels involves complex tasks that sequence knowledge and awareness, practice, observation and data collection, followed by analysis and reflection.  Observations of teaching episodes and data analysis involve both qualitative (used most often) and quantitative (to a lesser extent). In this session we will describe how we utilize a new development of a web-based app that maximizes observation of both qualitative and quantitative factors, provides instant and detailed analysis, that allows for rich feedback and sets the groundwork for meaningful reflection. This tool can be utilized either during a classroom observation, or from captured video that is uploaded and processed post-teaching. This tool and process provides robust measures of teacher questioning and responding, general classroom activity, general and specific student misbehavior and student engagement data. The presenters will show how the tool is used by displaying video and the accompany data collection, followed by example analysis, and then showing the robust feedback that is possible pertaining to potential growth in teaching skills. This tool was used in a research study designed to provide indicators of levels of preservice teacher’s growth with regard to teacher-student interaction tendencies and patterns, classroom management, and student engagement. The results of the study and suggestions for using this tool in preservice or in-service programs will be shared.

Paper #10134: Favored or forgotten: The implementation of science and engineering practices within K-5 Life Science

Principal Author: Michelle Forsythe, Texas State University


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) set down a bold vision for three-dimensional science education that was brought to life via performance expectations for each grade band. When the performance expectations were being written, the intent was for all practices to be emphasized within a grade band and for multiple practices to be used with each disciplinary core idea. However, the extent to which this intent has persistent across standards, state accountability systems, and local curricula remains an open question. This paper presents the initial findings of a descriptive study into how SEPs are represented within the NGSS K-5 performance expectations as well as select curricular resources and assessments designed to align with these performance expectations.

Findings indicate that while all eight of the SEPs are represented across the K-5 performance expectations, the SEPS vary in how they are represented across the domains. For example, the Life Sciences disproportionately draws upon the practice of Argumentation, while the Earth and Space Sciences does likewise with Communication. In addition, the Physical Sciences accounts for approximately three-quarters of all of the performance expectations for Planning and Carrying Out Investigations. Furthermore, the operationalization of performance expectations within assessments and classroom resources suggests that the full scope of these practices is often stripped away during enactment.

When an SEP is primarily supported within one domain of science and left out of others, fundamental aspects of this practice have the potential to be distorted. Likewise, students might not get opportunities to experience key aspects of how scientists construct knowledge within that domain. I argue that such a culture of favored and forgotten practices might have taken root within K-5 Life Science. In particular, there is the potential that elementary students might not have opportunities to explore the rich ways in which life science disciplines such as ecology enact the practice of Planning and Carrying Out Investigations.

Paper #10133: The Availability and Quality of Existing Curriculum Materials Supporting Chemistry Teachers’ NGSS-Aligned Engineering Instruction

Principal Author: Sarah B.. Boesdorfer, Illinois State University
Co-Authors: Anna Maria Arias, Kennesaw State University; Bayleigh Mull, Illinois State University; Kyle A.. Lieberum, Illinois State University


Curriculum materials can play a major role in shaping teachers’ thinking about instruction and content as well as serve as a support for teachers’ learning.  With the inclusion of engineering in NGSS, many teachers may be turning to curriculum materials to help them infuse engineering into their science classroom especially when they do not have the time or opportunity for professional development sessions.  In this study, we identified curriculum materials freely available online to chemistry teachers trying to incorporate engineering in the topics of stoichiometry and/or energy. These two topics were chosen as they are likely to be included in introductory chemistry curricula at the high school level and one is explicitly linked to engineering in NGSS while the other is not. Using qualitative coding methods and a coding scheme based on Roblin et al.’s (2018) work, we examined what the materials had to offer the chemistry teachers in the way of developing their understanding of engineering and teaching it. Our finding indicate there are limited existing curriculum materials to support teachers engineering incorporated into secondary chemistry content, and the support for teachers varied in term of quantity, quality, and usefulness across these materials. The materials provided procedural information for activities but lacked in supports for teacher learning and student development beyond the procedure. Implications for the enactment of NGSS along with needs for curriculum development and teacher learning will be discussed. ASTE members interested in curriculum development and teacher development especially for the secondary level, will be interested in this study as it highlights how teachers will likely need more support and resources in order to enact the vision of NGSS. In addition, this study has implication for secondary teacher educators who will need to consider how to help teachers identify useful curriculum materials for integrating engineering and science.

Paper #11027: Using the Lakatosian Conflict Map for conceptual change of pre-service elementary teachers about the seasons

Principal Author: Hyonyong Lee, Kyungpook National University
Co-Authors: Jun-young Oh, Hanyang University


Kuhn's model of science has been widely influential, but in this paper, it is argued that it is more appropriate to consider constructivist learning within science education as a research program in the sense used by Lakatos. This study offers teaching strategies and their corresponding instructional sequences based on Lakatosian Methodology, and examines the effects of a Lakatosian Conflict Map using pre-service elementary teachers’ conceptual understandings of the causes of seasons. The Lakatosian Conflict Map was applied to concepts of seasonal change held by pre-service elementary teachers. Most pre-service elementary teachers consistently protect their hard-core beliefs about seasonal change by offering auxiliary hypotheses related to earth’s elliptical orbit and the tilt of its rotational in response to activities designed to promote conceptual change around knowledge related to the cause of the seasons. Specifically, the critical event rather than the discrepant event in the Lakatosian Conflict Map was conducted in a Lakatosian conflict group and these were allowed to explicitly express their representations about the phenomena derived from these events. The result of this study is that instruction using the new Lakatosian Conflict Map produced more favorable outcomes in terms of conceptual change traditional instruction. This study concludes that the Lakatosian Conflict Map can help science teachers and students resolve the conflicts between students’ existing ideas and target scientific concepts.

Paper #15007: Using children’s literature to advance preservice teachers’ implementation of scientific inquiry and engineering design

Principal Author: Michelle Forsythe, Texas State University
Co-Authors: Julie Jackson, Texas State University


This presentation features in-class activities and assignments designed to leverage elementary teacher candidates’ prior interest in children’s literature to advance the ways in which they design lessons that promote students’ scientific inquiry and engineering design.

Paper #11026: A Cross College Approach to Encourage the Discussion of the Recruitment, Preparation and Induction of Science Teachers

Principal Author: Julie Luft, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Paula Lemons, University of Georgia; Dorothy Y.. White, University of Georgia; Blake Whitt, University of Georgia; Elana B.. Worth, University of Georgia; Clay McElheny, University of Georgia; Julia Przybyla-Kuchek, University of Georgia


Across the United States, approximately 44% of public school teachers will leave teaching within their first five years of employment (e.g., Owens, 2015). Teacher turnover is problematic for many reasons. One reason is that low teacher satisfaction and low teacher morale are often associated with teacher turnover (e.g., Grissom, 2011; Simon & Johnson, 2013).  Another reason that teacher turnover is problematic is the impact on student learning. It takes time for new teachers to hone their skills and better support student learning. One way to address this problem is to contemplate how universities recruit, prepare or induct science teachers. Faculty at one university wanted to address this problem, and did so by creating a faculty learning community that explored these areas over a two-year period. In the first year, the first three meetings were focused on types of recruitment that were evident at UNIVERSITY. The next five meetings were focused on how teachers were and should be prepared. Guest speakers discussed various aspects of science and mathematics teacher preparation, which included state standards in terms of teacher preparation and emerging research pertaining to teacher education. The different secondary teacher preparation programs were also reviewed. During the last meetings, a draft report of the work of the FLC members over the year was written and reviewed. When the report was approved by all FLC members, the FLC members met with the Deans of the COE and the COAS over lunch to discuss what was learned over the course of a year. During the second year, there were two parts to the FLC. The first part of the FLC was focused on designing and printing of a pamphlet that described the science and mathematics teacher education process at UNIVERSITY. The second part of the year focused on creating a formal Core and Advisory Team to continue the work of examining the recruitment and preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers.

Paper #10132: A case study of a 6th grade science teacher’s implementation of the 5R Instructional Model

Principal Author: Molly Weinburgh, Texas Christian University
Co-Authors: Cecilia Silva, Texas Christian University


Our research focuses on the issue of helping in-service teachers develop the skills and knowledge to help their emergent multilingual students acquire scientific conceptual knowledge and the language that supports the conceptual learning. In schools/districts with an increasing population of emergent multilingual students, having strategies for incorporating language development with effective science instruction is in more demand by teachers and administrators. Thus, the 5R Instructional Model was emphasized during a two-year professional development program. Using a cases study design, we investigated the implementation of the 5R Instructional Model by a middle school science teacher (Naomi).  Observations were conducted two or three times a week for February to May by two researchers.  Some observations were made by both at the same time and some were made by only one researcher.

Paper #10131: Learning Theory in the Science Classroom: A two-year study of pre-service teachers’ use of learning theory in the science classroom

Principal Author: Jennifer F. Oramous, University of Arkansas
Co-Authors: Stephen R. Burgin, University of Arkansas


In this presentation, we will share results from a continuing study with preservice secondary science teachers (PST) and their use of learning theories (LT) in the classroom. Two years of data have been collected and data from the current year (a third year) will be included in our analysis. Using observations and student artifacts, we explored the ways in which various LT influenced the practices of preservice secondary science teachers during their spring internship. A typological approach defined by Hatch (2002) was used to analyze the data. Constructivism and Behaviorism had a greater impact on the PST than other theories in the first two years. Explanations for why that might have occurred will be discussed. We will also discuss what changes are being made to the methods course in the current year to encourage more LT usage in the current year’s PSTs. We will present our syllabi from the original methods course and the revised methods course, as well as discuss suggestions for improvement in preservice secondary science teachers’ use of learning theory to influence their classroom practices.

Paper #10130: Investigating the Result of Using an Analogy (Tangram) In Increasing Teachers’ Understanding of Nature of Science

Principal Author: Noushin Nouri, Uinversity of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Co-Authors: Maryam Saberi, University of Shiraz


Developing a proper view of nature of science (NOS) among teachers and as a result among students has been the goal of science education for decades. However, most of the materials introduced for teaching NOS are limited to introducing two or three elements mostly including observation, inference, and creativity. The activity is introduced in this paper, covers several aspects of NOS including but not limited to the role of background knowledge, framework changing, the scientific community, and tentativeness nature of science. The activity can be used decontextualized in science method classes and has high potential to be contextualized by history of science. The analogy is tested in several science method classes and professional developments for inservice teachers. The results showed the effectiveness of it in increasing teachers’ knowledge about targeted NOS aspects. In addition, inservice teachers showed excitement about the analogy due to accessibility of materials.

Paper #10129: Planning Ambitious Science Lessons: Pre-service Elementary Teachers’ Curricular Adaptations

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


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and its emphasis on “three-dimensional” teaching and learning, requires shifts in science teachers’ focus from simply teaching science ideas to helping students figure out explanations of phenomena, and these shifts are ambitious. Ambitious instruction is rarely enacted in science classrooms, particularly elementary classrooms. However, there is evidence that curriculum materials can play a role in supporting elementary teachers to shift their science instruction in pedagogically ambitious ways. That being said, there are very few elementary materials that are yet truly aligned with the current 3D vision of NGSS. Thus, teachers need to be able to analyze and adapt the curriculum materials they use in order to identify and compensate for the weaknesses of the materials. Curriculum analysis and adaptation is part of the practice of teaching, and are necessary skills for pre-service teachers (PSTs) to learn. Using the tenets of ambitious science instruction, and Remillard’s (2005) teacher-curriculum Framework, this study examined the ways in which elementary pre-service teachers adapted published science curriculum materials in order to support students’ engagement in ambitious, three-dimensional science learning. Preliminary findings indicate that the insertion of new elements into existing curriculum materials was the most common type of adaptation pre-service teachers made to lessons, and the nature of some of these insertions related to anchoring students’ learning in real-world phenomena. Findings also suggest that pre-service teachers struggled to identify and explain an academically productive lesson phenomenon, to anticipate students’ ideas, and to plan lessons around the phenomenon in order to support students in figuring out some science content, all of which are ambitious science teaching practices. Additional results, implications for research, and recommendations for science teacher education will be presented.

Paper #10128: Assessing in-service elementary teachers’ conceptions of forces: Best practices that promote increased conceptual understanding.

Principal Author: Kimberly H. Lott, Utah State University
Co-Authors: Max Longhurst, Utah State University; Brenda Bennett, Utah State University


Often elementary teachers feel passion for the content they love, but find it uncomfortable teaching content in which they are less familiar. This is particularly true for science since elementary teachers frequently report a lack of science content knowledge. In order to prepare elementary science teachers to address the many facets of the current NGSS standards, they must have targeted professional learning to increase their familiarity with the fundamental science content found in grades K-6. Fifty-four in-service elementary teachers across a state in the intermountain West were assessed before and after a science content course on force. Topics discussed in this course included Newton’s Laws of Motion, friction, gravity, air resistance, density, magnetism, seasons, and moon phases. Our presentation shares the shifts in conceptual understanding related to several of these fundamental topics, as well as misconceptions that seemed to still persist. A program, instructor, and participant perspective will be shared.  Additionally, strategies will be discussed that appear to lead to increased conceptual understanding.

Paper #10126: Success in Middle School Science: A Model for Professional Development

Principal Author: Cynthia C. Gardner, Lander University
Co-Authors: Jenny Risinger, Greenwood District 50


Success in Middle School Science (SIMSS) forms a collaborative partnership between a school district and a local university.  The purpose of the SIMSS program is to provide sustained professional development in science content knowledge and pedagogy for middle school science teachers (grades 6-8).  A key feature of the program is yearlong half-day professional development coupled with an intensive weeklong summer camp.  Results from the three-year program indicate the model supports the development of teachers’ content knowledge and pedagogy specific to science.

Paper #16020: NGSS – Shifting Mindset and Practice: Distinguishing Between Unit Design and Unit Execution

Principal Author: Ana Houseal, University of Wyoming
Co-Authors: Martha Inouye, University of Wyoming


As of summer 2018, 38 states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) or standards informed by NGSS. Therefore, up to two-thirds of K-12 students in the United States will learn science under these standards. The shift required for many teachers in terms of how they teach science will push teachers to reflect upon their pedagogy and the planning of their instruction. Although the ideas such as Understanding by Design and planning with the end in mind are not novel, one challenge in making this mindset shift is to recognize the difference between developing an instructional unit and executing that unit. In the session, participants will consider how a clear delineation between execution and development of units can aid in their success on both fronts. Come engage in an experience that exposes the differences between unit planning and execution and provides two tools that will help to create and execute 3-Dimensional, NGSS-aligned units.

Paper #10125: The World in Which We Live: Blending Place-based Education and NGSS for Greater Student Engagement

Principal Author: Martha Inouye, University of Wyoming
Co-Authors: Ana Houseal, University of Wyoming


Place-Based Education (PBE) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) can inform each other and be used in conjunction to create engaging, meaningful, and effective lessons for ALL students. The principle tenets of PBE (local to global, community as classroom, inquiry, design, learner-centered, and interdisciplinary) support the Vision set forth by the Framework for K-12 Science Education. Thus, they can be used to help teachers plan and execute NGSS-aligned lessons in which students engage in science as they make meaning of the natural and designed world. We have examples of teachers effectively using PBE to drive science instruction in the classroom.

Paper #10124: What do K-12 Students Need to NoE? A Delphi Study into the Nature of Engineering

Principal Author: Brian D. Hartman, Walla Walla University
Co-Authors: Randy L. Bell, Oregon State University


Recent state and national standards have increased interest in engineering at the K‐12 level.  Despite the increased attention to engineering, the characteristics and uniqueness of the field of engineering are not clearly defined.  The goal of this research is to elucidate aspects of the nature of engineering that are appropriate to teach at the K‐12 level.

Experts in K‐12 engineering education were invited to participate in a classic, three‐round Delphi study. The participants identified seven aspects of the nature of engineering they believed were important to K‐ 12 education.

The present investigation provides an empirical basis for important concepts of the nature of engineering at the K‐12 level. This work is important to support development of policy, curriculum, instruction, and to provide a foundation for improved science education.

Paper #16019: Action Research for the Inclusion of Student Voice in the Middle and High School Science Classroom

Principal Author: Katie Laux, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Allan Feldman, University of South Florida


The purpose of this multiple case study was to explore the impact of a collaborative action research (CAR) group on teachers’ perspectives on student voice and participation in middle and high school science classrooms. Author 1 facilitated a CAR group in which the teachers discussed their action research and shared ideas with colleagues. Eight middle and high school science teachers designed and implemented their own individual action research plans in their classrooms. Teachers were provided with a hierarchy of student participation and examples of each level of the hierarchy in order to guide and design their action research. Four of the teachers were selected as cases based on the level of student participation incorporated into their classroom as part of their action research as this provided a diverse outlook and added complexity to the overall case study. Collected data included transcripts from the CAR group meetings, classroom observations, teacher journals, and interviews with teachers. A combination of direct interpretation and thematic coding was used to analyze the data. Preliminary findings indicate teachers were able to incorporate their students’ voices into the science classroom through the process of action research. Furthermore, the teachers benefitted from the CAR groups by discussing their teaching practice and benefits and drawbacks of including their students in a more participatory role in middle and high school science classrooms.

Paper #10123: Engineering in Elementary Schools: Years 1 – 3

Principal Author: Vinta A.. Tiarani, Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Karen E.. Irving, Ohio State University; Kathy L.. Malone, Nazarbayev University; Trudy Giasi, Southeast Missouri 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 three years 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 three years of implementation. 

Paper #10122: School Factors That Help Elementary Schools Defy the Odds in Science Achievement for All Students

Principal Author: Tonjua B. Freeman, University of Central Florida
Co-Authors: Regina L. Suriel, Valdosta State University


This case study shares organizational factors that shaped effective elementary school science curricula and approaches. Four principals of four different elementary schools in two different states were interviewed. These schools were chosen because students often underrepresented in science and science-related careers who participated in their science programs performed well on standardized, state-mandated science assessments. Data analysis resulted in the following emergent themes: (a) science is an area of emphasis within the school, (b) a positive school climate is important, (c) success is guided by collaborative and competent teachers, and (d) community involvement results in additional important resources.

Paper #10121: Reconstruction of Teacher Leadership Trajectory through Outreach Activities

Principal Author: Tugce Gul, Columbus State University
Co-Authors: Kadir Demir, Georgia State University; Brett Criswell, University of Kentucky


Teacher leaders have an opportunity to improve their leadership skills as others also take advantage of the colleagues’ knowledge, experiences and skills when they share their expertise with other teachers (e.g., Bonner, 2006). In addition, when teachers are engaged in designing the professional development (PD), they are more motivated to take full advantage of the opportunity to enhance their professional skills. PD is more meaningful to teachers when they exercise ownership of its content and processes (King & Newmann, 2000). Teacher leadership development literature indicates the significance of providing opportunities to teacher leaders to practice their leadership skills both in their own and outside of their schools (e.g., Rhodes & Brundrett, 2006).

The purpose of this study was to examine science teacher leaders’ perceptions of their leadership characteristics, and professional vision and identity as they facilitated PD activities for K-12 teachers in their school district. The participants consist of three experienced secondary physics and chemistry teachers [Master Teaching Fellows (MTFs)]. The data obtained from interviews with the MTFs and archival data from the leadership program, in which the MTFs participated (i.e., transcriptions of the leadership program PDs; online discussion threads, and reflective narratives) and analyzed using multiple coding methods. The results illustrated that outreach activities helped with study participants’ professional identity formation (realization of themselves) and development of professional vision (reconsideration of activities and reconstruction of action plans). Thus, the participants’ leadership characteristics changed and/or enhanced over time in their leadership trajectory. It is expected that the results provide practical suggestions to education community for focused PDs to nurture teachers’ leadership performance in and outside of their schools.

Paper #10120: Keeping the STEM on the Apple: Recruiting Teachers from the Sciences

Principal Author: Philip C. Short, Austin Peay State University
Co-Authors: Benita G.. Bruster, Austin Peay State University; Lisa Sullivan, Austin Peay State University; Karen Meisch, Austin Peay State University


For decades, shortages of teachers have presented employment challenges in filling classrooms with qualified math and science educators for schools across the nation (Boe & Gilford, 1992; Darling-Hammond, 1984; Grissmer & Kirby, 1997; Liu et al. 2008;  National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983; National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching, 2000; Weaver, 1983; Weiss & Boyd, 1990;). The lack of teacher candidates has become more severe over the past decade (Hussar and Bailey, 2017; Sutcher, Darling-Hammond, & Carver-Thomas, 2016) with educator preparation programs scrambling to find creative recruitment strategies  for better quality as well as sheer numbers of candidates (Hutchison, 2012). 

In this study, undergraduate STEM majors were provided pedagogical training and opportunities to experience inquiry-based, science teaching at several age levels. Perceptions of teaching science, teaching self-efficacy, and interest in science teaching careers were measured before and after completion of the program.

Paper #15006: From Interdisciplinarity to Intersectionality: Culturally Relevant Computational Thinking Courses

Principal Author: Rouhollah Aghasaleh, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Patrick J. Enderle, Georgia State University


The course in this study was developed through the collaboration of the researchers with a computer scientist and with a focus on several guiding constructs, computational thinking, and culturally relevant pedagogy. Computational thinking served as the major scientific focus, as it is one of eight science and engineering practices emphasized in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and state adaptations of those standards. These practices represent the fundamental activities that scientists and those learning about science and technology engage in for the purposes of exploring and constructing understanding around different phenomena.  Computational thinking entails several different components, including systematic processing, representation and symbols, algorithmic flow, decomposition, conditional logic, iterative thinking, and most uniquely, abstraction. This particular practice has received much less attention in both education research and practitioner literature, remaining less well conceptualized and operationalized for K-12 teachers and students. Although the ambiguity around computational thinking presented challenges in designing the course, it also allowed for more flexibility to combine efforts around this construct with work concerning culturally relevant pedagogy.

            To enhance the pre-service teachers’ cultural awareness, the course focused on several topic areas of critical scholarship, including race, gender, sexuality, class, language, abilism, and age. These foci intertwined throughout the course material, providing opportunities for the pre-service teachers to develop deeper understanding of how different aspects of culture impacts the ways students learn in and out of classrooms and how those considerations could shape learning interactions focused on computational thinking.  This additional emphasis was warranted as cultural connections, when made explicit in delivering instruction, have been shown to enhance the learning experience for students, creating stronger affective connections to the content being taught.

Paper #10119: The Value-Added Effects of a Short-Term Follow-up PD on Secondary Science Teachers’ Practice-Based Instruction in Rural Schools

Principal Author: Soon C.. Lee, Wichita State University


The unique context of this study provided an opportunity for the researchers to examine the value-added effects of a short-term follow-up PD on teachers’ knowledge and self-efficacy in practice-based science instruction. This study demonstrated a sustainable and systematic way to provide teachers with a follow-up support i.e., a PD with a 3-day summer workshop and distance-based peer instructional coaching. This study addressed a question “How did the follow-up PD to teacher improvement compare with that of the previous PD attended?” To answer the question, value-added effects are defined as the changes in teacher outcomes between the two PDs. For the teacher knowledge of science practices, the gained effect size of PD2 is 0.15 compared to that of PD1, and 0.11 for self-efficacy. The gained effect sizes are considered as the value-added effects of PD2 interventions. The results from the Individual Growth Curve (IGC) analyses using SPSS Linear Mixed Effect (LME) showed a cubic growth model fits the data best for both teacher outcomes. When looking into the data within PD1 only, the teachers’ outcomes started to decrease once they reached a certain level by the end of year 1. The results suggest that the teachers’ outcome effects stopped diminishing then maintained or improved during year 2 due to PD2 interventions. Several practical implications are suggested for science educators when designing a teacher PD. First, the findings of this study strongly suggest a follow-up PD to continue supporting the participants’ implementation in the subsequent years. Second, the follow-up PD model in this study can be adopted at a lower cost and less time with great value-added effects on the teachers’ outcomes in the following years. Particularly, the distance-based peer coaching model has a potential to extend more widely in schools or school districts without hiring a cadre of on-site coaches. The ways of using the technologies allowed teachers and coaches to have a great deal of flexibility and efficiency in doing the coaching sessions.

Paper #10118: Choosing not to Teach: Parental Advice on Career Choice for a First Generation STEM Major

Principal Author: Carol C. Johnston, Mount Saint Mary's University
Co-Authors: Joshua Helston, Mount Saint Mary's University


Noyce Teacher Scholarship Programs aim to increase the pipeline of talented STEM majors from underrepresented groups that choose to teach in high-need K-12 schools. Many Institutions offering Noyce Scholarships report having difficulty in recruiting students from underrepresented groups.  While we, as an Hispanic Serving Institution, have been able to recruit talented students who come from high-need schools themselves, we are still experiencing challenges in meeting our target numbers for recruitment. As Hurtado et al. (2009) reported, diversifying science remains a complex problem, resulting in fewer qualified science majors from diverse backgrounds. While our STEM programs offer many supports for retention aimed at our student population, our entering STEM student population has dropped over the last couple of years reducing the pool of students eligible to become future Noyce Scholars. However, another obstacle we appear to be facing is related to STEM faculty support and parent influences (e.g., Crisp, 2009; Craig et al., 2018). This case study explores the reasons one potential scholar chose not to teach. As a first-generation college student, her parents shared her dream of a career in the healthcare profession. Data from interviews revealed that both parents and science faculty discouraged her from pursuing a teaching career. Moving forward, our Noyce team will use an Innovative approach in recruiting new scholars through better communication with STEM faculty and inviting parents of potential Scholars to attend Noyce Events.

Paper #10116: Promoting Student Interest in STEM and STEM-related Careers via a Place-based Environmental Educational Program at a Public Aquarium

Principal Author: Sandra L. Yarema, Wayne State University
Co-Authors: Jeff L. Ram, Wayne State University; Amy J. Emmert, Belle Isle Aquarium; Joan S. Chadde, Michigan Technological University; Marion J. Tate, Wayne State University; Emily E. Weiss, Belle Isle Aquarium


The goal of this NSF funded project is to build capacity and enthusiasm for STEM in underrepresented 5th grade students. University researchers utilized the facilities and staff at a public aquarium, to provide programming for fifth grade teachers and their students from an urban school district serving more than 95% minority students, to improve teacher and student knowledge of aquarium-related STEM concepts and careers. We propose that coupling teacher professional development and follow-up with the students’ aquarium field trips will have a net positive effect on the number of students exhibiting improvements in STEM-related attitude, knowledge, and behavior. Currently at the midpoint of this 3 year project, there have been significant procedural challenges to overcome. Due to circumstances involving the restructuring and emergence from state control of the partnering school district, the process for approval to conduct research and the recruitment of teachers was delayed. Therefore, the first cohort participant group was much smaller than anticipated. We are still in process of collecting and analyzing data from the first cohort. The second summer institute will be completed by mid-July and field trips for the participants 5th grade classes will be held during the upcoming school year.

Paper #10115: An Exploration of Effective, Systemic Educator Professional Development

Principal Author: Jennifer S. Mayo, Portland Public Schools


This paper explores perspectives on professional development (informal, formal, teacher/participant, provider, and project orientation) and discusses contextual factors important to consider when developing and designing systemic and sustainable educator professional development. Contextual factors situated in the professional development context include: partnership/determining needs, teacher as learner, dialogic, perspective/beliefs, flexible structure, and follow-up. When designing systemic professional learning experiences, perspectives on professional development and these contextual factors should be fully considered.

Paper #10114: What Do You Mean There’s No Scientific Method

Principal Author: Sandra S.. West, Texas State University


In 1993 the AAAS scientific community published Science for All Americans which clearly refuted the idea that there is one fixed set of steps in a scientific investigation, again in 1993 Benchmarks for Science Literacy, 1986 National Science Education Standards,2012 A Framework for K-12 Science Education and lastly in the 2013 Next Generation Science Standards. Yet, the inaccuracy of The Scientific Method continues even at national science education conferences.  The problem is wide-spread in school and district documents, lesson plans, commercial publications and products and online resources such as Kahn Academy.  Science Fair score sheets penalize students who don’t use “experimental design”.  Much research uses descriptive design when nothing or little is known about a topic or it is difficult to set up Correlation or Comparative studies such as the physical sciences (astronomy, geology, physics, chemistry).  A new resource, the Modes of Scientific Inquiry, clearly enables students and teachers to identify the appropriate research design to answer the research questions in the natural and material world.

Paper #10113: Understanding Personal PCK of a High School Teacher in the Context of Teaching Electricity in a Multicultural and Multigrade Classroom

Principal Author: Saiqa Dr.. Azam, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Co-Authors: Karen Dr.. Goodnough, Memorial University of Newfoundland


This research explored the personal pedagogical content knowledge (pPCK) of a high school teacher, Susan. A narrative inquiry approach was used to study her experiences of teaching electricity in the context of her multicultural and multigrade classroom. The data were collected through written narratives of Susan about her previous experiences of teaching science/electricity, classroom observations, and collegial conversations between the researchers and Susan about her experiences of planning and teaching an electricity unit. Oral and written narrative data was analyzed using topic-specific pedagogical content knowledge (TSPCK) as a conceptual framework. A narrative analysis approach was devised to use narrative data into the meaningful and coherent story of Susan’s teaching of electricity topic to accede access to her personal PCK (pCPCK). Susan’s pPCK revealed many knowledge elements or aspects that are in the form of events, incidents, or stories of teaching electricity exposing narrative nature of pPCK. The study provides implications for pre-service science teacher education.

Paper #10112: Examining the Impact of Increasing Reflexivity on Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Conceptions of Science as Socially and Culturally Embedded

Principal Author: Jeffrey Radloff, Purdue University
Co-Authors: David Eichinger, Purdue University


Achieving scientific literacy remains a goal of US science standards, requiring students and teachers have current nature of science (NOS) conceptions. However, NOS conceptions are often more traditional or fragmented, including understandings of science as socially and culturally embedded or mutually connected with changes in society and culture. Yet, knowing this facet of NOS is essential to engaging with scientific issues.

Current standards also call for the use of equitable and accessible methods of teaching science, emphasizing responsive contextualization and instruction leveraging students’ knowledge and backgrounds towards engaging with science. Although teachers are often resistant to or not taught how to use these approaches, culturally relevant contexts and pedagogies offer direct links to the social and cultural embeddedness of science.

Using a practical approach to equitable science instruction, the current study aimed to understand the impact of increasing reflexivity in a preservice elementary biology content course on students’ conceptions of science as socially and culturally embedded. This involved: (i) local contextualization of the curriculum, (ii) regular engagement with socioscientific issues, and (iii) the completion of monthly critical reflections. Data were gathered via pre- and post-surveys and reflexivity assignment responses, analyzed using open coding, and triangulated through the reading and re-reading of all data sets focusing on preservice teachers’ conceptions.

Results demonstrated both a widespread increase in students’ positionality and a smaller-scale increase in accessibility to science as socially and culturally embedded. Implications are discussed for teacher educators, curriculum developers, and science education researchers.

Paper #10111: Exploring (Mis)alignment in Inservice and Preservice Science Teacher Mentoring Relationships with Respect to Standards-based Reform

Principal Author: Alison Riley. Miller, Bowdoin College
Co-Authors: Brooke Whitworth, University of Mississppi; Laura Zangori, University of Missouri; Mandy Biggers, Texas Woman's University; Michael D. Walsh, Bowdoin College


Despite the critical role that inservice teachers play in the preparation of preservice teachers (PSTs), there are few guidelines across state programs for qualifications and development of these mentors. Furthermore, there is little research available around what factors make for a positive and educative mentoring relationship. This attention around alignment of PSTs and mentor teachers’ pedagogical commitments is particularly critical as education programs seeking to prepare PSTs for NGSS-aligned teaching. This qualitative study first explores how inservice mentor science teachers are selected across PST programs in two states. Next, we sample and interview PST-mentor inservice teacher pairs to characterize the pedagogical alignment, or misalignment, for the mentoring relationship and teaching with the NGSS. Our results indicate that in the absence of robust state-level policy, teacher preparation programs for inservice mentor teacher selections vary widely. Among interviewees, both PST and mentor teachers characterized the mentoring relationship as positive or negative based on personal compatibility, and not on content and/or standards. Overall, our findings indicate that teacher preparation programs require support in determining the roles and responsibilities of both PSTs and mentor teachers that should include learning about goals, expectations and pedagogical commitments, particularly those related to standards and reforms.

Paper #10109: Engineering design training efficacy in the context of Earth & space science professional development

Principal Author: Deb Hemler, Fairmont State University
Co-Authors: Sean Harwell, Fairmont State University


With the adoption of NGSS, West Virginia recognized Earth and space science (ESS) as an important component of the high school curriculum. Prior to the fall of 2016, ESS content was relegated to middle schools or offered as an elective in a "workforce ready" curriculum. Until 2016, there was no teacher certification in ESS in the state of W. Wa. Given the lack of ESS certified teachers and engineering design exposure, the ESS Passport grant was proposed to ease the transition of teachers to the new NGSS-based curriculum, to provide necessary ESS content knowledge, and to provide resources for engineering design integration. Inservice teachers engaged in a two year cohort meeting monthly through the academic year, conducting action research projects, and making presentations to peers at statewide conferences. The second year focused on scientific and engineering practices. The week-long residential engineering and scientific practices summer workshop included modeling and participation of engineering design activities (3-D printing, thermal shield construction, etc) and solar energy catalyst research. 30 participants were required to implement engineering challenges with their students and present action research posters during an engineering session at the annual state science teacher conference.

Data sources included a pre-post engineering self- efficacy instrument, participant journals, and action research involving their classrooms. Teaching Engineering Self Efficacy (TESS) is divided into six subscales of self-efficacy: engineering pedagogical content knowledge, motivational, instructional, engagement, disciplinary, and outcome. TESS results showed that teachers made significant gains in their engineering design efficacy on all subscales (p< 0.05) and all but one instrument item. Journal entries noted concerns about knowledge of engineering design processes and equipment. Poster presentations indicated that all participants were able to conduct standards-based engineering design lessons in the context of their Earth and space science programs with students.

Paper #10108: Designing Instructional Strategies for Teaching Nature of Science: Using Hispanic Preservice Elementary teachers’ Autobiographies to make learning culturally relevant

Principal Author: Patricia Ramirez-Biondolillo, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Co-Authors: Noushin Nouri, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley


This current research has been designed to increase Hispanic preservice elementary teachers' (HPETs’) understanding of nature of science using the results of analyzing HPETs’ autobiographies about their experience with science from their early childhood years on to adulthood with specific attention to their culture. After carefully coding seven HPETs’ autobiographies, several themes extracted from their writings. The main themes were: lack of connection to culture in science classes, lack STEM experiences in the community, stereotype of Latinos in STEM, religious barriers, language barriers, and being a first-generation student.  

In the second phase, we incorporated some instructional strategies for teaching NOS to HPETs that addresses culturally relevant themes specifically. These strategies included but are not limited to: using culturally relevant pictures and events to teach science skills; using cultural potentials to define project-based learning; engaging in meaningful authentic science discussions with Hispanic scientists; discussing common ethnic and gender stereotypes related to science and science education.  In addition, HPETs also engaged in various discussions differentiating the line between science and religion. As well as also learning about the different biographies of Hispanic scientists and what motivated them to pursue science. The results of VNOS-D and interview with HPETs before and after workshop showed a significant understanding of NOS, and a positive attitude in teaching science.   


Paper #10107: Bridging K-12 Science in a School District: An Exploratory Study Using a Vertically Aligned Professional Learning Community

Principal Author: Leana Peltier, Teachers College Columbia University


Professional development is crucial for in-service teachers to improve their practice. Current beliefs about workshop-based professional development for teachers proclaims that it seldom results in teachers applying what they have learned into their classroom. In comparison, ongoing professional learning communities can provide teachers with a positive learning environment and improve their science teaching.


This presentation will provide an overview of the impacts of a year-long, vertically aligned science professional learning community in one school district. The participants consisted of four elementary teachers and four high school science teachers. The goal of the professional development program was to share and incorporate best inquiry practices, implement NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, and participate in peer observations across grade levels. Additionally, a secondary goal was to provide a space for high school science teachers to help elementary teachers with content support. Results from teacher reflections, questionnaires, and interviews demonstrates positive changes in teacher practice, comfort levels in teaching science, teacher leadership, and identifying commonalities across grade levels. Outcomes of the project will be shared including the impacts on elementary, high school, novice, and veteran teachers. The results of this work will be of interest to those examining professional development for K-12 science instruction, teacher leadership, and the implementation of NGSS standards.

Paper #10106: Students’ Scientific Explanations and Associated NOS Views Within a Place-Based Socioscientific Issue Context

Principal Author: Benjamin C. Herman, University of Missouri
Co-Authors: Robert T. Oertli, University of Missouri; David C. Owens, Georgia Southern University; Laura A. Zangori, University of Missouri


In addition to considering sociocultural, political, economic, and ethical factors (to name a few), effectively engaging socioscientific issues (SSI) requires that students understand and apply scientific explanations and the nature of science (NOS). Promoting such understandings can be achieved through immersing students in authentic real-world contexts where the SSI impacts occur, and teaching those students about how scientists comprehend, research, and debate those SSI. This triangulated mixed-methods investigation explores how 60 secondary students’ trophic cascade explanations changed through their experiencing place-based SSI instruction focused on Yellowstone wolf reintroduction, including scientists’ work and debates regarding that issue. Furthermore, this investigation determines the association between the students’ post place-based SSI instruction trophic cascade explanations and NOS views. Findings from this investigation demonstrate that through completing the place-based SSI instruction the students’ trophic cascade explanations became significantly more accurate and complex and included more ecological causal mechanisms. Also, significant and moderate to moderately large associations occurred between the accuracy and contextualization of the students’ post place-based SSI instruction NOS views and the complexity of their trophic cascade explanations. Empirical substantiation of the association between the complexity of the students’ scientific explanations and their NOS views responds to an understudied area in the science education research and encourages the consideration of several implications. Implications drawn from this investigation’s findings and presented here include the need for NOS to be forefront alongside and in connection with science content in curricular standards and through instruction focused on relevant and authentic place-based SSI.

Paper #10105: Using Visual Network Scales and Social Network Analysis in Teacher Professional Development

Principal Author: Samuel J. Polizzi, Kennesaw State University
Co-Authors: Brandon Ofem, University of Missouri - St. Louis; Gregory T. Rushton, Stony Brook University


Changes in the age and experience of the teacher workforce have heightened the need for a new generation of teacher leaders to be developed. A social network-enhanced leadership development model has been advocated in the management sector to promote leadership skills in strengthening and capitalizing network relationships. We highlight the potential of Visual Network Scales as a pedagogical tool to facilitate leadership development. We outline a professional development activity for high school science teacher leaders. In order to evaluate the PD activity, we analyzed the discourse for relevance to real world teaching contexts. Discourse analysis indicates that teachers can discuss networks at both ends of a visual density scale, with discussions aligned to community-oriented leadership activities rather than personal classroom topics. Social network survey data collected as a primer to the PD activity were also analyzed and indicate that teachers report both open and closed regions of their professional information networks, consistent with their discourse on the utility of both network structures. Our findings support the usefulness of a network-enhanced leadership development activity for teachers.

Paper #10104: What Does Communication Look Like in Science?: Grades 6-8 Teachers’ Conceptions of Science Text

Principal Author: Melissa P. Mendenhall, Alpine School District
Co-Authors: Leigh K. Smith, Brigham Young University; Kendra M. Hall-Kenyon, Brigham Young University


This descriptive study explored teachers’ conceptions about the types of text used in science. All Grade 6 elementary teachers and Grades 7-8 middle school science teachers from five school districts in the western region of the U.S. were invited to respond to an online survey consisting of open response questions. A total of 235 teachers (165 elementary; 70 secondary) agreed to participate. Descriptive content analysis, using a priori coding categories derived from descriptions of science text found in standards documents and the extant literature, indicated most teachers hold traditional understandings of text as anything read or written. Most teachers, regardless of their teaching context, also assigned broad or general terms to science texts (e.g., informational, textbooks) suggesting they view texts that provide general information commonly used by the general population as those regularly used by scientists in their work. Even though relatively few teachers used discipline-specific terms to describe components (e.g., diagrams, tables, models) or genres (e.g., research journals, books, websites) of science texts, secondary teachers were somewhat more likely to utilize such terms. In contrast, elementary teachers were more likely to describe science texts using the common term, informational, without reference to disciplinary norms. These findings suggest that most participants, despite teaching context, may not have a clear understanding of the literacy practices in which scientists engage or that they read, interpret, and produce discipline-specific types of text. As a result, these teachers may be unable to support students’ understanding of the types of text used in science and how information is obtained, evaluated, and communicated in the discipline.

Paper #16017: STEAM in Elementary Education: A Blended Module to Develop Preservice Teachers’ Conceptualizations of STEAM Education

Principal Author: Lauren A. Angelone, Xavier University


This project is the development, implementation, and evaluation of a blended STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) module that will provide preservice teachers instruction on STEAM education and an example of a quality STEAM project at the early childhood level.  The STEAM module is created using the learning cycle and project-based learning, both best practices in math and science education, as well as the design process, to support best practice in engineering, technology, and art.  The module is developed in a Learning Management System (LMS) in order to blend the instruction as a way for students to move at their own pace, for professors to share student progress when not teaching concurrently, and to create built-in educative curriculum materials as supports for preservice teachers learning both the content and the pedagogy.  Preservice teachers conceptualizations of STEAM education will be measured before and after completing the module alongside reflective journals. 

Paper #10102: Teacher Transformation in Science-Focused Elementary Classrooms

Principal Author: Carolyn Parker, American University


Particularly for elementary students in majority African American or Latino/a schools, the elimination of science education could be considered a violation of their civil rights (Tate, 2001). And, since the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act in 2000, the amount of time spent teaching science in the elementary grades has decreased (Blank, 2012). For elementary teachers who try and teach science in high-poverty urban schools, the pressure to teach science is exacerbated by a climate driven by standardized testing in reading and math.


In this study, I examine how teachers in seven high-poverty urban elementary schools leveraged a National Science Foundation funded partnership to position themselves as agents of change working in resistance to the dominant elementary-school science milieu, working to bring meaningful science learning to students of color who have historically been underserved by our US educational system. Data was collected through focus groups and semi-structured interviews with 25 grade 3-5 science teachers.


Findings suggest that the initiative supported greater confidence in science learning and teaching. As teachers engaged with the project, participants expressed transformed expectations of learning in the classroom. Teachers who participated in the project developed more confidence in themselves as science teachers and learners, while their expectations of teaching and learning shifted to privilege practices such as problem solving and critical thinking.


This work raises important questions for science teacher education. Teachers in this study articulated levels of disagreement with the negligible priority science learning held in comparison to reading and math in their schools. This disagreement stemmed from an emerging understanding of the value of science knowledge for students who have historically been underserved by our schools. This study gives evidence of teachers’ transformed identities as agents of change working to transform a negative image of their students as low academic achievers.

Paper #10101: Impact of a Service Learning Course on Pre-Credential Program Elementary Teachers’ Perceptions of Teaching STEM to Diverse Populations

Principal Author: Corinne Lardy, California State University, Sacramento
Co-Authors: Jenna Porter, California State University, Sacramento; Julie Fogarty, California State University, Sacramento


In the changing landscape of teaching at the elementary level, preservice teachers (PSTs) must enter the field ready to teach science to a new generation of students, giving them the skills that they need to succeed in a changing world. Two key components of this new way of teaching science that elementary teachers need to be prepared to do are: (1) integrating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in their classrooms and (2) teaching students of diverse backgrounds, which may be very different from their own. However, many PSTs enter their credential programs lacking experience or understanding of both STEM integration and teaching in a multicultural classroom. This presentation will describe an elementary STEM service learning course that was designed and implemented for undergraduate students who had not yet entered a credential program, but were considering a profession in teaching. In this course, undergraduates learned about STEM and practiced STEM activities with their peers, then taught those activities to local diverse students in afterschool programs at two elementary schools. The undergraduates’ experiences and developing perspectives were examined through written reflections and field observations throughout the semester. Reflections were coded for themes in undergraduates’ changing perspectives about (1) STEM, (2) teaching about STEM to elementary students, and (3) the diverse students with whom they were working. Themes were examined across time and for differences across elementary school sites. In order to explore possible reasons for these differences, instructors' field notes from the service learning experience were used as a data source of triangulation. Overall, the service learning course was a powerful learning experience for the undergraduate students in many different ways, including expanding their ideas about STEM and STEM teaching strategies, opening their eyes to the abilities of young students to engage in STEM, and improved self-confidence that they could make a difference in the lives of their students.

Paper #10100: High school science teachers and the Next Generation Science Standards: An examination of factors that influence receptivity.

Principal Author: Lesley J. Shapiro, Keene State College
Co-Authors: Michael J.. Dean, Northeastern University


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), are the biggest change to American science education since the National Science Education Standards (NSES) were published. While inquiry was central to the NSES, the state-level science assessments necessitude by No Child Left Behind largely addressed factual knowledge acquisition. The NGSS represent a significant practical change for teachers as they mark a return to the ideals specified in the NSES and Benchmarks for Science Literacy. The purpose of this explanatory sequential, mixed-methods study was to identify and compare the factors that influenced high school science teachers’ receptivity to the curricular shifts necessitated by the adoption of the NGSS. The survey data identified three factors as significant predictors of teacher receptivity: teachers’ non-monetary cost-benefit analysis, alignment between the NGSS and their current teaching style, and concerns about student readiness. To understand how these factors identified in the survey operate in the classroom, both receptive and non-receptive teachers were interviewed. All of the teachers in this study agree that time is a significant cost. This includes the time it takes to adapt lessons to the NGSS and the time it takes to teach in a way that integrates the practices of science and engineering, the crosscutting concepts, and the disciplinary core ideas. In terms of alignment between their teaching style and the NGSS, teachers talked about the lack of examples of what NGSS-aligned instruction looks like and the dearth of accessible high quality professional development options that are readily available to them. Finally, concerns about students’ readiness focused on both inadequate preparation for college-level science coursework and deficits in science instruction in the lower grades.

Paper #10099: Bridging science fiction and science fact: Science Fiction conventions as informal learning environments

Principal Author: Kania Greer, Georgia Southern University
Co-Authors: Donna Governor, University of North Georgia; Gina Childers, University of North Georgia; Vaughan James, University of Florida


Science fiction conventions allow individuals who enjoy interacting with diverse science fiction mediums, such as literature, TV, and movies, to engage with a community that exists between the worlds of science fiction and science fact. Some science fiction conventions include science “track” themes that allow scientists to share their expertise and research on scientific findings and applications of science in connection to science fiction with science fiction enthusiasts. This study documented the demographics of Science Track attendees’ (n = 156) at a science fiction convention and explored how attendees use the information presented at the science track. The demographic breakdown of science fiction enthusiasts who attended at least one Science Track was as follows: 47% female and 49% male, 87% identified as Caucasian (87%), and majority held college degrees. Approximately 45% of Science Track attendees were between the ages of 18 to 35. Furthermore, the majority of attendees (66%) shared that motivation, personal interest, or choice influenced how the Science Track attendees used the information presented in the events while 33% of Science Track attendees stated that they share the information learned at the event with others, including family, friends, and colleagues. Additionally, 26% of participants cited that physical factors, such as advancing information helps structure how they will use the information (often connected to their career or social group) learned during the Science Track event. Despite the ability of science content presented at science fiction conventions to draw crowds in the thousands over the course of a weekend, there is almost no scholarly literature examining popular culture conventions as an educational context. In providing preliminary data on who is attending science content at science fiction conventions and providing some insight into what participants might actually do with the information they receive, there may be significant implications and best practices for the science education community.

Paper #14004: Listening to the Experts: Developing Explanations and Assessment for All Students

Principal Author: Michele J.. Koomen, Gustavus Adolphus College
Co-Authors: Tiffany Wild, The Ohio State University; Kevin Fleming, George Washington University; Jonte Taylor, Penn State University


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. We will use the K-12 experiences of students with disabilities to align this session with pedagogies advanced by the Frameworks and the NGSS.


Paper 1: Voices of Persons with Disabilities: What We Can Learn if We Just Listen

by Tiffany Wild. This portion of the session will focus on "voices of persons with disabilities."  Based upon lived experiences of persons with disabilities, the voices will guide a discussion of recommendations on how to fully include students with disabilities in the science classroom.  


Paper 2: Some of Them Have Problems, too, Like Me: Content and Disciplinary Literacy for All by Michele Koomen

This paper will begin with voices of students with exceptionalities included in regular science classrooms where they talk about their experiences in reading and literacy. Strategies that support all students as they engage in writing in the discipline of science will be outlined.


Paper 3: Learning Science by Doing Science: Developing Scientific Explanations and Engaging in Argumentation in the Inclusive Science Classroom by Kevin Fleming.
This paper will focus on using scientific argumentation to develop stronger engagement and conceptual understanding in an inclusive science classroom.

Paper 4: The Rise of Measurement:  Assessing Science and the Implications for Students with Special Needs by Jonte’ C. Taylor.
This paper, highlights the importance of properly assessing science outcomes for students with disabilities.  The author advocates for the use of varied science assessments as a means of providing a well-rounded evaluation of what students with special needs are learning about science.

Paper #10098: Mentoring the mentors: Innovating to develop research-based online mentoring modules to support novice teachers’ practice

Principal Author: Matthew J. Miller, Western Washington University
Co-Authors: Josie Melton, Western Washington University


This session focuses on the impacts of online mentoring modules designed to prepare elementary classroom teachers to mentor preservice teachers for effective science instruction.  The modules utilize animations, cases, and user interactivity and are grounded in research on effective science instruction and learning-focused mentoring. We describe the impacts of the modules on mentors’ and mentees’ ability to facilitate and engage in effective mentoring conversations. Our analysis reveals that cooperating teachers who participated in the professional development sequence showed statistically significant increases in their beliefs about effective science instruction and their ability to facilitate effective mentoring conversations. 


Keywords: mentoring, science teacher preparation, clinical practice, professional development

Paper #10097: Scientist-Led STEM Clubs: Changing Perceptions of Science and Scientists for Latina Elementary Students

Principal Author: Rebecca L. Hite, Texas Tech University
Co-Authors: Brianna Crosier, Texas Tech University; Jill White, Texas Tech University; Jerry Dwyer, Texas Tech University


Informal science experiences are opportunities for students to engage in extended, inquiry-based, and/or collaborative activities to reinforce concepts learned at school and may positively augment participants’ attitudes towards science.  One type of such informal learning opportunity is a STEM club, defined as a regularly meeting out-of-school STEM experience utilizing hands-on activities, mentoring, and field trips, to not only develop student knowledge, but also students’ interests in STEM disciplines. Although cognitive affordances are an important result of students’ participation in STEM clubs, there may be additional non-cognitive affordances that result from club participation to be captured and quantified by empirical research.  The purpose of the presented research was to explore non-cognitive affordances of a year-long, afterschool informal STEM program (club) for elementary (4th and 5th grade) students.  A unique feature of this club was that it focused on minority (female) scientists and their work (scientific endeavor).  Students were surveyed pre-and post-participation in the club using the upper-elementary Student Attitudes toward STEM (S-STEM) Survey, to gauge any changes in students’ interest and attitudes towards STEM and 21st century skill growth.  Also, completing a modified Draw a Scientist Test (DAST).  The DAST is a vetted and useful strategy to understand how students perceive science and scientists.  From a sample of 33 students identifying as Hispanic/Latinx, results indicated students significantly drew more women after club participation along with modest (non-significant) increases in positive and neutral views towards science and scientific endeavor.  After club participation, two Latina students drew themselves as scientists and four students related the work of scientists to engage in STEM activities (clubs) with students.  This study may offer important insight into the value of incorporating scientists concurrent with inquiry-based science activities for minority-focused (female, Latinx) elementary and informal STEM clubs.

Paper #10096: Promoting Perspective-taking in an Undergraduate Environmental Science Course

Principal Author: Mark H. Newton, California State University, Chico
Co-Authors: Dana L. Zeidler, University of South Florida


Perspective-taking is a necessary skill for the environmentally literate citizen but has proven to be difficult to develop in students. Sadler, Barab, and Scott (2007) identified perspective taking as one of four skills that comprise socioscientific reasoning (SSR), which is integral for SSI resolution and the development of scientifically literate citizens. The authors also point out that promoting perspective taking has proven to be difficult, specifically when those perspectives differ from one’s own perspective. In response, Kahn and Zeidler (2016) developed the Humanities, ARTSs, and Social Sciences (HARTSS) model for perspective taking transformation and theorize that utilizing strategies commonly implemented in other disciplines may prove effective when integrated within the SSI framework. One such strategy is perspective reading and writing, where an individual examines and writes about an issue from an assigned perspective. To this point, there is scant empirical evidence supporting the claim that perspective reading and writing within a SSI framework impacts students’ perspective taking abilities. This study examines the effectiveness of perspective reading and writing exercises within a SSI-embedded environmental science course. The results indicate that students gained both a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the wolf management issue and a stronger ability to consider various perspectives. Specifically, students found that reading, writing, and listening about the issue from perspectives outside of their own was particularly impactful. Additionally, the themes that emerged align with aspects of Sadler, Barab, and Scott’s (2007) socioscientific reasoning (SSR) construct; namely, recognizing the complexity of the issue and incorporating multiple perspectives. This evidence supports the claim that incorporating practices that promote perspective taking in other disciplines may also be effective in science classes.


Paper #13008: Constructing programs to build teacher confidence and competence in physics and computing

Principal Author: Colleen Megowan Romanowicz, American Modeling Teachers Association
Co-Authors: Rebecca E. Vieyra, American Association of Physics Teachers



In 2011, the Framework for K-12 Science Education (National Academies, 2011) called for science teachers to integrate computing into their teaching practice. A general call for computing has been echoed multiple times, from the White House (Computer Science for All, 2016) and within the computer science education community (Wing, 2006; National Academies, 2010; K-12 CS Framework, 2016; CSTA, 2017).


This session offers participants a “worked example” of an ambitious approach to enable science teachers and their students to think computationally. Computational Modeling Physics First with Bootstrap (CMPF-B) is an NSF-funded professional development program for 9th grade physics teachers that is a joint effort of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Modeling Teachers Association, Bootstrap and STEMTeachersNYC. Grounded in Modeling Instruction (Wells et al., 1995), a research-validated method of teaching physics that systematically engages students in data collection and analysis to make sense of physical phenomena, teachers attend an intensive two-week summer workshop where they learn to use the Bootstrap approach (2018) to programming to build, refine and deploy the fundamental conceptual models that form the content core of physics.


In the exploratory session, we offer participants a flavor of the CMPF-B classroom experience. To participate fully they should plan to bring an internet-capable laptop computer. Attendees will have an opportunity to participate in a programming practicum just as students would in a 9th grade Modeling/Bootstrap physics classroom.


At the end of the session we discuss the professional development experience and provide an overview of our findings on growth in teacher confidence and competence in computing in a physics context. We will also briefly outline the evolution of our framework for computational modeling in physics (Vieyra, et al, 2018).

Paper #10095: Life Changing: What happens when we STEMify our schools

Principal Author: Thomas F. Meagher, Owatonna Public Schools/University of Minnesota


The objective of this study explores the effect of changing traditional instructional practices to an integrated curriculum and teaching framework within the lens of STEM and Environmental STEM (ESTEM) education. Survey data and results from comprehensive standardized assessments, provide information on the development of a specific STEM teaching and learning model.  This preliminary analysis of the first five years of a long-term, longitudinal study follows students as they progress through STEM & ESTEM educational programs. Specific student attitudes towards multiple STEM components and as well as students’ perceptions of how STEM teaching influences their attitudes toward learning and academic performance are explored. Results from ongoing research provide evidence to posit an effective model of integrative STEM teaching and learning.

Survey and interview data collected from over 500 students from a rural public school system in the Midwestern United States in grades 4-8, over a period of 5 years, investigates their attitudes and perceptions of their abilities in science, technology, engineering, math, the environment, collaborative learning, and innovation. Findings are disaggregated by gender and ethnicity to compare how students perceive STEM teaching and learning across multiple grade levels.  Lastly, standardized test results as used for triangulation of how students performed on external assessments in math, reading and science.

Students show positive attitudes towards the academic fields of science, engineering, math or classroom collaborative learning, but follow with lower positive views of future careers in STEM fields. Pearson chi-square analysis of scaled survey responses demonstrate significant differences in student attitudes towards science and engineering careers delineated along lines of gender and ethnicity. Standardized test results also demonstrate significant differences in student performance among major ethnic groups across students in this study that include improved scores and a reduction in ethnic achievement gaps.

Paper #10094: Elementary preservice teachers learning science: Another look at self-efficacy beliefs

Principal Author: Rose M.. Pringle, University of Florida
Co-Authors: Erin Mistry, University of Florida


Studies in science education have examined the relationship between self-efficacy beliefs and knowledge (Cantrell, Young, & Moore, 2003; Bleicher, 2004) and while critical links have been identified, Menon & Sadler (2016) note the existence of different explanations regarding how science content knowledge may interact with science self-efficacy beliefs.  Because science content knowledge is a limiting factor in the development of efficacy, preservice elementary teachers, often taught science through methods that do not reflect best practices, enter teacher education programs with limited understanding of science. There is wide agreement however that high quality science course work grounded in effective pedagogy, has the potential to deepen preservice teachers’ understanding of science content knowledge and shape their self-efficacy beliefs.

 In this mixed methods research, conducted in a specially designed science content course, we examined preservice teachers’ perceptions of themselves as science learners, patterns of engagement, and features of specific course activities that supported their science learning thus contributing to positive self-efficacy beliefs in real-time.  Data sources included a pre-post content assessment, weekly post- class reflective survey, classroom observation, and informal interviews.  We posit that factors that facilitate or impede elementary preservice teachers’ science learning can produce relevant information to inform our work in teacher education.

Analysis of the pre-post assessment revealed an increase in the preservice teachers’ disciplinary content knowledge. Other findings indicate that in general, the preservice teachers had positive responses to the course activities and the content course shaped their cognition, influenced their motivation, and affected the development of self-efficacy beliefs as science learners. Notably, the elementary preservice teachers’ perceptions of themselves as science learners fluctuated in response to the relatedness of the course content to their personal interests.   

Paper #10093: Elementary preservice teachers’ approximations to practice through engineering design-based science teaching

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


The current study aimed to investigate elementary preservice teachers’ use of approximations of science teaching practice in an engineering design-based science methods course. Using a framework of ambitious teaching, researchers examined the teachers’ use of core, high-leverage practices as they co-taught their own standards-based design-based science tasks within their field placement classrooms.


A case study approach was used to understand preservice teachers’ use of approximations. Cases were built and compared for each of the two pairs of teachers using their lesson plans, classroom observations, and reflective narratives of their implementation, as well as other artifacts illustrative of their instructional strategies such as design briefs, notebook prompts and handouts. Multi-day classroom observations served as the primary data source, which included a running log that chronicled teacher moves, physical and verbal practices, discourse tools employed and level of student engagement throughout each design phase enacted by the teachers.


Preliminary analysis indicated that the preservice teachers successfully implemented multiple core practices for engineering design-based science instruction during their lessons, but that this use differed in frequency across classrooms. In both cases, teachers displayed limited ability in helping students explain the design performance of their prototypes, and furthermore engaged students in reflection rather than redesign or revision of their prototypes.

Implications of this study indicate preservice teachers need to be provided with authentic opportunities to experiment with instructional activities and high-leverage practices as they learn to teach science using engineering design

Paper #10092: Changing Teachers’ Perceptions of Experiential Learning in Outdoor Spaces

Principal Author: Shana Lee, Mississippi State University
Co-Authors: Dr. Ryan Walker, Mississippi State University; Jennie MgGuigan, Great Smokey Mountain Institute at Tremont; Tiffany Beachy, Great Smokey Mountain Institute at Tremont


The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont is challenging teachers’ perspectives of experiential learning in the outdoors. In-service teachers participated in an intensive 1-year training series, designed to increase their use of experiential learning pedagogy, outdoor spaces and authentic science processes. The program consisted of four immersive workshops located within the National Park and follow-up activities by Tremont staff at the participating schools. Pedagogical aspects of the training included modeling, co-design, Understanding by Design unit planning, citizen science and reflective practice/journaling. Evaluation of the program implemented both formative and summative assessments that were embedded into the curricula of the professional development. Researchers evaluated how the GSMIT faculty revisited and facilitated reflective revisions on a single assessment over the course of the year. The site-inventory assignment pushed participant teachers to rethink outdoor spaces on their schools’ campuses. GSMIT Faculty also visited the school and conducted their own assessment. This informed the outdoor resources that teachers have access to for the remainder of the professional development experience. After participating in experiential outdoor learning activities on the Tremont campus, teachers were asked to revisit their site assessment. Data used in the evaluation of this assessment strategy included; archived teacher work, GSMIT site maps and interviews from participant teachers and GSMIT faculty. Outcomes for participant teachers included increased time teaching in the outdoors and teacher-initiated peer training for their colleagues. This presentation will focus on the use of a school site inventory as a central component of the program. Through the process of reflection and revision, this embedded assessment provides documentation for the paradigm shift in perceptions of experiential learning and teaching in the outdoors.

Paper #10091: Exploring ways elementary preservice teachers conceptualize and operationalize engineering design

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


This study examined the different ways elementary preservice teachers conceptualized and enacted engineering design-based science teaching in an elementary engineering design-based science methods course.  Using the teacher as learner framework, researchers explored how preservice teachers generated new knowledge of engineering design while learning how to teach science using design. Throughout the semester, the teachers engaged in multiple standards-based engineering design tasks, concurrently working in pairs to develop and later implement their own design tasks in their respective field placement classrooms.

To capture preservice teachers’ conceptions of engineering design, the research team utilized interviews complemented by teacher reflections and final reflective narratives of their field experiences. Data analysis entailed open coding of interviews and document review of lesson plans and final reflective narratives of their teaching focused on their conceptions and enactment of engineering design-based science instruction.

Findings indicated a shift in elementary preservice teachers’ pre- and post-conceptions of engineering design from fragmented to more informed and cohesive conceptions. Results demonstrated that over 90% of preservice teachers demonstrated proficiency with planning for design-based instruction including references to appropriate standards, objectives, and core practices that align with ambitious engineering design-based science teaching. Additional results showed that more than half of the preservice teachers demonstrated limited ability with aligning disciplinary core ideas with an engineering design task.

Implications of this study suggest that learning to teach engineering design-based science must include an integrative approach that strategically connects preservice teachers’ formative and summative conceptions with their actualizations of how they learn to teach science using engineering design.

Paper #10090: Navigating Choices and Identities: Exploring mother-daughter STEM-related discourses

Principal Author: Ramya Sivaraj, University of Minnesota



Through qualitative case studies, mother-daughter interactions related to STEM education were explored, in order to examine how middle school female learners navigate choices related to engagement with STEM experiences, and how identities are negotiated in such interactions. Our research questions stem from the motivation to explore mothers’ and daughters’ navigating choices related to STEM experiences, in order to better understand how mothers and daughters envision STEM in their lives: How do middle school female learners’ identities and discourses related to STEM shape engagement in STEM experiences? How might mothers and daughters navigate choices related to STEM experiences?


Ethnographic methods were utilized to collect data during home visits with two suburban families with middle school aged children. Critical discourse analysis was applied as an analytical framework to critically analyze family engagement data. Through critical discourse analysis, language was examined as a form of social practice, congruent with sociocultural theory, with the objective of investigating power dynamics, agency, and inequities. Findings indicate three central themes: recognition of and reconciliation with perceived STEM norms; access to extracurricular STEM experiences and opportunities; and resilience with respect to agency. These three themes were intricately connected to how mothers and daughters navigated through STEM fields, both in formal and informal learning spaces.


This study has significant implications for broader participation of families in K-12 STEM experiences with respect to formal and informal learning. Our findings provide insights towards a greater understanding of how mother-daughter interactions and discourses influence choices, and, subsequently, engagement in STEM experiences. Implications also include significant considerations for educators, community leaders, and educational policy makers in designing effective collaborations that take into account family funds of knowledge, access, experiences, and opportunities.

Paper #10088: Problem-Based Learning: A context to support student and teacher learning and integration of literacy, NOS and inquiry instruction

Principal Author: Jennifer L. Maeng, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Elizabeth Edmondson, Virginia Commonwealth University; Amanda Gonczi, Michigan Technological University; Lindsay Wheeler, University of Virginia; Ibukunoluwa Omole, University of Virginia


This multiple methods study used a quasi-experimental pre/post design, in which teachers and students served as their own control, to assess changes in two cohorts (n = 118) of K-5 teachers’ pedagogical knowledge and confidence following professional development (PD) that used problem-based learning (PBL) as a context for integration of nature of science (NOS), inquiry, and literacy. Students’ science knowledge following Problem-based learning (PBL) unit implementation was also assessed. The PD included a 10-day summer institute focused on science content and pedagogy (i.e., PBL, inquiry, literacy strategies, NOS), academic year follow-up PD, principal involvement, and just-in-time coaching. Data sources included: teachers’ pre- and post-PD surveys that assessed understandings of and confidence incorporating PBL, inquiry, NOS, and literacy instruction and teachers’ perceptions of the PD, as well as teacher-generated PBL unit plans. Students’ science content knowledge was assessed pre-/post-PBL unit using science content tests aligned with the science content focus of the unit. Teacher understandings and confidence, and student content knowledge data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics. Open-ended responses regarding perceptions of the PD and teacher-generated PBL unit plans were analyzed qualitatively. Results indicated teachers’ understandings and confidence improved following the PD and they reported being very likely to implement what they learned. In addition, student content knowledge improved following PBL unit implementation. These results demonstrate that PD has the potential to improve teachers’ understandings and confidence implementing literacy strategies, inquiry, and NOS instruction within a PBL context. Further, the PBL units developed by the participants supported growth in student science content knowledge.

Paper #10087: Preservice Teachers’ Beliefs about Anthropogenic Climate Change Dissenter Messages

Principal Author: Jennifer C.. Parrish, University of Northern Colorado
Co-Authors: Andrew P.K.. Bentley, University of Northern Colorado


Despite an ever-greater emphasis on teaching the science behind anthropogenic climate change (ACC), this topic poses challenges in science teacher education. Often overlooked are dissenter messages produced by anti-ACC policy organizations. Anti-ACC messages are deceiving because they use both science-based (e.g., “the sun is the sole controller of climate”) and non-scientific (e.g., “climate change is a hoax spread by academics to receive funding”) arguments to convince others of their position. The purpose of this study was to determine which anti-ACC messages are the most appealing to preservice teachers and why preservice teachers may agree or disagree with particular messages. A total of 170 PST enrolled in teacher education courses completed the Anthropogenic Climate Change Dissenter Inventory (ACCDI), a questionnaire designed to measure the degree to which individuals agree with authentic ACC dissenter messages. Participants were given the opportunity to share more details about their survey responses in a one-on-one interview. Descriptive statistics were used to examine dissenter message agreement. Average level of dissenter message agreement was calculated by age, political affiliation, number of science classes, etc. Only ~11% of our indicated that humans are not involved in recent climate change. Those who rejected ACC, on average, agreed with more dissenter messages than non-dissenters. The majority of our dissenters identified as conservative and chose Fox news as one of their primary news sources. However, agreement with ‘cycle’ messages was high among most participates, regardless of their acceptance or rejection of ACC.  Over half of our PST agreed with the dissenter message that attributes current warming to a natural cycle. Our results are reflective of a previous study with the US public. Given that agreement with ‘cycle’ messages are one of the best predictors of dissent among the US public, it’s reasonable to suggest the need to develop educational materials aimed at addressing this alterative conception among PST.

Paper #10085: Wake up Your Brain: An Activity Designed to Help Pre-Service Elementary Science Teachers Engage in Argumentation.

Principal Author: Mason Kuhn, University of Northern Iowa
Co-Authors: Mark McDermott, University of Iowa



The purpose of this presentation is to describe an activity used in an elementary science methods course that positioned pre-service teachers in ways that enable them to participate collectively and individually as productive agents of their own actions to better understand why argumentation is an effective learning tool.  A qualitative analysis of the students’ pre/post essay responses was conducted to determine if the pre-service teachers increased their focus on using argumentation to promote learning.

A major focus of science education over the last few decades has centered on how teachers can promote student argumentation as an instrument for learning (Duschl, Schweingruber, & Shouse, 2007; Ford, 2012; NRC, 2012).  Research in this field supports teachers acquiring pedagogical tools that extend beyond being able to deliver a traditional didactic lecture and move towards facilitative teacher dialogue (Duschl & Grandy, 2008; Sandoval & Reiser, 2004).   

However, despite the strong support for argumentation in science classrooms there have been numerous reports that claim teacher questioning and feedback is not being utilized in a way that promotes student argumentation (Lee & Grace, 2012; McNeill, et al., 2016; Osborne et al., 2003).  Consequently, we posit that these pre-teachers will likely find calls to use an unfamiliar teaching style challenging due to their own lack of experiences learning science through an inquiry-based approach as a student.  

In our presentation, we make a case that pre-service teachers need more experience learning to engage in argumentation as a learner rather than showing them how to “run” a standardized curriculum.  If pre-service teachers do not have any experience to anchor their understanding of argumentation to, they will likely have a difficult time implementing and argument-based inquiry approach an an in-service teacher.

Paper #13007: Highlighting Integral Components of NGSS-aligned Instruction through a 3D Learning Experience

Principal Author: Fred Stein, The Exploratorium, Institute for Inquiry
Co-Authors: Kelsey Lipsitz, The Exploratorium, Institute for Inquiry; Lynn Rankin, The Exploratorium, Institute for Inquiry; Barry Kluger-Bell, Inquiry Science Education Consultant; Rachel Jordan, The Exploratorium, Institute for Inquiry


Reform documents like the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) emphasize sensemaking through three-dimensional (3D) learning. This emphasis on 3D learning requires a shift from students “learning about” to “figuring out” phenomena. Teachers, and specifically elementary teachers, need support in order to implement NGSS-aligned instruction. In our work, we engage professional development (PD) providers in workshops that demonstrate how they might support their teachers in effectively implementing the NGSS in their classrooms. We know, however, that teacher educators face challenges in their teaching contexts (e.g. time, teachers are less likely to have experienced instruction aligned with new reforms). In our exploratory session, we engage participants in a 3D learning experience that offers a vision of how to acquaint teachers with critical aspects of NGSS-aligned instruction (in this case, modeling, discourse, and equity) even in contexts where there is limited time. The activity serves as a jumping off point or catalyst for deeper learning and discussions around integral components of the NGSS. This unique experience puts participants in the learner’s seat; an experience we think is important for teacher educators whose own teaching and learning experiences preceded the NGSS. In this way, participants experience a “bite-sized” 3D learning experience that captures fundamental shifts in NGSS-aligned instruction and opens up avenues for discussion around critical aspects of the NGSS. We will also invite participants into a discussion around ways we as a community can continue to support teachers as they work to implement instruction that reflects the vision of the Framework and the NGSS.

Paper #10084: Rethinking structures of instructional time and space in the middle school STEM classroom

Principal Author: Meg Gardner, Colgate University


     Integrated STEM education leverages interconnections between science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in order to reflect upon how each discipline operates within real world contexts. Students benefit from the integrated STEM approach because it values the real-life experiences of students along with the hands-on applications that mirror professional STEM work. This presentation focuses on one teacher team at a suburban public middle school that developed an integrated STEM program that included rethinking of traditional space and time. Through the use of phenomenological qualitative inquiry, the presenter will discuss both teachers’ and students’ experiences of participation in one integrated STEM model. Data from interviews, classroom observations, and social media pages were collected and analyzed develop an understanding of how this model functioned. This presentation will center on findings associated with flexible scheduling of instructional time and creative uses of space. Three major themes emerged upon analysis of our data sets: (1) teacher resistance to labels of practice, (2) schedule variations expands curricular opportunity, and (3) collective ownership and care. This study revealed that pedagogical decisions were mediated by physical parameters. This study found that extended instructional blocks are needed in order to carry out integrated instruction. There was deliberate use of space and time to align with learning foci. Teachers felt a strong sense of ownership of the model due to opportunities for co-teaching and shared student rosters. Outcomes from this study support the notion that the deliberate structuring of space and time is a necessary consideration of innovative practice.

Paper #10083: Student teachers’ attitudes towards including creationism in the science classroom: A U.S.-Germany comparative study

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


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 #16015: Elementary Teacher Candidates’ Ideas about Alignment between Practices in Science and Mathematics

Principal Author: Julie M.. Kittleson, University of Georgia


Current recommendations for science education emphasize that instruction should focus not just on what we know, but also on how we know. The idea of science practices supports this goal. I consider parallels between science practices and mathematics practices and how understanding these practices may support instruction in the elementary grades. Nine elementary teacher candidates (TCs) participated in this study. Findings about how practices in the two disciplines can complement each other include: 1) building on Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI) in mathematics and its expectation of having share their thinking with one another to highlight that science involves evaluating and communicating information and 2) using science investigations in conjunction with learning mathematics concepts to highlight that science involves using mathematics and computational thinking. Reasons to consider connections to mathematics include: a) mathematics shares epistemic aspects with science and b) the TCs in this study take more mathematics than science methods courses and have many more opportunities to observe and participate in mathematics instruction. Therefore, using TCs’ ideas about mathematics instruction and mathematics practices may be one way to bolster their ideas about science instruction.

Paper #10082: The effects of extended action research-based professional development on the teaching of climate science

Principal Author: Allan Feldman, University of South Florida
Co-Authors: Molly Nation, Florida Gulf Coast University; Katie Laux, University of South Florida


Global climate change (GCC) is seen by educators and policy makers alike as an important concept to teach within secondary level science. This is becoming increasingly evident with the inclusion of climate change content into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for secondary science courses, including Earth and Space Science and Life Science (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Our previous research (Author 2, 2017) indicated that regardless of the controversial nature of climate change, or teachers’ desire to remain neutral in their instruction, they are not employing the types of pedagogical methodologies they express as being effective ways of teaching climate change science. Even when teachers were provided with exemplary curriculum materials, they did not engage students in the types of classroom activities that help lead to deep conceptual understanding of climate change science. In Florida, where this study took place, many science teachers are certified via alternative pathways and have not had the educational background to prepare them to teach in this way (Sass, 2005). Therefore, the purpose of this study was twofold: first to improve teachers’ pedagogy through extended professional development (PD) based on action research (AR), which took place over the course of the 2017-2018 academic year; and second, to understand how and why the action research-based PD did or did not result in the intended changes in pedagogy. We found by engaging teachers in AR in which they exchange stories of practice, shared and tried out teaching ideas, and engaged in systematic inquiry, they changed their practice to incorporate discussion and argumentation, decreased their concern about the political aspects of GCC, and resulted in their teaching to be more place-based.

Paper #10081: I Didn’t Know What Real Science Was or What it Could Be: Citizen Science and Interest in STEM Education and Careers

Principal Author: Mary N.. Hedenstrom, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Michele H.. Koomen, Gustavus Adolphus


In this study, we use the lens of social cultural career theory (SCCT) to assess the role of participation in informal citizen science played on youth’s STEM educational and career choices (Miller, Sonnert & Sadler, 2018). Informal programs, such as the Monarch Larva Monitoring Program (MLMP) citizen science project, provided opportunities for youth to build self-efficacy and interest in STEM courses and careers. Specifically, we examined student responses to semi-structured interviews and survey instruments for evidence of the SCCT constructs of self-efficacy, outcome expectations, personal goals, interest in STEM, and science learning experiences (Hiller, 2012; Lent, 2005, 2000). In this presentation we will focus on the impact of teacher mentor relationships and future engagement in authentic science to change student perceptions of science.

The interview results report positive self-efficacy and learning experiences to accurately complete the scientific observational protocols due to repeated practice and mentorship from teachers. The survey results corroborated high levels of self-efficacy to complete the MLMP protocols and motivation for sustained commitment to meeting MLMP goals. Participants learned from their teachers how to identify monarch life cycle stages on milkweed, used random sampling techniques to count monarchs, and documented their frequency in a CS database maintaining the rigor of the MLMP protocol. 

Secondly, students described experiencing the practice of science in the citizen science project as different from the way they learned science in classroom settings. MLMP provided a context for students to understand how scientists do science in the real world beyond the classroom by engaging in the practices of science Next Generation Science Standards (2013). This experience demonstrated for students the value and usefulness of doing science, opened their eyes to what science is, and showed them how much there is to learn. The survey also assessed high levels of student interest in science as a subject area and in STEM careers. 

Paper #15005: Preparing Quality STEM Teachers for Urban High-Need Classrooms; The ENABLE STEM Project

Principal Author: Justina Ogodo, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Karen Irving, The Ohio State University; Patti Brosnan, The Ohio State University; Lin Ding, The Ohio State University


America’s changing landscape calls for teachers who are adequately prepared to meet the need of diverse learners in the classroom. Schools located in urban and rural communities have been shown to have more students who are racially, ethnically and culturally diverse compared to their suburban counterparts. In addition, these schools often experience lower numbers of adequately trained teachers and suffer from high teacher turn-over rates. It is essential for classrooms regardless of location to have teachers who are prepared to provide equitable learning opportunities for all students.

The Empowering Noyce Apprenticeships by Leadership Engagement in STEM Teaching (ENABLE STEM) program, a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project recruit teacher candidates who have the desire to teach in urban high-need schools and trained them as highly-qualified STEM teacher leaders. The ENABLE STEM teacher preparation program aims to improve the existing gap in STEM education by providing quality education to preservice teachers who will empower the underrepresented learners. By enabling the STEM preservice teachers to rise and defy the odds that often deter others from being successful in that setting, the ENABLE STEM is contributing to growing the STEM workforce.

The ENABLE STEM fellows experience a three-semester intensive program packed with a curriculum that enhance their pedagogical content knowledge. At the end of the program they become successful learners and productive STEM teachers. The four-pronged curriculum consists of a) Urban Teaching Seminar; b) informal teaching experience at the Center of Science and Industry; c) science methods with scientists and science educators; and d) induction and mentoring. Findings from the pre- and post-data collected from interviews, surveys, and reflections from course materials indicate that the preservice teachers enhanced their pedagogical content knowledge and increased in their cultural competency to teach diverse learners.  


Paper #10080: The Usefulness of Planetariums During Astronomy Study

Principal Author: William R. Thornburgh, American Modeling Teachers Association


The purpose of this research was to explore whether an embedded planetarium experience within a science unit influenced students’ attitudes, performance on a district- wide assessment and retention quiz, and thinking about astronomical concepts. The variables being studied in this research included student attitude, student learning, and student thinking. These variables were operationalized as followed: attitude is part of the affective domain and was defined as, a way of thinking or feeling about something. Learning is part of the cognitive domain and was defined as the acquisition of knowledge through experience, study, or by being taught. Finally, thinking was defined as, using the mind to reason about something. This research aimed to capture examples of the processes that students went through as they were presented content during the planetarium program; thus, the following research questions were explored: How are students’ attitudes influenced by an embedded planetarium experience while studying astronomy? How does an embedded planetarium experience during an astronomy unit influence students’ learning (acquiring knowledge) and retention of concepts? How does the planetarium influence students’ thinking (reasoning about concepts) about astronomical concepts?The Contextual Model of Learning (CML) (Falk & Dierking, 1992; 2000), which includes three overlapping contexts that contribute to the overall learning experience in informal science venues (the personal, physical, and sociocultural contexts) guided this study. Throughout this study, the planetarium was successful in reaching students in each of the contexts of the CML.The results indicated that the immersive environment and unique capabilities of a digital planetarium positively influenced students’ attitudes, learning, retention, and thinking. This study has important implications for planetariums, informal science education researchers, and teachers wanting to provide a more engaging environment for their students to learn space science. 

Paper #10079: The Effects of Inadequate Funding on Science Instruction

Principal Author: Emily Cayton, Campbell University
Co-Authors: M. Gail Jones, North Carolina State University


While there is a push for science educators to incorporate hands-on activities and inquiry-based instruction into their classrooms, not all teachers have the resources available to implement these instructional strategies. This study examined teachers’ access to funding for science instructional materials and how their instruction changed when adequate funding was not available.  A questionnaire was distributed across the United States and approximately 700 secondary science teachers participated. The study found that 83% of teachers reported changing their instructional activities due to a lack of funding. Teachers reported altering their activities to online simulations, paying for materials out of their pockets, or conducting the activities on paper. Bringing awareness of the lack of funding for science instructional materials to policymakers and stakeholders could lead to change in how science is funded.

Paper #10078: Transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards: Elementary teacher perceptions of learning needs for science and engineering concepts

Principal Author: Katheryn B. Kennedy, Walden Univeristy


Efforts to enhance science education require continuous learning for practicing teachers. This interview study utilized a conceptual framework of reflective practice and sensemaking to explore teacher perceptions of learning needs of science and engineering content and pedagogical content knowledge as related to the Next Generation Science Standards. Findings suggest that teachers used both informal and formal strategies to support their own learning.  Informal supports of the internet complement formal mechanisms of professional learning communities. Surprisingly, teachers described that many formal supports functioned as barriers in their personal experience. The formal supports, if implemented as intended, may potentially mitigate issues that are barriers for teachers. Teachers were motivated and eager to be well prepared for the changes associated with the NGSS but lack strategies of accessing specific resources that would enhance growth reflective of the three dimensional nature of the NGSS and strengthen their own content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.

Paper #11021: Teaching STEM: Investigating Personal Attitudes of Preservice Elementary Teachers

Principal Author: Deborah L. Hanson, Hanover College


During the Spring term of 2018, I taught a course for teachers focusing on teaching STEM.  This course was developed to help meet the needs of a local school district for an after school program and to help fill a gap in the training of our elementary teacher candidates. Constructing integrated science and engineering units became the focal point of this course. This study investigated the preservice teacher attitudes towards teaching STEM in a pre/post fashion and the experiences in the course that possibly helped shape these attitudes. To capture the attitudes to teach STEM, the preservice students were asked to create a metaphor about STEM.  The metaphors allowed for the participants to express their anxieties, confidence and self-efficacy in a non-threatening manner. These metaphors were captured on the first and last days of the course, then analyzed to look for themes that existed and changes that occurred. Initial and final reflection papers triangulated the data and provided additional insight into the metaphors and the attitude toward teaching STEM disciplines. Initial metaphors reflected a struggle or uncertainty about what STEM. The participants noted teaching STEM was valuable and important, but they did not know much about it or personally did not like math or science.

Final metaphors reflected a shift to an integrated conception of STEM with a higher number of positive metaphors or metaphors noting the feeling of completing a difficult journey with a successful ending.  When asked what aspects of the course helped the participants develop a more positive attitude towards STEM, developing an integrated unit between science and engineering, teaching STEM-based activities to a local elementary school and visiting an elementary STEM lab were the three top activities. Creativity, along with the influence of socio-cultural aspects, were noted in engineering but not science. The information on preservice attitudes on teaching STEM and the difficulties in integrating engineering into science units will be helpful to determine content in methods courses.

Paper #11020: The Impacts of Laboratory Research Experiences on Student Views of Normative Scientific Practices

Principal Author: Catherine Marie. Scott, Coastal Carolina University


Research indicates that program structure plays a significant role in establishing normative scientific practices, or what counts as science, in a given setting. These practices enable participants to learn both scientific content and the processes behind scientific studies, and are reinforced through participation in the community; in this study, the laboratory setting.  This mixed methods study explores high school and undergraduate students’ perceptions of their experience in a summer laboratory research experience. I will present the ways in which program structure impacted student perceptions of science and scientific practices, and discuss the ways in which opportunities to engage in science were enabled and constrained. Implications for high school and undergraduate science instructors to consider will be discussed.

Paper #11019: The Influence of Metacognition on the Development of Science Identity in Anatomy Labs

Principal Author: Alexandra Daemicke, Northern Illinois University


There are more indiviuals than ever before enrolled in anatomy and phsyiology courses as it is often an admissions requirement for higher level medical programs. Thus, the persistance of students purusing medically oriented majors is important to our future healthcare system. There is much debate about suitable methods of delivering anatomical knowledge. However, much of this debate centers on didactic methods of instruction, rather than integration of psychological element to facilitate student learning. It has been found that the best way to teach modern anatomy is by combining multiple pedagogical resources to complement one another, students appear to learn more effectively when multimodal and system-based approaches are integrated. A missing component that could stall acquisition of knowledge even in the presence of extraordinary instruction is students’ intrinsic thinking skills. In a sense poor thinking skills can create a glass ceiling, preventing the integration, synthesis and critical thinking that allow students to get the most from a course. Thus, in order for retention rates to improve, efforts should not only be geared towards improving student understanding of course content, but also improving the thinking skills students utilize to approch the material. Therefore, students might not posses the thinking skills that allow them to be metacognitive and thus it is the professor’s responsibility to create a learning environment, by way of the curriculum he or she constructs, that will provide students with learning experiences aimed at not only promoting the acquisition of didactic knowledge, but also psychological tools that can serve students well beyond the conclusion of the course. Furthermore, this project seeks to investigate how attention to improving student metacognition in anatomy and physiology courses can benefit their science identity, overall course grade and retention rates of undergraduate students seeking to pursue medical professions. 

Paper #16014: The role of mindset and risk in elementary science teacher preparation

Principal Author: Tina J. Cartwright, Marshall University


In this roundtable, participants will discuss the role of developing a growth mindset and supporting risk-taking in elementary science teachers. Participants will engage in a discussion about Carol Dweck’s mindset and implicit theories of intelligences along with the role of perceived risk with teaching science in the elementary classroom. The purpose of this round table is two-fold. First, I will share my own philosophical stance, activities and actions that have been used to develop an elementary science methods course that supports risk taking with a growth mindset and second, I will engage the participants in a critiquing discussion of my work as well as a critical discussion of their own work with elementary science teacher development. In this roundtable, we will discuss elementary teachers’ perceptions of risk taking and the presence and absence of risk taking “behavior” in the classrooms that we have observed. We will discuss metrics that might be used define “risk taking” so we can potentially link these behaviors to teaching and learning outcomes and have a way to articulate what these behaviors are and why they are important to teacher and student growth. An additional next step will be for us to consider how to help teachers that are currently, “non-risk takers” develop “risk taking strategies.” 

Paper #10076: Elementary Teachers’ Portrayals of the Nature of Engineering When Supported by a STEM Professional in the Classroom

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


Engineering is increasingly becoming part of science education efforts in United States classrooms, often in the form of engineering design activities (Crismond & Adams, 2012; Moore et al., 2013; NGSS Lead States, 2013). One goal of engaging students in engineering instruction is for students to better understand the nature of engineering (NOE): what engineering is, what engineers do, and how engineering is related to other fields of study such as science (NAE & NRC, 2008; NRC, 2012). However, very little is known about how teachers communicate the NOE to students during engineering instruction. The present work is a multiple case study that examines the NOE engineering instruction of four groups of participants in an elementary-level (grades 3-5) professional development project. Each group consisted of an elementary student teacher, a cooperating teacher, and an engineering graduate student who were together tasked with incorporating engineering into science instruction over the course of a semester.

During the semester-long study, each group of participants explicitly addressed the NOE with students, but with the exception of one group, explicit NOE instruction was infrequent. On the other hand, the engineering activities that were implemented by the participant groups conveyed many implicit NOE messages to students. While some of these messages were reasonable, others distorted the NOE, and many messages were communicated that the participants did not intend to send. The results identify potential strengths of the professional development model used in the present work, but also point to difficulties that are relevant for any educator seeking to support engineering instruction in the science classroom.

Paper #10075: Elementary Students’ Images of Scientists and Engineers Before and After a Semester-Length Experience with a STEM Professional

Principal Author: Emily Dux, Iowa State University
Co-Authors: Jacob Pleasants, Iowa State University; Aubree Dawson, Iowa State University; Joanne K. Olson, Texas A&M University


Studies conducted over multiple decades indicate that students hold a consistently inaccurate image of scientists: white males in lab coats working in laboratories with dangerous chemicals (Chambers, 1983; Finson, 2002; Mead & Metraux, 1957). With the growing incorporation of engineering into K-12 science standards and curricula in the U.S. (NGSS Lead States, 2013), concerns have also been raised about students’ images of engineers (NAE & NRC, 2008), which also show inaccuracies (Capobianco et al., 2011). Although studies have examined students’ views of scientists and their views of engineers individually, very few have compared how students perceive the two disciplines. The purpose of this study is to compare elementary students’ images of scientists and engineers before and after participating in an educational intervention. The study seeks to understand how students represent the activities of scientists and engineers, the extent to which those representations are accurate, and how those representations change over the course of the intervention.

In the context of a teacher education and professional development project aimed at supporting grades 3-5 science and engineering instruction, we collected student pretest and posttest responses to the Draw-A-Scientist-Test (DAST, Chambers, 1983) and Draw-An-Engineer-Test (Knight & Cunningham, 2004). We developed a coding approach, applicable to both instruments, that captured the activities represented in the responses as well as how accurately the disciplines were portrayed. We found that students represented the work of scientists and engineers very differently. Scientists were much more likely to be shown inventing and investigating, whereas engineers were more typically shown repairing and constructing. We also found that the research project positively affected students’ images of scientists and engineers over the course of the semester. Posttest responses on the DAST and DAET were rated as more accurate than pretest responses; the pretest and posttest accuracy ratings were similar across the two instruments.

Paper #10073: Creativity in Science: A Course Designed to Change Perceptions of Science and Increase Retention of Diverse Students in STEM Majors

Principal Author: Susan M. Gomez Zwiep, CSU Long Beach
Co-Authors: Lisa Martin Hansen, CSU Long Beach; YoungJin Song, CSU Long Beach


In an attempt to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities graduating in STEM degrees, a new general education course was developed for STEM majors at a large, urban four-year university. Specifically, the course was designed to help students recognize the role of spatial reasoning, perception and creativity in the practices of science. This exploratory study focuses on the following research question: How do STEM majors participating in a creativity course perceive the use of creativity in the application of data to scientific investigations of societal problems? Qualitative methods were used to analyze course assignments. Results showed that students were able to make connections between types of “creative thinking” and the societal issue, data and scientific approaches surrounding their selected “issue”. However, in their own “creative” use of data, students were consistently more comfortable with 2D representations and many continued to struggle with 3D data representations, even after the end of the course. Although students’ ability to identify ways in which scientists use creativity in their work, student responses indicate a limited view of the nature of science.

Paper #10072: Early Childhood Engineering Design Challenges: Effects of Cognition and Interest

Principal Author: Kathy l. Malone, Nazarbayev University
Co-Authors: Karen E.. Irving, The Ohio State University; Vinta Tirani, The Ohio State University; Rachel Kajfez, The Ohio State University; Hochieh Lin, The Ohio State University; Trudy Giasi, Southeast Missouri State University; Brian Edmiston, The Ohio State University


This mixed methods study demonstrates how dramatic inquiry, dance, visual arts and physical education can be incorporated into STEM units that focus on the engineering design process in pK-3 classrooms.  Data collected included surveys, focus group interviews, classroom observations, and individual interviews.  The use of integrated STEAM units supported significant improvement in pK3 students understanding of engineering and technology.  Overall, we report on average a 55% increase in student understanding of what engineers do, and a 36% increase in their understanding of technology.  The effect sizes per grade level for both assessments showed large to moderate effects for all grade levels participating. 

We describe how dramatic inquiry, visual, and performing arts can be harnessed by classroom and specialist teachers to help young children understand and engage in sophisticated engineering design challenges.  Using unit designs produced by Engineering is Elementary, teacher participants created innovative arts/dance/dramatic inquiry elements to include in the units. 

            Implementing these integrated STEAM units with our younger students allows us to nurture their interest and understanding of engineering and technology across grade levels.  Our work suggests that engineering units with dramatic inquiry and art infusion should be introduced from kindergarten on.  This study demonstrates that the pre test scores across grade levels are not significantly different from each other implying that students may not learn about these important topics outside of school hours.   By increasing the number of young children interested in engineering educators may be able to sustain their interest across the grade levels and contribute to a growing number of college students succeeding in STEM majors. Our presentation will describe the project and the research findings on pK3 students being taught using integrated STEAM units.

Paper #14003: Using the Engineering Problem Solving Process to Increase Scientific Conceptual Understanding by Students with Visual Impairments

Principal Author: Ying-Ting Chiu, The Ohio State University
Co-Authors: Tiffany Wild, The Ohio State University; Deborah Grzybowski, The Ohio State University


This study presents part of the outcomes of a two-year long bio-engineering education project for students with visual impairments. The overall project focused on using the engineering problem solving process with a real-world bio-engineering problem, while a subset of the data that was collected focused on student understanding of climate change. The purpose of the study was to understand and describe the conceptual understanding of students with visual impairments about climate change and subsequently developed instructional techniques that may help them to develop correct scientific understanding. Thirteen elementary, middle, and high school students with visual impairments participated in the project activities based upon the engineering problem solving process. The four-week project was for teams to design a method to reduce methane production on a dairy farm. Semi-structured interviews regarding the concepts central to climate change were conducted before and after the implementation of all project activities. Results showed an overall improvement of the students’ conceptual understanding as well as a variety of misconceptions held by students with visual impairments that have not been previously documented. Evidence suggests that providing activities that require students’ active participation in inquiry-based settings can benefit students with visual impairments. Future research will focus on examining the effectiveness of engineering education curriculum and teaching strategies based upon the needs of students with visual impairments.

Paper #14002: Positioning STEM Education as a Vehicle for Inclusivity

Principal Author: Sami Kahn, Ohio University
Co-Authors: Merrie Koester, University of South Carolina Center for Science Education; Terri Hebert, Indiana University South Bend; Jenna Porter, California State University, Sacramento; Kathy Gee, California State University, Sacramento


     STEM education, defined here as involving the integration of its component disciplines (Czerniak & Johnson, 2014), confers many benefits including preparation for a range of careers, national security and economic advancement, and the potential for scientific literacy for all people (Rennie, Venville, & Wallace, 2012). The recent emphasis on STEM education, piqued in part by the inclusion of engineering in the NGSS, provides an opportunity to reach wide audiences by engaging a range of student talents and abilities. Moreover, the authors of “All Standards, All Students” (NGSS, Appendix D) envision STEM as uniquely positioned to provide students who have been traditionally marginalized with the opportunity to apply engineering solutions to local problems. Accordingly, STEM education should serve as “a vehicle for inclusivity” (Kahn, 2015, p. 151), yet this promise of STEM 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). Addressing these disparities involves better preparation of STEM educators to teach students with special needs.  Using a Disabilities Studies in Education (DSE) Framework (Connor, Gabel, Gallagher, & Morton, 2008), this themed paper set examines research on STEM education for students with disabilities with specific emphases on how science teacher educators can focus their efforts in order to solidify the promise of STEM for all.  

Paper 1 – Tanglde in Tetx: What I Want You to Know About My Dyslexic Self  

Paper 2 – From Access to Assets: Strength-Based Visions for Inclusive Science Education  

Paper 3 – Crosscutting Through Science Education

Paper 4 – A Collaborative Process for Preparing Pre-Service General Education and Special Education Science Teachers  

Paper #10071: Research into the Education of Science Teacher Educators

Principal Author: Felicia M. Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: Dora Kastel, Teachers College, Columbia University; Kristen Larson, Teachers College, Columbia University; Kelly Parkes, Teachers College, Columbia University; Ruth Aguirre, Teachers College, Columbia University; Mary Hafeli, Teachers College, Columbia University; Nicole Johnson, Teachers College, Columbia University


Weidman, Twale, and Stein (2001) articulated the most thorough analysis of socialization theory as it relates to graduate and professional students in higher education. They name four stages in the graduate socialization process that may be useful to think about teacher educator preparation. The four stages also work within the three “core elements” of knowledge acquisition, investment, and involvement in the socialization process that also may apply to teacher educator preparation of doctoral students. To apply this theory of socialization to educating science teacher educators, this exploratory study consisted of data collected from science education alumni who graduated from the same science teacher education program, although in different years, from a large urban institution in the NE. Seven alums were purposefully recruited to participate in this study based upon completing the program within the last five years (at the time of this study) and working in teacher education (broadly defined). Five alums returned the consent form, and a phone interview was scheduled. Findings of this study contribute to the discussion of preparing teacher educators. The alums’ socialization and preparation suggest more systemic pathways and experiences through graduate school, with early opportunities and flexibility for educating teacher educators. The alums made recommendations based upon certain activities they did, such as early research and teaching experiences, and presenting at conferences, while other recommendations were based upon missed opportunities, such as not mentoring graduate students or learning about faculty service and promotion. Their recommendations to current doctoral students and faculty offer several opportunities for educating science teacher educators.

Paper #10070: Improving the Teaching of Pre-service Secondary Science Teachers for English Learners: Evidence from a Multi-Site Intervention Study

Principal Author: Edward G. Lyon, Sonoma State University


This presentation reports on findings from a secondary science teacher preparation intervention in six university programs across Arizona, California, and Texas. Researchers and science method instructors collaboratively restructured respective science method courses to hold fidelity to an interrelated set of nine instructional practices that attend to science learning as envisioned in a Framework for K-12 Science Education, while also creating contextualized spaces for language and literacy development targeted to ELs. Pre-service teachers (PSTs) who participated in the restructured method courses, (treatment group), as well as PSTs who were enrolled in the course the year prior (baseline control group) were observed during student teaching using an observation rubric aligned to the project practices. The strongest evidence of PST fidelity to the intervention was found for two practices critical for supporting ELs’ science learning and language/literacy development: “Increasing student interaction” and “Facilitating student talk.” Considerable variation was found across the programs for other practices including some evidence of negative effects. The presentation will discuss how these findings might direct future science teacher education research and practice. 

Paper #10068: Teacher candidates’ beliefs, self-confidence, and attitudes regarding technology integration in the science classroom

Principal Author: Joshua A. Ellis, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Angelica Pazurek, University of Minnesota


This study explores the beliefs, self-confidence, and attitudes of pre-service science teachers who were enrolled in a teacher licensure course that focused on technology-integrated instruction. This course made explicit use of the RAT framework (Hughes, Thomas, & Scharber, 2006) by immersing teacher candidates in representative technology-integrated learning activities. Candidates gained first-hand knowledge of technology use that replaced, amplified, or transformed the learning experience. This study employed a mixed-methods research design (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2014) that leveraged both quantitative and qualitative data sources in order to answer the following research questions:

  1. What do science teacher candidates identify as the purpose(s) of technology-integrated instruction within a science classroom?
  2. How do science teacher candidates’ beliefs about educational technology and their self-confidence in implementing technology-enhanced learning activities change during an instructional technology course?
  3. How do science teacher candidates’ attitudes toward technology-integrated instruction change during their participation in such activities?

The data sources include purpose statements, pre/post surveys, and interviews. Findings reveal changes in teacher candidates’ beliefs, self-confidence, and attitudes regarding technology-integrated instruction, even over the relatively short timespan of a semester-long instructional technology course. This study illustrates the specific impact of an instructional technology course for science teacher candidates. The course activities enabled candidates to develop a more sophisticated view of the role of technology integration in a science classroom, increase their self-confidence with bringing technology-integrated activities to their future students, and shift their attitudes toward a view of technology that included the potential for transformative learning.

Paper #10067: The role of narrative science writing and illustration in pre-service teachers’ conceptual understanding of abstract concepts in biology

Principal Author: Kerry M. Owens Cresawn, James Madison University
Co-Authors: Angela W.. Webb, James Madison University


Abstract concepts such as cell and molecular structures and processes are difficult to understand at a conceptual level leading to many documented misconceptions in the field. The content knowledge needed to understand these concepts include cell structure and organization, protein synthesis, cell respiration, and photosynthesis and are introduced as early as 4th grade.  In addition to pedagogical knowledge, the ability of teachers to promote deep learning by appropriate use of analogies, chunking information, and providing meaningful hands-on experiences is dependent on teachers’ content knowledge and self-efficacy; however, numerous studied have documented the prevalence of the same misconceptions and weak content knowledge of teachers. We cannot expect pre-service teachers to develop conceptual understandings required for effective teaching in their science teaching preparation if they learn this content through instructor-centered lecture courses. Grounded in the importance of content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge in science teacher education, this presentation describes a novel approach, to promoting conceptual understanding of cell biology concepts for pre-service teachers. Students write and illustrate a science story book that integrates all content in a cell and molecular biology for teaching course. Choosing the appropriate context and analogies and illustrating abstract concepts to represent both science and fictional aspects of the story results in cognitive dissonance and metacognition. This presentation will include results of a mixed-methods study demonstrating the role of the project in deepening students’ conceptual understanding, ability to effectively explain the concepts, and awareness of their content knowledge as it related to their self-efficacy.  

Paper #10066: Spontaneous Adoption of Online Text-based Collaborative Tools Shaped Scientific Argumentation Discourse

Principal Author: Brent Gilles, University of West Georgia
Co-Authors: Gayle Buck, Indiana University


Prior research on fostering preservice teachers’ (PST) skills and understandings in regards to scientific argumentation has focused on their abilities to construct arguments after the fact. This has lead to a misunderstanding of how to appropriately scaffold and model these practices for their students. The study took a discourse analysis approach with 21 female PSTs in a content-based elementary education science course. The purpose of this discourse analysis study was to examine how online collaborative tools (i.e. Google Documents) shaped the discursive construction of arguments without the constraints of pre-existing argumentation frameworks. The findings showed that once PSTs had to organize their own data they began to focus their efforts on finding supporting material to share on their online collaborative tool, instead of discussing their evidence and its implications. This meant that their interactions shifted from predominately talk to text and the quality of their arguments decreased. The process of constructing an argument became less important than being able to explain their evidence. This result suggests that that PSTs need more practice analyzing data than collecting supporting evidence even though collecting data can make analyzing easier because they are more familiar. This study has implications for teachers at all levels that provide access to online environments while engaging their students in scientific argumentation.

Paper #11016: “Talk to the Hand”: Children’s Spontaneous Gesturing while Explaining Magnetism

Principal Author: James Minogue, NC State University
Co-Authors: Diane Hunter


Children’s use of gestures to explain abstract concepts remains a relatively unstudied area of science education. Built upon a framework from two areas (children’s understandings of magnetism and gestures), this exploratory study cataloged two aspects of upper elementary school children’s (N = 24) verbal explanations of magnetism (1) their spontaneous gesturing and (2) the various magnetism concept “elements” uttered. Findings point to the prevalence of gesturing and uncover common gesture-element relationships. Implications include the need for science teachers and science teacher educators to notice and exploit these valuable bodily cognitive resources.

Paper #10065: A Design Partnership to Support Teachers’ Adoption of Technology-Integrated Curriculum

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


We have developed a design partnership with urban ninth grade teachers to design, develop, and implement a series of novel Socio-Environmental Science Investigations (SESI) and projects that integrate mobile learning and geospatial technologies into the classroom science and social studies curricula.  In our design partnership, education professors/researchers with background in curriculum design and development with geospatial technologies, content experts in the natural sciences and social sciences, and geospatial experts collaborate with classroom teachers to design and develop the SESI learning activities, along with consultation from school administrators and technology staff. Our partnership model focuses on collaborative design and implementation of curriculum in keeping with models of school-based reform.  Over the course of two years, six SESI investigations and three projects were developed and implemented with all students in the ninth grade.  Each SESI investigation focuses on a driving investigative question that is relevant to the students’ community. Each investigation was also designed to develop students’ geospatial process skills. These skills include accessing different geospatial applications (Collector app on iPad and Web GIS maps on laptop computers), utilizing data collection procedures, displaying and navigating maps, annotating maps, analyzing data using different tools for pattern recognition and examining outliers, and constructing new data displays and visualizations.  The design partnership was successful for promoting technological pedagogical content knowledge with in-service science teachers.  This paper describes how the design partnership operated in practice, highlighting how one of the SESI investigations (Trees and Ecological Services) and a related project were designed, developed, prototype-tested and revised in the first year, and then pilot-tested and further revised in the second year.

Paper #10064: Comparing Engagement with the ASSIST Approach in Pre-Service and In-Service Teacher Programs

Principal Author: Mark McDermott, University of Iowa
Co-Authors: Mason Kuhn, University of Northern Iowa; John Bedward, Buena Vista University; Kathleen Weiss, University of Iowa; Nathan Quarderer, University of Iowa


The Argument-based Strategies for STEM-Infused Science Teaching (ASSIST) approach is an NGSS-aligned teaching framework built on the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH).  Improving understanding of the approach itself and how to develop the complex science learning environments associated with the use of ASSIST primarily takes place in pre-service methods courses and through professional development workshops for in-service teachers.  In this presentation, discussion will center on the process the authors utilize to help both audiences develop necessary understanding to implement the approach in authentic classrooms and the theoretical foundation for the process.  In addition, the similarities and differences associated with engagement of the two audiences will be described in terms of how it impacts the process utilized in training.  Findings emerging from data collection and analysis of pre-service and in-service teacher feedback will be used to describe differences in impact between the two groups of learners and suggest implications for both faculty working to develop teacher understanding of NGSS-aligned approaches and researchers evaluating these training programs.

Paper #10063: Understanding the notion of teacher professional vision: a literature review

Principal Author: Hye-Gyoung Yoon, Chuncheon National University of Education
Co-Authors: Jisun Park, Ewha Womans University; Youngjin Song, California State University Long Beach; Mijung Kim, University of Alberta; Yong Jae Joung, Gongju National University of Education


Teachers as professionals need to have certain knowledge and skills to recognize and interpret classroom situations in order to take appropriate actions for students’ learning, which is referred to as ‘professional vision’. Researchers have studied what types of professional vision are required for teachers and how their professional vision can be examined and developed to enhance students’ learning in classrooms. This study presents the results of literature review on professional vision in various scholarly journal articles selected through database such as ERIC, Educational Source, and Web of Science. Keywords for review search were ‘teachers’ and ‘professional vision’ in journal abstracts published between 1997 and 2017. Further, only empirical studies were chosen for literature review. Under those conditions, 21 articles in total were selected and analyzed to understand a) the characteristics of professional vision, b) research methods, and c) research findings on teachers’ professional vision. The review results show that teacher professional vision is a complex notion of ‘selective attention (noticing)’ and ‘reasoning’ which are related to teacher knowledge, skills, teaching backgrounds, and classroom situations. Various research methods were employed in selected journal articles; yet, using videos of classroom teaching was dominantly adapted and also recognized as an effective way to examine and enhance teachers’ professional vision. Research findings suggest that professional vision is context specific, thus, it is critical to take into account teaching background, curriculum and classroom environment to examine teachers’ professional vision and how certain factors would affect its development. Yet, previous studies have shown conflicting results on the relationship between professional vision and teacher characteristics. Thus, further research is required to understand the complexity of teacher professional vision, backgrounds, and classroom contexts.

Paper #10062: Science Instructors’ Perceptions on Attending to Student Thinking

Principal Author: Cara Tarullo, University of Wyoming
Co-Authors: Ana Houseal, University of Wyoming


Universities require all students to take general science classes. The intended purpose is to ensure that students are effective decision makers with science concepts encountered in daily life. Studies indicated that students are effective at the classroom game but may not be making sense of science (Lemke, 1990; Jimenez-Aleixandre, Rodriguez, & Duschl, 2000; Brousseau, 1997; Herbst & Kilpatrick, 1999). For this reason, university general science classes can be improved.

Recent studies explore how teachers’ pay attention to student thinking and what they notice in regards to student thinking influences how a student frames learning opportunities.  This is known as instructor attention to student thinking. Russ (2018) defines four types of attention to student thinking and indicates the different types impact on student epistemological framing. This is the first study to take the concept of instructor attention to student thinking as defined by Russ (2018) and apply it to university general science classes.

From a phenomenological perspective, this study explored the perceptions of four general science university instructors’ interactions with student thinking. The instructors ranged in experience and educational training, but all taught classes with a majority of non-science major students at the same university. 

The instructors feel that they rarely achieve the type of attention, known as relationships within and across the idea.  Often, instructors use the attention type attention to content. Because they pay attention to common misconceptions, use of vocabulary, and correct or incorrectness of ideas. When attention to content is used, epistemological messages are sent to the student that correctness is valued above sense-making. Sense-making occurs when students are able to draw from multiple sources and their own background knowledge to synthesize scientific ideas.  The interviews also indicated that student questions are used as a main access point to thinking.

Paper #11015: Innovative Inclusive Professional Development for Postsecondary Science Faculty Developing and Implementing Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences

Principal Author: Rommel J. Miranda, Towson University
Co-Authors: Laura Gough, Towson University; Matthew Hemm, Towson University; Trudymae Atuobi, Towson University


This HHMI-funded Inclusive Excellence Program has two overarching goals: 1) reform science laboratory courses to incorporate authentic research experiences via course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), and 2) provide professional development for postsecondary science faculty to promote effective inclusive teaching practices. This poster presentation can help to inform and guide postsecondary science faculty who are interested in modifying or developing course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), as well as creating a curriculum and support system that allows both traditional and non-traditional students, especially under-represented ethnic minority students, to participate in multiple authentic research projects and provide assistance in continuing research at the university and beyond graduation. This poster presentation can further help to inform and guide science education professional developers about innovative year-round inclusive professional development that is designed to help postsecondary science faculty develop CUREs, their science education approaches, and their inclusive pedagogical techniques.

Paper #10061: Converging Science and Math Curricula with Learners through Culturally Responsive Engineering Designs

Principal Author: Meredith W. Kier, William & Mary
Co-Authors: Deena Khalil, Howard University; Adrian W. Bruce, Howard University; Paige Teamey, Independant Consultant


This paper describes how we, a team of science, engineering, and mathematics teacher educators designed and revised a theory of design for culturally responsive engineering design challenges. We posit that if teacher-created engineering design challenges are contextualized by a lesson that includes the 1) story of an engineer of color, 2) opportunities for students to discuss their lived experiences relative to a social problem, and 3) selected concepts within their curriculum--science and mathematics teachers would be more efficacious in incorporating the engineering design process into learning material and students would develop stronger interest in STEM careers (Author, in press). The revisions of this model were based on the beliefs, experiences, and feedback of 42 experienced middle school science and mathematics teachers across six schools in an urban district in the United States. Our goal was to support teachers in developing culturally responsive engineering design challenges within lessons that aligned to teachers’ science and mathematics curricular standards and that centralized their learners’ lived experiences. As we implemented the model, we utilized a design-based research approach (Cobb, Zhao, & Dean, 2009) to iteratively design and revise the process for teachers who were implementing the engineering model in a unique context and time. We sought to diligently document how we modified our professional development strategies in respect to their needs. We found that when teachers saw how engineering lessons and content-lessons could be merged and expanded upon to include students’ perspectives, they gained confidence in implementing engineering design challenges. This study details the iterations of our culturally responsive engineering design model to maximize participant outcomes. We argue that professional development strategies must not only be context-specific, but also valuable to teachers, iterative, and flexible in nature to ultimately meet the needs of the students whom the teachers serve.

Paper #10060: A Comparative Study of Chinese and American Secondary Science Teachers’ Conceptions and Practices of Reformed Science Standards

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


The study interviewed Chinese and American high school science teachers about their understandings and practices of the respective science standards in the two countries, particularly, the three dimensions of the standards, core ideas of science, and engineering and technology. Through comparing the two groups of teachers’ conceptions and practical interpretations of science standards, this study intends to inform American and Chinese science educators’ implementation of reformed standards and teacher professional development. Teachers from both countries regarded standards highly and important in guiding their teaching in terms of what to teach. The standards do guide teachers’ teaching practices as many teachers did or intended to change their practices to meet the standards. Meanwhile, teachers from both countries face some common challenges, such as the lack of professional development, insufficient resources and the influence of assessment on teaching. This comparative study will help us elucidate the status and challenges of science teachers’ implementation of reformed standards in the Chinese and American contexts. This study provides important implications for preparing teachers for teaching reformed standards in both countries.

Paper #11014: An Exploration of Best Practices in Science Teacher Professional Development for NGSS Implementation Among High Performing California School Districts

Principal Author: Heathe A. Wygant, Texas Tech University
Co-Authors: Rebecca Hite, Texas Tech University


This project explores relationships between high performing CA school districts professional development plans for implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and high students preliminary indicator scores on the pilot California Science Test (CAST). These are defined as districts whose pilot California Science Test preliminary indicator scores were in the exemplary category.  With a shift to NGSS standards and curriculum, a drastic shift for teacher pedagogy from the traditional lecture style, to a more student-led, project based model is required. Consequential professional development (PD) is needed to prepare K-12 science teachers to meet the instructional expectations of the NGSS standards.  To that end, this project seeks to answer the question “What are the common aspects of NGSS implementation based PD (e.g. plans and execution) among high performing California districts?”  

Several themes were found based upon preliminary findings.  One included the focus on best practices based on research including lesson studies and interactive learning.  Another theme focused on building teacher leader capacity within the school districts involved, with the goal of the teacher leaders bringing back and sharing what they learned.   The third thing that was evident was that once a grant funding was over, the focus shifted away from what they had learned, and a new direction was taken, halting the progress made during the grant.  Other findings include the small number of teachers involved in a grant, and the lack of time given to teacher leaders to actually bring their knowledge back to the rest of the teachers.  These last two correlate with the lack to continuity once a grant was completed. Preliminary results suggest that successful NGSS implementation will require ongoing PD across the state, as well as within districts,  and will take several years (beyond the state indicated timeline) to fully implement.

Paper #10059: Development of a Socioscientific Argumentation STEM Curriculum at a Historically Black University

Principal Author: Hector N.. Torres, Bethune-Cookman University
Co-Authors: Raphael D.. Isokpehi, Bethune-Cookman University; Dana L.. Zeidler, University of South Florida



We sought to structure an ongoing intervention around content knowledge in units of biology and environmental science courses focusing on socioscientific issues. These courses were particularly amenable consider the impact of science-related challenges that have moral and ethical societal challenges and can be classified as socio-scientific issues (SSI) (Zeidler & Keefer (2003); Zeidler, 2014). SSI are ill-structured, open-ended problems which have multiple solutions (Owens, Sadler, & Zeidler, 2017; Sadler, 2011). Research studies have shown SSI to be effective at increasing students' understanding of science in various contexts, argumentation skills, empathy, and moral reasoning, and the development of character (Fowler, Zeidler & Sadler, 2009; Lee, et al., 2012, 2013; Sadler & Zeidler, 2005; Zeidler & Sadler, 2008; Zeidler, Sadler, Applebaum & Callahan, 2009).


National and International Standards related to science education stress the need for inquiry into global problems that confront the individual and require measured decisions informed by science and compassion (NGSS, 2013; UN, 2015)  For this to occur, the focus and nature of classroom instruction must shift to focus more on how we know science (i.e., how new knowledge is generated and validated), and not just on what we know about the world and how it works (i.e., laws, theories, and unifying concepts). According to Sampson & Grooms (2010), to accomplish this goal, science teachers need activities that require students to discuss and critique the process, products, or context of an inquiry; help students develop the abilities needed to participate in these activities; and give students an opportunity to learn more about the nature of scientific argumentation. There has been documented success in blending argumentation strategies in the context of SSI to facilitate students’ understanding of the nature of science (Eastwood, et al. 2013). Currently, knowledge is limited on the extent to which STEM students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) use socioscientific argumentation strategies.

Paper #16012: Dimensions of the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and their Variations

Principal Author: Kelsey Lipsitz, The Exploratorium, Institute for Inquiry


Reform documents like the Framework for K-12 Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have placed an emphasis on students’ understanding and ability to engage in Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). Engaging in scientific practices will require a shift from “doing the lesson” or going through the motions of school science, to co-constructing investigations to answer phenomena-based questions. This will require students to take on more responsibility in the classroom and thus, require teachers to share the role of epistemic agent, or individual responsible for shaping the knowledge and practice of a community, with students. Although NGSS-aligned curricular materials offer one means of supporting teachers in implementing these practices, teachers’ beliefs about science influence their planning process and how those plans are enacted in the classroom. As such, teachers are instrumental in how these practices are presented to students in the classroom. This research study sought to understand how teachers were planning for the SEPs in their elementary classrooms, and the extent to which the practices were reflective of the intent of the NGSS. Findings indicate that the majority of teachers were planning for student engagement in the practices in ways that were more teacher and/or curriculum directed; however, there were instances in which teachers’ plans were more student centered. That is, there were variations in how teachers planned to engage their students in the dimensions of each practice. During this roundtable session, participants will gain insights into how elementary teachers are planning for the SEPs, and the extent to which those align with the descriptors in the NGSS, as well as how we as a community can continue to support teachers as they shift their instruction to reflect the vision of the NGSS.

Paper #10058: Applying the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies to Science Education

Principal Author: David A. Slykhuis, University of Northern Colorado
Co-Authors: Teresa S.. Foulger, Arizona State University; Kevin J. Graziano, Nevada State College; Denise A. Schmidt-Crawford, Iowa State University


The 2016 National Education Technology Plan set forth a call for teacher educators to improve the technology skills of teacher candidates through the infusion of technology throughout their program. This necessitates all teacher education faculty become competent in technology instruction which led to the development of the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETCs). While the 12 competencies and related criteria are meant for all teacher educators, the application and implication of the competencies will be different for each content area and specializtion within teacher education. The presentation will specifically focus on examples and best practices from each competency as they relate to science education. By implementing the TETCs in science methods and science content courses, science educators are doing their part to ensure that teacher candidates are prepared to teach effectively using technology when they enter their own classrooms.

Paper #10057: Concept Models as a Planning Tool for Practicing Science Teachers

Principal Author: Ryan S.. Nixon, Brigham Young University
Co-Authors: Benjamin K.. Campbell, Longwood University


Science instruction often focuses more on involving students in a variety of activities than on engaging students with developing conceptual understanding. One reason for this may be that teachers lack the necessary subject matter knowledge (SMK). For teachers to be able to improve their own understanding of science concepts, they need to recognize areas in which their knowledge is weak. It may be possible to support teachers in developing their knowledge—and thus work towards preparing conceptually-focused instruction—through the use of a tool.


In this study, we investigate the use of a tool we have developed to support secondary science teacher’s’ SMK called a concept model. We seek to understand how experienced secondary biology teachers think about and grapple with science concepts while planning for instruction. We also asked teachers to complete one concept model and explored the ways that this concept model influenced their thinking about the science concepts.


This study draws on interviews with 13 experienced (mean = 12 years) secondary biology teachers. Analysis revealed four distinct answers to the question of how these teachers use tools and strategies to work through science content during planning: 1) to identify which science concepts were the most important to teach, 2) to enhance their own science knowledge, 3) to create a sequence of concepts, or 4) they did not attend to science concepts while planning. After completing the concept model, teachers reported that it helped them to: 1) think about the science concepts, rather than just the instructional strategies; 2) consider students’ ideas; and 3) focus on the important aspects of the concept.


From these experienced teachers’ reactions to completing a concept model, we conclude that a concept model could enhance some of the ways that these teachers worked through the science concepts while planning for instruction. These results provide initial evidence that the concept model tool helps focus teachers on a crucial, but often neglected, aspect of teaching during their planning.

Paper #10056: Why We Can’t Say Goodnight Moon: Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Fragile Moon Understandings

Principal Author: Stephanie Hathcock, Oklahoma State University
Co-Authors: Drew Gossen, Oklahoma State University; Toni Ivey, Oklahoma State University


As preservice elementary teachers prepare to enter the classroom, they often realize that they are not as familiar with science content as is necessary to be effective science teachers. This means that many of these preservice teachers are faced with the task of trying to learn content while also developing the pedagogical skills necessary to be effective in the classroom (García-Carmona, Criado, & Cruz-Guzmán, 2016). This pilot study examined elementary preservice teachers’ understanding of moon phases. We were seeking to determine content gains, nuances in conceptual ideas, and transfer to novel situations. Findings indicate the fragility of PSTs moon phase understanding, particularly when faced with novel situations.

Paper #10055: Investigating the Effect of NOS Question Type on Students’ NOS Responses

Principal Author: Jerrid Kruse, Drake University
Co-Authors: Isaiah Kent-schneider, Drake University; Neal Patel, Drake University; Molly Rockefeller, Drake University



While the importance of explicit and reflective NOS instruction has been made clear in the literature, questions remain about how to enact such instruction. In our observations, teachers sometimes ask general reflection questions while other times asking vague NOS-related reflective questions. Yet, we hope that teachers will ask specific NOS reflective questions that target particular NOS ideas. However, we were unable to find any research that investigated the relative impact of the type of NOS question asked on students’ thinking about the NOS. Therefore, this study sought to investigate how students respond to various types of NOS questions.


To investigate the effect of type of NOS question on students’ responses, we created four versions of a historical short story and randomly gave students (N = 176) one of the story versions. One version of the story had general reflection questions which are questions that simply ask students to reflect on what they read. For example, “What do you notice or want to remember?” The second version of the story contained general NOS questions. For example, “what does this say about science and how scientists work?” The third version of the story had specific NOS questions which give students and explicit NOS idea to focus on. For example, “How do you think science and technology affect each other?” The final version had specific NOS questions but was scaffolded with examples from the text. For example, “Notice that science is helping develop new clock technology and that new technology is helping science. How do you think science and technology affect each other?”


Our results indicate that the 6th grade students tended to address NOS most completely with the scaffolded and specific NOS questions. Students’ accurate NOS responses were only slightly lower for the non-scaffolded, but still specific NOS questions. A larger decrease was observed for the number of accurate NOS responses with the general/vague NOS questions. Unsurprisingly, students rarely address NOS ideas when asked the general reflective questions.

Paper #10054: Using Student Drawings to Assess Comprehension of Science Texts

Principal Author: Katherine L. Wright, Boise State University
Co-Authors: Julianne Wenner, Boise State University; Sara Hagenah, Boise State University; Keith Thiede, Boise State University


In science, different representations of information are crucial for developing a full understanding of the text. Research has also demonstrated that having students visually organize information can lead to deeper comprehension of scientific texts. However, teachers very rarely integrate visuals into science instruction, and when they do, there is little direct instruction on the reading and/or creation of graphics.

This study sought to empirically identify elements of drawings that are predictive of student comprehension. With this information, teachers will be better equipped to integrate drawings into science instruction, assess the quality of these drawings, and encourage students to read and think like professional scientists.

Using the Graphic Analysis Protocol (GAP), we analyzed 344 drawings provided by 72 different 5th graders at a Title I school. On five separate occasions (each one week apart), a researcher provided students with a selection from a 5th-grade level textbook, and asked them to draw a picture using the information in the text and answer a 10-question comprehension assessment.

Findings indicate that three elements from the GAP were positively correlated with comprehension: the inclusion of actions; the number of related elements; and the use (or not) of captions. There were two elements from the GAP that were negatively correlated to comprehension: the inclusion of novel elements and the inclusion of unrelated elements.

This research has implications for teachers who wish to support the integration of drawing into their instruction. Our findings indicate that the GAP may help teachers better assess students’ comprehension via their drawings, and may help teachers better target their instruction to support comprehension of science texts. This type of targeted instruction also has the potential to support the development and use of models, as the NGSS indicates that this process begins in early grades by using drawings and modeling also obliges students to consider key features, processes within systems, and relationships between components.

Paper #10053: Student teaching triads: An examination of successful partnerships.

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


This multiple case study examined five highly successful student teaching triads to identify the features of the relationships between members of the triad that contributed to success. Highly successful student teaching triads were identified on the basis of the persistence of the beginning teachers, and the activities of the members of the triad, and the experience of the cooperating teacher in their role within teacher education. Interviews were conducted among triads featuring cooperating teachers with multiple years of experience working with the college. Transcript coding revealed five patterns common to successful triads. These included the importance of teacher candidates feeling supported within and beyond the student teaching semester, the idea that members of the triad can serve as resources to each other, knowledge and values are transmitted within the triad relationship, strong triad relationships persist beyond the clinical practice experience, and the importance of careful matching of student teachers and cooperating teacher. This is important because within the context of teacher education, the emphasis on clinical experiences has increased in recent years. Early coursework in teacher education often features clinical experiences that involve observing master teachers and working with small groups of students. In most programs, student teaching remains the capstone of educator preparation. Student teaching is a critical step in teacher candidates’ development from preservice teacher to beginning teacher. The development that occurs during student teaching results not only from the teacher candidate working with students as the instructional leader in the classroom but also from the relationships that develop between the members of the student teaching triad.

Paper #10052: Developing Schoolyard Pedagogy in Preservice Elementary Teachers: A Look at Three Institutions

Principal Author: Kelly Feille, University of Oklahoma
Co-Authors: Stephanie Hathcock, Oklahoma State University; Beth Klein, SUNY Cortland


Schoolyard pedagogydescribes the theories, methods, and practices of teaching that extend beyond the four walls of a classroom and capitalize on the teaching tools available in the surrounding schoolyard. There is a growing body of literature emphasizing the use of the outdoors as a teaching tool, however there is limited research that investigates how to support the development of schoolyard pedagogy. The purpose of this research and presentation is to introduce the development of schoolyard pedagogy from the perspective of preservice elementary teachers, showcase various methods of development, and discuss our collaborative efforts to identify best practices for science methods instruction regarding schoolyard pedagogy. We began collaborating after learning that each of our respective programs use schoolyard pedagogy as part of our elementary science methods course. We have collected preliminary data from 67 pre-service teachers (PSTs) enrolled in their respective science methods course. Throughout the pilot semester, we worked to develop common measures that would allow us to (1) identify best practices for schoolyard pedagogy methods instruction and (2) identify evidence of the development of schoolyard pedagogy in our students. The data reported here represent a pilot to identify evidence of the development of schoolyard pedagogy in our students. Common data sources include the Outdoor Experience and Comfort Index, Draw-a-Science Teacher Test, a unique lesson plan assignment, and a variant of an autobiography and teaching philosophy assignment. This presentation focuses on presenting preliminary data results relating to the best practices for schoolyard pedagogy methods instruction and evidence of the development of schoolyard pedagogy in elementary education students from three distinct institutions. 

Paper #10051: Science Gets Personal: Engaging the Public through Science Festivals

Principal Author: Gina M. Childers, University of North Georgia
Co-Authors: Macey Jarrard, University of North Georgia; Tony Sacchitello, University of North Georgia; Donna Governor, University of North Georgia; Lesley Simanton-Coogan, University of North Georgia


Science festivals are informal learning experiences intended to engage the public in science by providing an opportunity for scientists and the public to connect and interact, creating a dialogue between scientists and the public. However, little is known of the motivation and influence that inspire individuals to attend science festival events as well as what individuals do with the information or knowledge they gain at an event. This study explored and documented science festival attendees (n = 42) motivation to attend events, which events they attended, what science topics they learned at the events, and what they plan to do with the information once they leave the event. Primarily, 39% of individuals attended science talks in which an expert on a specific science topic would share their area of expertise with the audience. Discussion panels were attended by almost a third of participants and hands-on science activities accounted for 20% of science festival attendees’ participation. These event topics were diverse in nature, spanning from biology, chemistry, and physics science concepts. A majority of science festival attendees reported personal factors (such as prior experience) were their primary motivation in attending events at the science festival. However, few participants suggested that the physical context (3%) or sociocultural context (5%) were motivational factors. Overall, 50% of science festival attendees shared that they plan to use the information to expand their own knowledge through future readings and research. Approximately a fifth of participants suggested that they would use what they learn for instruction (K-12 classrooms or sharing with others) or community benefit such as volunteering or recycling. Because of community members have access to scientific experts through science festival events, for example as part of discussion panels and science talks, it is important to recognize the potential effect science festival events can have on public understanding of science and the potential for impacting scientific literacy in the community.

Paper #13006: Shaping Student Science Understandings: Modeling in Multimodal Representations

Principal Author: Rachel E.. Wilson, Appalachian State University
Co-Authors: Leslie U.. Bradbury, Appalachian State University


The idea of multiple modes of representations (MMR)  has been gaining popularity as a recommended pedagogical strategy (McDermott & Hand, 2015). Current research has demonstrated that multimodality is an effective pedagogical approach for students in K-16 educational settings. For example, Authors (2016) found that first grade students who drew and wrote about carnivorous plants were able to significantly increase their knowledge of plant structure and function. MMR works in concert with current reforms in science education. Several of the scientific and engineering practices in the NGSS (NGSS Lead States, 2013) reference the use of multiple modes for representing information: developing and using models, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematical and computational thinking, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating data.

In this exploratory session, we will briefly review research support for the use of multiple modes of representation (MMR) as a pedagogical strategy for science teaching before engaging attendees in participatory examples that would be appropriate for both K-12 classrooms and science methods courses, and have participants brainstorm ideas for use of this strategy. This session makes a contribution in that we will be providing evidence for research-supported strategies in science teaching along with practical suggestions and models for how to incorporate MMR pedagogy in methods classes.

Paper #10050: Exploring Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Views Toward Culturally Relevant Pedagogy, Science as a Civil Right and Urban Schools

Principal Author: Seema Rivera, Clarkson University
Co-Authors: Preethi Titu, University of Minnesota




Reaching out and teaching all students has become a focused goal in the field of science education. The National Science Teacher Association states that if our country wants to continue to prosper and grow, we need to make sure science is being taught to all learners. The problem explored in this study was the limited exposure Preservice STEM-Teachers (PS-STEM-Ts) have with understanding diversity and its relationship to education and STEM.  One researcher observed that the teacher education program that she just entered into working in was lacking in coursework and/or curriculum related to diversity. Knowing PS-STEM-Ts views toward culturally relevant pedagogy, science as a civil right and urban schools in education have significant classroom impacts, this study investigated the views of pre-service science teachers toward the three aspects.  This study used a grounded theory approach in a single embedded case study design and in the preliminary analysis of reflective posts, a total of 10 themes emerged from our guiding question that explores PS-STEM-Ts Views on Diversity.  The PS-STEM-Ts communicated in subtle ways to invalidate and undermine the importance of the discussion, even though it is part of the science teacher preamble and program values. This study is significant in that it challenges science educators to create and provide examples that promote the development of culturally relevant teaching to assist PS-STEM-Ts in moving toward developing a sense of inclusiveness in science classrooms.  

This presentation offers an insight into the ways in which PS-STEM-Ts perceive CRP, urban schools, and teaching science. This information will be useful for both teacher educators and curriculum developers with a vested interest in helping to develop pre-service teacher education. This research can help inform teacher educators as they work to prepare future teachers and support in-service teachers in shaping their views.

Paper #16011: Purposeful Placements for Clinical Experiences

Principal Author: Stephanie A. Fanselow, University of Northern Colorado


Transforming teacher preparation programs into clinical experiences has received a lot of attention in recent years. The placement of pre-service teachers is an essential component of clinically-based teacher preparation. This session will discuss best practices in placing pre-service teachers in schools and classrooms. Topics will include the selection of partner schools and mentor teachers, preparation of mentor teachers, and how to find the right balance between providing a variety of experiences and providing rich experiences. Typical challenges to implementing best practices will be discussed as well as ways to overcome these challenges. Participants will be encouraged to share their own experiences and challenges with placing pre-service teachers for quality clinical experiences.

Paper #10049: Secondary Science Teachers Implementing Co-Designed Socio-Scientific Issues-Based Curriculum Units: Supports, Challenges, and Salient Outcomes

Principal Author: Li Ke, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Co-Authors: Patricia J. Friedrichsen, University of Missouri; Laura Zangori, University of Missouri; Troy D.. Sadler, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Amanda Peel, University of Missouri; Eli Dryer, University of Missouri


As part of a larger study, we designed a professional development workshop in which 18 secondary science teachers co-designed socio-scientific issues-based  (SSI) curriculum units. The teachers were encouraged, but not required, to implement their unit the following year.  This case study examines a sub-set of eight teachers who taught their SSI units. Clarke and Hollingworth’s (2002) Model of Professional Growth was used to examine the teachers’ perceived supports for implementation, challenges during implementation, and the teacher’s perceived salient outcomes related to this approach. The primary data source was a post-implementation, semi-structured interview with each teacher.  The following three themes were identified. Theme 1: In implementing their SSI units, the teachers’ perceived school-based supports tended to vary based on the teacher’s career stage. An early career teacher perceived school-based supports as coming from a veteran teacher and from her PLC while mid-career and veteran teachers perceived school-based supports from another individual teacher or a school administrator. Theme 2: The teachers described two primary challenges related to implementing their SSI units: keeping the science connected to the issue throughout the unit and finding time to include the culminating activity.  Theme 3: Teachers perceived increased student interest as a salient outcome of their SSI unit implementation. Oftentimes, the increased student interest exceeded the teachers’ expectations. The teachers attributed student interest to the relevance of their SSI units.

Paper #10048: Features of Student Teacher Reflections about Self and Peer Classroom Video that Cultivate Reform-Minded Thinking

Principal Author: Robert M.. Danielowich, Adelphi University


When used flexibly as resources for reflection, videos of their own classrooms can help teachers unsettle what and how they think about their teaching and guide them to authentically identify and resolve conflicts between their intentions and actions.  Eight secondary science student teachers each watched, shared, and reflected about video of their four field lesson observations alone and in meetings with their cohorts.  These reflections were analyzed with three rubrics that define, respectively, five practice elements [e.g., assessment], three pairs of reflective foci [e.g., using points of view of teachers and/or students], and four forms of responses to peers’ videos [e.g., critique].  Student teachers whose reflections deviated from a one-sided, teacher-oriented, and ‘best practices’ position, whose perceptions about teaching were at an arm’s distance from their peers, and whose general teaching goals and ‘gauges’ for student success were sufficiently aligned indicated more robust reform-mindedness (as defined by NOS, inquiry, and STSE/SSI teaching and learning) about their practices during the term.  The findings show how video- and peer-based protocols of intermediate levels of flexibility can prompt teachers to generate original change-directed thinking they are more likely to sustain and on which they are more likely to act.

Paper #10047: Developing and implementing an instrument for measuring creative engineering problems solving propensity

Principal Author: Younkyeong Nam, Pusan National University
Co-Authors: Ju-Won Kang, Pusan National University; DongYoung Lee, Pusan National Univesity


This study presents the process of developing a valid and reliable instrument for measuring students’ creative engineering problem solving propensity (CEPSP) in STEM research context and the impact of a engineering design based STEM research experience on gifted high school students by implementing the instrument in South Korea. First the creative engineering problem solving is operationally defined in this study as a creative problem solving skill in an engineering context. To develop the instrument, first we define seven common constructs between engineering problem solving skill and creative problem solving skill through an intensive literature review; motivation, context, personal character, engineering design, engineering habits of mind, understandings of engineering and engineers, communication skill, and collaboration skill. Based on the seven constructs and the face validity test, 40 preliminary items were developed. Then the preliminary instrument was implemented in a science gifted high school to measure the reliability of the instrument. After three times of exploratory factor analysis, 28 items in five construct were defined. The factor analysis result showed that the reliability of each construct category was between .733 to .892., meaning that the instrument is reliable in terms of the higher structural validity (each item is categorized in an appropriate construct category). The final CEPSP instrument items were used to measure the impact of gifted high school students’ engineering design based STEM research experience on their CEPSP. The pre-post test results were analyzed by a paired t-test with the significance level of p <.05. The result shows that the engineering design based STEM research experience had a positive effect on the students’ creative engineering problem solving propensity. Overall, the average score of the creative engineering problem solving propensity increased significantly (p <.05) after the STEM research experience.

Paper #11013: Supporting teacher cognition and instruction of science representations in elementary classrooms: A peek into the first year of a multi-year program

Principal Author: Meredith Park Rogers, Indiana University - Bloomington
Co-Authors: Joshua Danish, Indiana University - Bloomington; Celeste Nicholas, Indiana University - Bloomington; Dionne Cross Francis, Indiana University - Bloomington; Cindy Hmelo-Silver, Indiana University - Bloomington


Our multi-year project aims to work with classroom teachers to identify their existing practices and the challenges they face with incorporating representations in their science teaching. To achieve this goal, we plan to work with several cohorts of teachers over the next few years to iteratively explore new ideas from the cognitive and learning sciences, introduce those ideas in their own classrooms, document their teaching practices, reflect upon their practices and those of their peers, and develop new practices. Given we are in the first year of our project, the purpose of this presentation is to share our initial design-based research professional development (PD) model.  Three key dimensions of teacher cognition and practice associated with science representations guide our PD model and they include: a) a knowledge of various representational forms; b) the value of creating representations, and c) how to use representations in the teaching and learning of science. The seven teachers we are working with in this first year participated in five days of PD over the course of the summer, which culminated with developing a science unit with a grade level partner.  Each teacher then participated in a coaching cycle that emphasizes reflection on teaching with a content–focused coach (Gibbons & Cobb, 2016). In addition, the grade level teams meet before and after each iteration of the unit to discuss what is working, and not working well, with respect to the selection, creation, and use of the representations in the co-designed unit. The content-focused coach serves as a facilitator for these collaborative discussions as well. In addition to sharing what we are learning about the elementary teachers’ developing knowledge about choosing representational forms in science, we will also report on how they value the creation of representations and the use of representations in learning to explain in science.  We will solicit feedback on our PD model to help us plan for future iterations of PD with other cohorts of teachers.

Paper #10046: Developing Preservice Teachers’ Content and Pedagogical Content Knowledge for the History of Science Integrated Science Instruction

Principal Author: Frackson Mumba, University of Virginia
Co-Authors: Alexis A.. Rutt, University of Virginia


Research indicates that incorporating the history of science (HOS) into K-12 science instruction has many benefits for student learning (e.g., Lin & Chen, 2002; Wang & Marsh, 2002). The Next Generation Science Standards encourage using HOS to teach important aspects of the nature of science such as the evolution of scientific knowledge and the humanity of scientists (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Despite its benefits, HOS instruction is largely absent in K-12 science classrooms (Hottecke & Silva, 2010). Its absence may be due to the lack of teacher training in HOS content and pedagogy (Rutherford, 2001). Without the content and pedagogical content knowledge needed to teach HOS (Shulman, 1987), teachers may perceive HOS instruction as a demanding practice (Hottecke et al., 2012) and may question its usefulness for improving students’ content knowledge (Garik et al., 2015). Thus, teacher training is needed to support teachers’ understanding and use of HOS-integrated instruction (Henke & Hottecke, 2015).

The purpose of our study was to investigate the effect of an online HOS methods course on preservice science teachers’ content and pedagogical content knowledge for and perceptions of HOS-integrated instruction. Using Shulman’s (1987) framework for teacher knowledge, we reviewed discussion forum posts, written reflections, class assignments, and a post-intervention survey. Results indicated overall positive perceptions of HOS-integrated science instruction during and after the intervention. Further, evidence pointed to preservice teachers’ understanding of HOS content and the instructional planning abilities needed to teach HOS-integrated science.

Results suggest that an online HOS methods course can support preservice teachers in their development of content and pedagogical knowledge for HOS-integrated instruction. Further, such training can improve preservice teachers’ perceptions of HOS-integrated instruction. Collectively, this growth in knowledge and improvement of perceptions can lead to greater inclusion of HOS-integrated instruction in science classrooms.

Paper #10045: Fresh Thinking for Students through STEAM

Principal Author: Richard Cox, Bullitt County Public Schools
Co-Authors: Kristin L. Cook, Bellarmine University; Sarah B. Bush, University of Central Florida


     In the elementary (K-5) school where this study was conducted, the integrated learning of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) has become synonymous with the idea that, ideally, the type of science and mathematics education that should be promoted focuses on students making use of their unique experiences by developing and working through real problems in ways that transcend content. When science and mathematics are implemented through STEAM, K-5 teachers have anecdotally reported that students completed better quality work at higher levels of achievement, had higher self-efficacy, and responded to content with advanced critical thinking and communication skills. Teachers, too, felt more confident teaching science and mathematics in ways that strayed from more traditional methods. 

     With a student focus and a qualitative research question guided by inquiry into student perceptions of STEAM and science and mathematics learning, three students provided individual accounts and insights into their learning experiences.  Interviews and surveys revealed reactions to science and mathematics outside of the STEAM context were troubling; students were disinterested and disenchanted, defined science and mathematics in nebulous ways, and their enjoyment of it wavered. Their lackluster perceptions about science and mathematics in a classroom space where they spend hours each week is a call to educators that fresh thinking in teaching and learning is urgently needed.  This research contributes to extant literature suggesting STEAM learning can be a transformative space in which reform efforts in science and mathematics can be realized

Paper #10044: The use of beads and beadwork (cultural artifacts) for place-based learning of science concepts: Teachers un/awareness

Principal Author: Sina Fakoyede, University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
Co-Authors: Femi Otulaja, university of Witwatersrand


This paper accesses teachers’ un/awareness of the use of cultural artifacts (beads and beadwork) as place-based learning tools in the life sciences classroom. As focus shifts from teacher-centered to learners-centered learning processes, teachers’ pedagogical practice has to draw from the learners’ lived-world to enhance the learners learning processes (Chilisa, 2012).  How does this happen? By learners’ lived-world, I mean their indigenous knowledge (social, cultural and symbolic capital). However, becoming aware of the capital to transform into an epistemic object appears to be a daunting goal while learning how to transform the cultural artifacts (beads and beadwork) into a learning tool (Cognitization) for the learners is another. Becoming aware of how to harness cultural artifacts (beads and beadwork) resident in the learners’ world into a culturally responsive pedagogical resource (CRPR) can require the teachers’ ability to explore the learners’ lived-experience. In conducting this research, the researcher facilitated the teachers’ learning in a professional development and training workshop on the use of beads and beadwork to create models of simple and complex organic molecules as the South African curriculum states (CAPS, 2011). The teacher proceeded to facilitate learners’ understanding of simple and complex organic compounds. Results showed the teacher became awakened on the use of beads and beadworks to teach life science concepts in the classroom, this awareness became heighted and subsequently cognitively energized to help the learners understand better the structure of simple and complex organic molecules. The learners’ experiences after the teachers' facilitation of the learners understanding of simple and complex organic compounds with culturally related instructional models created from beads and beadwork resulted in learners enablements as learners became “hotspots” from which they can learn for and from themselves.

Paper #10043: STEM Integration and Teacher Agency

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


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) integration shows promise in engaging students and preparing them as critical thinkers and real-world problem-solvers (e.g. Hersbach, 2011). However, STEM can be challenging for teachers to design and implement as the United States education system is siloed by separate disciplines, that contradict content integration. Predetermined curriculum materials deprive teachers of autonomy in their classrooms (Apple, 2009). We see innovative curriculum design and implementation as a way in which teachers act with agency to define their personal interpretation of STEM integration, and subtly resist intellectual deskilling of their career through top-down initiatives. STEM integration inherently requires teachers to push beyond siloed standards to integrate and innovate. This comparative case study explored two teacher teams’ experiences and expressions of agency in the context of designing and implementing multidisciplinary STEM units in teams. We examined the relationship between experiences and expressions of agency and the STEM that was developed by teachers and implemented.

Primary data sources included initial and final interviews triangulated with meeting recordings and notes, recorded acts of STEM, and curriculum artifacts. Data analyses revealed six themes influencing teacher teams’ and individual teachers’ experiences and acts of agency: (1) how ecological contexts and the intensification of teaching constrains agency, (2) innovative design and enactment is an extra, (3) a collective sense of agency is important (4) agency over the life course matters, and (5) priorities for holistic student impact drive teacher agency. Recommendations from this research include increased focus on the development of teachers as curriculum designers; opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration and design in teacher preparation programs; holistic teacher preparation that prioritizes teacher identity development; and the formation of teacher teams with distributed expertise and varied levels of teaching experience.

Paper #10042: Explicit Instruction and Scaffolding of the Claim, Evidence, Reasoning Framework within a Physical Science Course for Educators

Principal Author: Heidi L.. Masters, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
Co-Authors: Jennifer L.. Docktor, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse


For this study we employed a quasi-experimental design within four sections of a physical science course for educators to explore how explicit instruction and scaffolding of the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning (CER) framework influenced prospective K-8 teachers’ abilities to formulate scientific explanations.  This course is taught using an integrated lab-lecture format, and covers the topics of Matter, Force and Motion, Electricity, Magnetism, Waves and Sound, and Light.  Two sections served as the intervention group and learned how to construct scientific explanations using the CER framework as well as verbal, written, and peer scaffolding.  The other two sections served as the comparison group and received no additional support for how to construct explanations in science.  A pre/post assessment, five quizzes, six journal entries, and six self-reflections were collected and analyzed to address the research questions.  A rubric was used to analyze the prospective teachers’ scientific explanations.  From our results, we can conclude that explicit instruction and scaffolding of the CER framework can assist prospective teachers with learning how to construct scientific explanations.  More specifically, there was a statically significant difference between the intervention group and the comparison groups’ abilities to provide sufficient evidence to support their claim and justify their claim and evidence with scientific reasoning.  The prospective teachers in the intervention group found the reasoning component the most challenging.  Our results also show the intervention groups’ abilities to form a scientific explanation remained fairly consistent as scaffolds were faded.  They did experience more difficulty when forming scientific explanations for the concepts force and motion and sound.  These findings have important implications for teacher educators who support prospective teachers in developing their knowledge for how to formulate scientific explanations. 

Paper #10041: “I Will Fight. I Will Advocate. I Will Tell Others”: The Impacts of the Deliberate Attention to Caring About Elementary Science in a Methods Course

Principal Author: Julianne A. Wenner, Boise State University


In the public K-12 environment of testing and math and language arts superseding all else, an elementary teacher has to want to teach science for it to actually happen, and happen with quality. Consequently, a science methods course sought to support teacher candidates (TCs) in developing the skills and dispositions to care about teaching high-quality science at the elementary level. This study sought to explore the impacts of this explicit attention to caring about elementary science.

Different from teacher beliefs or attitudes, this study defines caring about elementary science education as: Being able to articulate the value it provides to students and society, and internalizing the importance such that one is driven to teach science at a high level, even if they must overcome obstacles. It is the ability to articulate arguments about the value and the internalization of this value that separates caring about from more general attitudes or beliefs about (teaching) science; caring about elementary science will allow TCs to persist through obstacles and provide intrinsic motivation to teach elementary science.

Data were collected via two care-focused assignments, a pre/post-test, and interviews. Findings indicate that a) for many, this course was the first time they realized the value of high-quality elementary science education; b) the assignments in the course allowed TCs to flesh out arguments as to why high-quality elementary science is important; and c) TCs were more assertive and specific about actions they will take in the future to support and/or advocate for high-quality elementary science education.

Explicitly attending to the notion of caring about elementary science is necessary TCs are to be supported in persisting through obstacles facing the implementation of high-quality elementary science education as well as being able to professionally advocate for more and better quality elementary science education.

Paper #13005: Contextualizing Science Phenomena within Agriculture for Critical Thinking

Principal Author: Debra M.. Spielmaker, Utah State University
Co-Authors: Max L.. Longhurst, Utah State University


Today’s teachers and pre-service teachers are facilitating the learning of students who—through science and engineering—will need to solve the challenge as to how to sustainably feed nearly 10 billion people within the next 30 years. In this session participants will engage in agricultural-based phenomena and explore storyline episode investigations as a means for critical thinking for a more sustainable agricultural system. Classroom-ready resources will be shared, and instructional approaches will be modeled to highlight phenomena and three-dimensional learning.

Paper #10040: Elementary Students’ Perceptions of STEAM Learning

Principal Author: Sarah B. Bush, University of Central Florida
Co-Authors: Kristin L. Cook, Bellarmine University; Daniel Edelen, University of Central Florida; Richard Cox, Bellarmine University


Surrounding the excitement of STEAM teaching and learning are the perceived student benefits from this type of integrated environment. Based on relevant literature, using student perceptions offers a unique and meaningful opportunity to increase achievement and motivation. There is a current gap within the literature base of student perceptions towards STEAM education and integration. We report on a qualitative analysis of more than 1000 student open responses from 8 teachers’ classrooms across 5 urban elementary schools regarding perceptions of learning in STEAM environment intentionally focused on science and mathematics content and practices. This study is one of the first examining student perceptions of STEAM learning. 

Paper #10039: Enhancing STEM Preservice Teacher Preparation Through Internships Providing Informal Teaching Opportunities

Principal Author: Paige K. Evans, University of Houston
Co-Authors: Leah McAlister-Shields, University of Houston; Mariam Manuel, University of Houston


To prepare STEM teachers to be effective in high-need schools, informal teaching experiences should be provided for students to build skills and increase self-efficacy (Tuchman & Isaacs, 2011). In this mixed methods study, we examined the relationship between informal teaching experience and teacher self-efficacy among pre-service teachers in a secondary STEM teacher preparation program. The quantitative phase involved administration of a self-efficacy scale (n=103), whereas the qualitative phase involved the conduct of focus group interviews (n=10). An analysis of variance revealed a significant difference in teacher self-efficacy between students with and students without informal teaching experience (F (1, 101) = 10.76, p<.005). Constant comparative analysis yielded three themes (i.e., student engagement, instructional strategies and classroom management). Implications are discussed.  This study was designed to contribute to the literature on teacher preparation programs and to help inform university programs regarding the need to include ongoing informal teaching experiences to build not only pedagogical skill, but also teacher self-efficacy in the areas of instructional strategies, student engagement and classroom management. This will be of interest to those that would like to enhance their undergraduate teaching preparation programs through offering internships that provide informal learning opportunities through STEMcentric outreach efforts such as summer camps.

Paper #10038: Investigating the Affect of Augmented Reality Applications In An Elementary Science Methods Class

Principal Author: Leonard Annetta, East Carolina University
Co-Authors: Marina Shapiro-Eney, California State University-Bakersfield; Alliy Funsch, East Carolina University


A recent article in the journal Science challenged science educators at all levels to become more creative and immerse science learners in more creative endeavors. Eighteen preservice elementary methods students at a Mid-Atlantic University engaged with two different augmented reality apps as a way of integrating technology into their science teaching. Students created activities around the apps. Findings suggest augmented reality is an exciting way to immerse preservice teachers using technology and integrating the Bring Your Own Device initiative.


Principal Author: William A.. Said, University System of Georgia (Retired)
Co-Authors: Lisa M. Martin-Hansen, California State University, Long Beach, California


The present study examines whether a benchmark statement in “Atlas of Science Literacy, Project 2061” concerning the principles of the flow of matter and energy in ecosystems contains a serious misconception.  Specifically, the study postulates that the 9-12 benchmark, “Plants alter the earth’s atmosphere by removing carbon dioxide from it, using the carbon to make sugar, and releasing oxygen,” will have a negative impact on students’ understanding of the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide in ecosystems. As written, the benchmark statement obscures the fact that oxygen released by plants stems solely from water.  It reinforces a widely held misconception that plants take in CO2, use the carbon to make sugar, and release O2.

To quantitatively assess the effect of the benchmark statement on students’ understanding of the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide during plant photosynthesis, a multiple-choice instrument was developed. The first part evaluated students’ content knowledge prior to their exposure to the benchmark statement, while the second part elicited students’ perception based solely on the benchmark statement.  The instrument was administered to 573 college students, including 374 freshmen from 5 different classes and 199 seniors from 4 different classes.  Students were asked to define the exact source of the oxygen molecules released during plant photosynthesis, first before, then after presenting the benchmark statement. Before students’ exposure to the benchmark statement, their answers generally indicated random guessing.  After being presented with the benchmark statement, 73.5% of freshmen and 77.4% of seniors selected the specific wrong answer implied by the benchmark, (i.e. O2 released by plants originates from CO2); only 1% of freshmen and 8.5% of seniors selected the correct answer. The data suggest that the benchmark statement has a negative impact on students’ understanding of the flow of matter during photosynthesis; it enforces a misconception among the random-guessing students as well as among those students with a level of content knowledge.

Paper #13004: Exploring inclusive education through the eyes of science teacher educators

Principal Author: Christine Tippett, University of Ottawa
Co-Authors: Karen Goodnough, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Saiqa Azam, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Tood Milford, University of Victoria


Teaching is challenging and complex, requiring K-12 teachers to integrate many bodies of knowledge and various skills in order to be effective. Moreover, students in today’s classrooms are increasingly diverse, in terms of both individual (e.g., ability, interest, life experience, language) and group variance (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation).  One of the biggest challenges facing teachers is meeting the learning needs of all students in the regular classroom.

This has implications for science teacher educators who have an important role to play in helping teacher candidates establish a strong foundation for meeting the needs of a wide range of learners. This role includes helping teacher candidates develop the necessary knowledge, skills and dispositions to adopt inclusive practices for meeting the needs of all learners in the regular classroom. The knowledge base for teacher educators has only recently become of interest to researchers. One important avenue for improving inclusive science education is through studying the work of science teacher educators, who play a key role in preparing future teachers. More discourse and research is needed to examine the work of science teacher educators and how inclusive principles and practices are embedded in their work.

In this exploratory session, participants will have the opportunity to share their perspectives as it relates to inclusion and initial science teacher education. The specific objectives of the session are to engage participants in discourse and reflection by: a) communicating their views about the nature of inclusion, b) examining approaches that are being used or could be used in their initial teacher education programs to enable science teacher candidates to become inclusive educators, c) sharing the inclusive pedagogical approaches and practices they are adopting in science education methodology courses, and d) identifying affordances and tensions in practice that influence how they model inclusive practices in science education.

Paper #13003: Not a Crapshoot: Winning Strategies for Collaborative Science Teacher Education, Research, and Practice in “Failing Schools”

Principal Author: Merrie Koester, University of SC Center for Science Education
Co-Authors: Jennifer Albert, Citadel STEM Center for Excellence; Meta Van Sickle, College of Charleston


The word “volatile” is often used to describe a situation or state of being that is likely to change rapidly and unpredictably—especially for the worse.  The word “vulnerable” denotes a condition that makes one or more individuals more susceptible to—likely to be harmed by—some kind of hazard or disaster. 


Three science teacher educators from different higher education institutions have formed a Practice-Embedded-Educational-Research (PEER) partnership (Snow, 2015) to explore ways of decreasing both volatility and vulnerability  in so-called “failing schools”—more often than not, so branded because of low student test scores.  In her 2017 keynote address to the Association of Science Teacher Educators, Diane Ravitch noted that “those who have will have the highest test scores.  Those who have not will have the lowest test scores”.  


The idea of forming this PEER Partnership emerged during the 2016 ASTE conference in Reno, Nevada—a destination known for attracting gamblers.  Over free conference coffee,  Koester shared with Van Sickle and Albert that she had begun an un-funded action research “experiment” to determine whether a STEAM approach might result in improved flood resilience of middle school students in a low-income school that flooded during ever higher tides and extreme weather events—both attributed to global warming and sea level rise.   Fully seventy per cent of the students were reading below grade level and digital resources were scarce.  Koester knew that both Van Sickle and Albert were not afraid to take risks—to develop innovations that could result in Big Payoffs, even if they had a high chance of failure. 

We will EXPLORE ways in which science teacher educators can artfully create winning combinations of science education strategies (load the dice) so as to improve and sustain  the long term expected payback percentages (improved teaching and learning outcomes) in “failing schools”.   Teachers in “failing schools” are risk-takers—wagers of time, talent, and other resources, who dare to fail so that they might one day actually succeed.

Paper #10036: Improving Upper Elementary Students’ Nature of Engineering Views with an Engineering Design Experience

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


This study examined the influence of an engineering design experience on elementary students’ nature of engineering (NOE) views across eight NOE aspects including views of engineering, demarcation, engineering design process, tentative, creative, subjective, socio-cultural and social NOE aspects. Participants were six elementary students (grades 3-5) from different schools in the southwestern United States. An open-ended NOE questionnaire and individual interviews were used to examine students’ NOE views before and after the intervention involving explicit, reflective NOE instruction and soda can crusher design experience. The results showed that elementary students improved their NOE views after the intervention. The study suggested that engineering design experience supported with explicit reflective NOE instruction could help elementary students to improve their views regarding abstract NOE aspects.

Keywords: nature of engineering, engineering design, elementary students

Paper #10035: Supporting Secondary Students’ Decision-Making during Engineering Design Learning

Principal Author: Helen Meyer, University of Cincinnati


This presentation shares the results of a qualitative study of four teachers who participated in a two year professional development program to integrate engineering design units into their science and mathematics classrooms. This study is specifically focused on how the teachers viewed the role of student decision-making as part of their design instruction. The Engineering design learning environment assumes students will be active decision-makers in the process of defining, designing, testing and revising a design product. Yet, it was unclear how intentional the teachers were in working with their students to be good decision-makers. The participants in this study included two science teachers and two mathematics teachers. One science and one mathematics teacher taught in a middle school and the others in high schools. The research focused on the kinds of decisions each of these teacher expected their students to make during an engineering design challenge and what support the teachers gave to the students to make decisions.

The data for the study includes classroom observations, interviews, surveys, lesson plans and student and teacher artifacts. The data was analyzed qualitatively using codes derived from the literature on decision making in general and during socioscientific issues instruction. The research found that three of the four teachers did not initially consider student decision-making prior to the instruction and this led to frustration with their students’ success in completing and learning from the engineering challenge. In the second year of implementation, the teachers were more intentional with providing the students with support materials for them to document and explain their decisions. The study is important, since if we want teachers to use open-ended design challenges for students to learn from, we need to prepare the teachers with information about the quantity of decisions students are being asked to make, and which decisions students will need support with to be successful.

Paper #10034: Teaching Secondary Students’ Aspects of NOS Using Multiple SSI Contexts

Principal Author: Dawnne M. LePretre, Illinois Institute of Technology
Co-Authors: Norman G.. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology; Judith S.. Lederman, Illinois Institute of Technology


This study investigated the change in students’ understanding on aspects of NOS within SSI contexts.  Participants were ninth and tenth grade students in a public school in the Midwest. Detailed lessons plans were structured around controversial scientific issues to teach NOS in an explicit and reflective way. Across four sessions, students worked in small teams to discuss different perspectives of a SSI.  Each lesson included an introduction and closure to the issue via a yes/no question, a perspective to consider/argue, a class discussion, and individual reflection on NOS aspects. Gathered for analysis and coding were lesson plans, teacher made handouts, classroom observations, student artifacts and results from the VNOS D+ survey.  The changes noted most in students’ understanding were from naïve to mixed on the aspects of tentativeness, creativity, and observation versus inference, the gains were interpreted to be statistically significant at an alpha of <0.05.   The results are discussed in light of the relationship between students’ understanding of aspects of NOS and the use of explicit-reflective strategies in the classroom. 



Paper #10033: Guided Online Group Discussion Enhances Student Critical Thinking Skills

Principal Author: Anu Gokhale, Illinois State University


A teacher’s objective is to provide students the cognitive strategies that enable them to think critically, make decisions, and solve problems. In order to guide student learning, teachers should be aware of the concepts that are prerequisite to the understanding of others and also of typical student misconceptions. The goal of this study was to examine the effectiveness of a pedagogical approach suitable for online learning: instructor-guided online group discussion blended into a hybrid (traditional and online) lecture-lab introductory programming course to enhance the problem-solving ability of students. A pretest posttest control group design was used; the test comprised of drill-and-practice items and critical-thinking items involving problems. The data was analyzed using the t-test groups and yielded significant results. Additionally, the study used clustering algorithms and data analytics to gain greater insights.

Paper #10032: Youth Views of Science and Engineering in a Program for Preparing Teachers to Use Educational Technology in STEM

Principal Author: Steve Adams, California State University, Long Beach
Co-Authors: Paul Burns, California State University, Long Beach; Lisa Martin-Hansen, California State University, Long Beach


As part of a graduate course for supporting K-12 teachers’ use of technology in teaching STEM subjects, teachers worked in teams to create workshops for youth at a community organization. The overall research project termed Technology and Engineering for Students and Teachers (TEST), created a space for future and teachers to use curriculum kits from the Engineering is Elementary (a project of the Museum of Science, Boston) together with technological resources including iPads, to plan and conduct workshops with four sessions of eight hours each. A mixed – methods evaluation examined perceptions of 36 youth regarding science and engineering. The youth (grades two to eight) self-identified as 47% African-American, 33% Hispanic / Latino, 3% Asian, and 17% as other / Caucasian / mixed ethnicity. After the workshops, boys and girls more strongly agreed with an engineering-related question, that they liked thinking of new and better ways of doing things, and they agreed more strongly that they knew what scientists did for their jobs. After the workshops, girls more strongly agreed they knew what engineers did for their jobs, reaching a similar level as boys, whose responses did not change significantly.  Focus group data aligned with the survey responses for most questions.  Overall, the study suggests benefits of the program to participating youth, an indicator supporting this teacher preparation model.

Paper #10031: Concept Mapping Changes in Elementary Teachers’ Content Knowledge about Energy

Principal Author: Hasan Deniz, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Co-Authors: MaryKay Orgill, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Kristoffer R. Carroll, Southern Nevada Regional Professional Development Program (SNRPDP); Erdogan Kaya, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Ezgi Yesilyurt, University of Nevada Las Vegas


We conducted a study to examine content knowledge changes about energy during a 5-day professional development program. We used concept mapping with 55 elementary teachers to assess changes in their science content knowledge. Elementary teachers created concept maps during the first four days of the professional development program as they participated in inquiry lessons designed to develop their science content knowledge about energy. A repeated measures analysis (time) based on the total concept map scores on day one, two, three, and four showed statistically significant increases in content knowledge. Content knowledge improvement as measured by concept mapping is also corroborated by a multiple-choice post-test score. Our results indicated that concept mapping is a powerful way to measure change in science content knowledge, but it should be kept in mind that scoring a concept map is a time consuming activity. The researchers who plan to use concept mapping in their research should consider the time required to score a concept map.


Paper #10030: A Comparative Case Study of Teacher-Coaches who Lead After-School STEM Clubs at Two Rural, Low Wealth Middle Schools

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


This study investigated two teacher-coach teams’ beliefs and practices using the Dimensions of Success (DoS) observation tool during after-school STEM Clubs. Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory guided analyses. Findings suggest that it was necessary for two T-Coaches who both valued a dimension (e.g., reflection, STEM content learning) and were properly prepared to ensure that the DoS dimension would be rated as acceptable. T-Coaches carried out different practices at the STEM Clubs based on their personal beliefs and values. However, the level of professional preparation, both at TPD and in pre-club meetings, were the best predictors of activities valued by teachers being carried out, and the STEM Club being rated as successful on the 12 dimensions.

Paper #10029: Preservice Teachers Learning Formative Assessment through Formative Assessment

Principal Author: Stephanie Hathcock, Oklahoma State University
Co-Authors: Toni Ivey, Oklahoma State University; Drew Gossen, drew.gossen@okstate.edu


Using “high-leverage” practices such as formative assessment are likely to lead to greater gains in student learning (Ball, et al., 2009). However, the use of formative assessment within elementary classrooms is not widespread (Hammer, et al., 2012; Morrison, 2013; Otero & Nathan, 2008), perhaps due, in part, to elementary teachers’ lack of understanding of formative assessment and/or lack of content knowledge such that they could successfully enact it (Coffey, et al., 2011). This exploratory study examines introducing and showcasing formative assessment by formatively assessing elementary preservice teachers and reflecting on the experience. We were seeking to determine (1) content gains, (2) how they viewed the process of being formatively assessed, and (3) their perceptions of the experience.

Paper #16010: Developing School-University Partnerships to Prepare Culturally Responsive Science Teachers

Principal Author: Kelsy Krise, University of Toledo
Co-Authors: Amerah Archer, University of Toledo/Toledo Public Schools; Rebecca Schneider, University of Toledo; Lisa Hooker, Toledo Public Schools


Educators often feel ill-prepared for teaching science in urban settings, specifically with high-poverty and high-minority populations. Creating a preservice education program that can support interns in becoming culturally responsive science teachers is imperative. Preparing teachers to be successful in urban environments is complex and challenging. Our work takes on the task of strengthening school-university partnerships to support ambitious science teaching in urban schools. We have designed a new facet to an existing one-year, graduate, preservice program. The added layer is guided by a theoretical framework for school-university partnerships and culturally relevant pedagogy (CRP) to strengthen our educative mentoring practices to guide our interns to teaching science ambitiously. Our collaborative project has three main goals: to further develop our partnership between the university and our local urban school district; to strengthen the curriculum to better support the growth and development of student learning through teachers’ expertise; and to engage in scholarship that will contribute to the understanding of the preparation and support of science teachers for urban schools and effective school-university partnerships. Our presentation will provide an overview of our work that uniquely takes on the challenge of preparing science teachers to teach ambitiously in urban settings. We will describe our organizing framework and discuss the program structure. Those attending this presentation will learn how to think about preparing science teachers to implement CRP. The support we provide is science-specific because we know content specialists need content specific training. To contribute to science teacher education, we have created a program that bridges the gap between the university and field-based education. The sharing of our program design will advance our thinking about ways to support the preparation of science teachers to teach ambitiously in urban settings by implementing CRP.

Paper #16009: An Introduction to Making in Two Science Methods Courses

Principal Author: Shelly R.. Rodriguez, The University of Texas, Austin
Co-Authors: Steven S.. Fletcher, St. Edwards University; Jason R.. Harron, The University of Texas, Austin


Recently, there has been growing interest in how formal education can benefit from the tools and practices of making. Making draws upon constructionism, where learning is made visible through the construction and sharing of a personally meaningful, tangible product. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has acknowledged the potential of making to foster innovation, increase student retention, and broaden participation in STEM (National Science Foundation, 2017). Despite these benefits, little has been done to prepare future science educators to implement these practices in their classrooms. The culminating maker project described in this proposal was designed to introduce preservice STEM teachers to making as an educational movement, showcase current digital technologies, and capture student reflections. The project was implemented in an introductory one-hour course in a secondary STEM teacher preparation program at a large research one university and as part of a three hour science methods course for preservice elementary teachers offered at a private university. Initial findings from a comparison of outcomes from the two setting suggest significant commonalities as well as contextual differences. This session will describe the culminating maker project in detail, explain how it was implemented in two different science teacher preparation settings, and share initial findings. Participants in this session can expect to learn more about making as an educational framework, explore maker digital tools, and gain tips for helping preservice teachers get started with making. In addition, maker project materials and handouts will be provided for those who would like to try out making in their own setting. This session should be of interest to anyone interested in maker education and its integration into formal school settings. It will offer concrete tools that can be used to support preservice teachers interested in making and provide an opportunity to share ideas and collaborate on best practices in the emerging field of maker education.

Paper #11008: A Case Study of Indian Teachers Battle to Teach Science in English

Principal Author: Vanashri Nargund-Joshi, New Jersey City University


Over two-thirds of countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe have developed policies on the use of the mother tongue for teaching science in the lower levels of their education system. In spite, the educational system of many of these countries has not responded. Because studies, analyzing the effects of using English language in teaching science at early stages with non-native English students, are scant, we remain in the dark as to how address this complex issue. This case study was conducted in a public, primary school in the urban setting of Western India to understand a role of English Language in a science classroom dynamics. Qualitative data were collected from primary science classrooms where the mother tongue (Marathi-Regional Language) is expected to be used as a medium of instruction. Mismatch between policy and practice was found in these two teachers’ science classrooms. It was also found that teachers’ believed English as “language of knowledge” and best opportunities can be presented to the students through teaching science in English. The classroom discourse between and among pupils also showed interesting findings, that is, Marathi served as a language of clarification. The implications of the findings for policy for future research directions are discussed. 

Paper #10028: A self-study of inclusive practices in initial teacher education: The professional learning of two science teacher educators

Principal Author: Karen Goodnough, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Co-Authors: Saiqa Azam, Memorial University of Newfoundland


One of the biggest challenges facing teachers is meeting the learning needs of all students in the regular classroom. Teachers need to adopt new pedagogies and classroom practices that reflect principles premised on inclusion and equity. This has implications for initial teacher education and teacher educators, those who teach prospective teachers. Science teacher educators also have a critical role to play in helping teacher candidates establish a strong foundation for meeting the needs of a wide range of learners in classrooms.

In this collaborative self-study, we examined our understanding of inclusive pedagogy and how to enhance our classroom practice in the area of inclusion. The specific research questions that guided the study are: a) What tools do we currently use to create an inclusive science education curriculum in initial teacher education? b) What tools will we adopt to become more inclusive science teacher educators? c) How do socio-cultural factors influence our ability to adopt inclusive pedagogy? and, d) How will our professional learning and practice change as a result of adopting new inclusive pedagogical approaches?

We adopted CHAT or Cultural-Historical Activity Theory as a lens to examine our work as teacher educators in relation to inclusion. In 1987, as part of CHAT, Yuri Engeström introduced the notion of an activity system, depicted as a triangle, which has become the basic unit of analysis. Classroom observations, reflections, and teacher candidate classroom artefacts became data sources to analyze our changing activity system using the triangle nodes of subject, object, tools, rules, community, and division of labour. While we felt the first iteration of the study was successful in helping us expand our knowledge of inclusivity and how to model this in our teaching, questions remained about how to effectively infuse inclusivity into our initial teacher education curriculum.

Paper #10027: Examining changes in content knowledge, curricular role identity, and science teaching self-efficacy in preservice elementary teachers enrolled in a physical science content course focused on curriculum

Principal Author: Stacy McCormack-Hootman, University of Indianapolis
Co-Authors: Meredith Park Rogers, Indiana University


Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is described as an amalgamation of subject-matter, pedagogical, and context knowledge and is a form of specialized knowledge unique to a teacher (Magnusson, Krajick, and Borko, 1999; Shulman, 1987).  This study employs Abell’s (2007) model of PCK, as an integrated domain of knowledge that draws on the other domains of subject-matter, pedagogical, and contextual knowledge. Given PCK is topic (and even grade level) specific (Abell, 2007; Gess-Newsome, 2015), science content courses can offer an opportunity for developing preservice teacher’s beginning PCK with respect to the interactions between subject-matter and PCK. 

This study focuses on how the inclusion of specific topic and grade level curricular activities can assist with developing preservice teachers knowledge of curriculum; a component of PCK that has received little attention in the literature on PCK for teaching science.  These two interventions included a curriculum analysis comparing two different elementary science curricula, and a standards reflection where students evaluated how well these curricula met state level elementary science standards. 

                Employing quantitative methods, results from this study show a decrease then increase in content knowledge over the course of the semester, an increase in curricular role identity from the preassessment to after the first intervention, and a steady increase in self-efficacy over the course of the semester.  Separating students into categories based upon their measures in these three constructs (high/low content knowledge, developed/underdeveloped curricular role identity, and high/low science teaching self-efficacy) allowed us to examine development in multiple constructs at one time.  Some category combinations are more prevalent than others and results indicate that some measures of these constructs are likely to be found together. This indicates that perhaps instructors should work to develop these constructs in combination rather than separately.        

Paper #10026: Elementary Teachers’ Learning of NGSS-Related Physical Science

Principal Author: Jerrid Kruse, Drake University
Co-Authors: Jesse Wilcox, Drake University; Lucas Menke, Drake University; Mitch Schank, Drake University; Mitch Klocke, Drake University; Jordan Holub, Drake University


The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) present new obstacles to elementary teachers when it comes to teaching science. The NGSS require teachers to have sufficient content knowledge as well as the ability to apply that knowledge effectively. However, research shows that elementary teachers have common misconceptions about science and little science background (Kind, 2014). These misconceptions and the lack of science background create a negative self-perception of their ability to teach science, leading to anxiety and a negative attitude towards teaching science (Cox & Carpenter, 1989; Tuttle, 2016). Attitudes such as these can result in teachers avoiding teaching science altogether (Harlen & Holroyd, 1997). However, research has shown that with an increase in content knowledge, confidence in teaching rose as well; although it is important to note that content knowledge isn’t the only factor that affects confidence in teaching science (Harlen & Holroyd, 1997; Murphy, Neil, & Beggs, 2007). Because of the relationship between content knowledge and confidence, we want to continue to build elementary teachers' physical science content knowledge. We developed a 10-week professional development program (which was part of a larger, year-long program) in order to teach elementary teachers physical science aligned with the NGSS performance expectations. The objective of this program was to adopt a conceptual change approach to instruction in which participants’ misconceptions about physical science are elicited and confronted through investigation with emphasis on helping participants make meaning of observations and data to develop accurate conceptions. In order to assess teachers' understanding, we had teachers take pre and post assessments based on three branches of physical science. Results from this study indicate that the program helped elementary teachers improve their physical science understanding and their ability to apply that knowledge to performance expectations.

Paper #16008: Enacting an Integrated STEAM approach in a Reggio-Emilia preschool

Principal Author: Andrew Gilbert, George Mason University
Co-Authors: Lisa Borgerding, Kent State University


This case study delves into a five-day STEAM camp at a Reggio Emilia inspired pre-school setting. The presentation will highlight arguments for the consideration of STEAM in ECE and provide clear guidance for teachers and teacher educators to carry out similar approaches. This exploratory case study highlights the findings that both teachers’ and children’s engagement with content associated with air as they took on engineering and design tasks. Two experienced teacher educators engaged with an experienced ECE teacher (supported by two pre-service teachers) to enact the STEAM approach. Lastly, we highlight the thinking of children and teachers throughout this process and depict key pedagogic considerations for teacher educators who be less familiar of working with young children including 1) Attention to each child; 2) Need for a staging area; 3) Prepared prompts and backup activities; 4) Assessment challenges and 5) Reflection and Dialog.

Paper #15003: Supporting High School Students’ Science Learning: Immersion to Argument-Based Inquiry and Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Positive Disposition

Principal Author: Yejun Bae, University of Iowa


Developing 21st century competences are closely related to students’ learning experiences of argument-based inquiry. Since argument-based inquiry focuses on students’ development of knowledge construction through critical thinking and problem-solving skills, it fosters students’ development of knowledge and skills at the same time. With a high degree of agreement on the importance of argument-based inquiry, however, there is a gap between understanding argument-based inquiry and implementing argument-based inquiry learning approaches in science classes. Previous research studies asserted that teachers need continuous support such as sharing inquiry-based lesson plans and activity ideas for successful implementation of argument-based inquiry. In this syllabus, students are more engaged in language practices such as argumentative writing and dialogical interactions based on their own decision-making rather than following a teacher’s specific instructional guide. This syllabus sharing presentation will provide valuable information to improve secondary level science learning. The presenter will share the syllabus, examples of classroom activities focusing on increasing students’ argumentative competences, and assessments of argumentative writing and dispositions.

Paper #16007: Addressing Interactions Between Science and Religion in Science Teacher Education

Principal Author: Joseph W.. Shane, Shippensburg University
Co-Authors: Lee Meadows, University of Alabama-Birmingham; Ron Hermann, Towson University; Ian Binns, University of North Carolina Charlotte; Lisa Borgerding, Kent State University; Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian Institution; David Long, Morehead State University


Science and religion are two indisputably profound and durable cultural forces that have a complex history of interaction. Although scientific and religious perspectives are often characterized as in conflict with or mutually exclusive of one another, the actual relationships extend beyond simple dichotomies. The roundtable session will assist our fellow science teacher educators in preparing teachers to responsibly address science topics that frequently have religious implications for students and their communities. These topics include biological evolution, geochronology, and climate change. We will briefly discuss why science-religion relationships are part of our collective professional responsibilities vis-à-vis the history and nature of science, inquiry-based instruction, and state and national science education standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards. Next, we will separate into smaller groups to present and discuss materials for (a) legal issues related to science and religion in public school classrooms, (b) strategies for specific grade levels as well as informal science education settings such as museums, and (c) specific activities that can be done as part of science teacher preparation programs. Many of the points discussed are contained in a forthcoming book published by NSTA Press. Although we limit the session to circumstances in the United States, we recognize that these issues extend internationally and we encourage ASTE members from other countries to attend the session to share their perspectives. Seven presenters representing a wide range of science education research and practice will facilitate this roundtable discussion.

Paper #10025: Exploring Engineering Self-Efficacy and Practice: Supporting Science Teachers Through Professional Development

Principal Author: Emily A. Dare, Florida International University
Co-Authors: Joshua A. Ellis, Florida International University; John L. Irwin, Michigan Technological University


As states adopt NGSS and other engineering-inclusive standards, there is an increasing need to provide PD that support teachers’ learning of engineering. Most K-12 science teachers lack knowledge of and experience with engineering and engineering education, and the integration of engineering into science standards requires a shift in current teaching practice (Banilower et al., 2013; Cunningham & Carlsen, 2014; Watkins, 2018). These PD experiences must focus on changes in teaching practice in addition to supporting teachers’ understanding of new standards if teachers are to successfully bring engineering into their classrooms.

This study examined the impact of an 18-month, engineering-focused PD experience that engaged 15 secondary science teachers in learning how to integrate engineering into their physical science and physics classrooms. We explored changes in teaching engineering self-efficacy (Yoon et al., 2013) and classroom practices through surveys, interviews and coaching conversations, and classroom observations. Our findings show that teachers became more confident in their ability to implement engineering practices and engage students in engineering activities. We also identified the strategies that teachers most frequently used when integrating engineering, including teamwork, the engineering design process, and collecting and analyzing data. Most teachers implemented activities that either came directly from the PD or were modifications of them, suggesting teachers’ preference to adopt “pre-made” curriculum materials over generating their own.

The work presented here is valuable to teachers and/or teacher educators who want to know more about integrating engineering into science classrooms. This work provides an example of how one PD ignited excited and interest for teachers new to NGSS, which they shared with their students. Understanding the needs of these teachers and what they bring to their classrooms will also further help teacher educators know what to expect when introducing engineering integration to K-12 science educators.

Paper #16006: Developing Emergent Teacher Education Scholars

Principal Author: Felicia M. Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University
Co-Authors: Gregory Benoit, Teachers College, Columbia University; Ava Javid, Teachers College, Columbia University; Dora Kastel, Teachers College, Columbia University; Kristen Larson, Teachers College, Columbia University; Shamari Reid, Teachers College, Columbia University; Alexis Riley, Teachers College, Columbia University; Shellina Shidnia, Teachers College, Columbia University


In a modified-poster session focused on the development of emerging academic scholars, graduate students present work in this slightly tailored roundtable symposium. These early scholars are from one of two courses, 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.  Some students were completing dissertation work while in the qualitative course. The early scholars in this session have varied research interests and come from three different academic programs of study across the institution.

For attendees to the session, you will have an opportunity to visit two roundtables (20 minutes each) and interact with the early scholars about their work. The topics cover broad areas of curriculum, pedagogy, teacher education, and STEM education. The specific topics of research include– popular culture and mathematical identity; technology-based tools for teacher learning; PD providers’ learning; cisgender BlackQueer men agency; institutionalized views of race and racism in science teacher education; and perceptions of mathematics in popular culture.

In the closing, the organizer will present an outline of the model used in developing emerging academic scholars in the two courses. Faculty may use these models, practical tips, and strategies to support and facilitate the development of a community of young scholars at their institutions. Overall, the session offers a new format and approach through an interactive roundtable/poster session for doctoral students and a syllabus share for faculty for deliberate attention to doctoral student preparation as scholars. The session merges the traditional paper format within a slightly tailored roundtable symposium and ends with a modified-syllabus share.

Paper #15002: STEM Methods I and II

Principal Author: Stephanie Fanselow, University of Northern Colorado


This sequence of two STEM Methods courses was designed to prepare both secondary science and math teacher candidates to teach all areas of science and math with a focus on integrated STEM (including engineering design principles, technology utilization, and computer science instruction). Both courses include co-requisite field experiences.

The first course, STEM Methods I, introduces methods of teaching secondary school mathematics and science while incorporating elements of computer science, engineering, and technology. In addition, the course aims to develop future STEM professionals who are reflective practitioners. The course objectives are to assist teacher candidates in: developing as STEM educational professionals, developing as reflective practitioners, participating in the establishment of equitable and efficient classrooms, and planning courses, units, and individual lessons. The co-requisite field experience will be the second for the majority of students and will involve at least 30 hours of active involvement in a secondary classroom.

The second course, STEM Methods II, refines methods of teaching secondary school mathematics and science while incorporating elements of computer science, engineering, and technology. This course also aims to develop future STEM professionals who are reflective practitioners. The course objectives are to assist teacher candidates in: developing as STEM educational professionals; developing as reflective practitioners; utilizing students’ social, economic, and cultural diversity in planning, implementing, and assessing research-based instructional practice; participating in data-driven instruction; and planning a unit of instruction. The co-requisite field experience will be the final field experience prior to student teaching and involve at least 100 hours of active involvement in a secondary classroom including taking the lead on at least six co-planned lessons.

Paper #13002: Supporting Preservice Teachers in Designing NGSS-aligned Unit Plans Using the Five Tools and Processes

Principal Author: Julie Contino, American Museum of Natural History
Co-Authors: David Randle, American Museum of Natural History


The Next Generation Science Standards [NGSS] suggest a new vision for science teaching and learning in states that have adopted or been influenced by the new standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). In response to this, faculty in the American Museum of Natural History’s Master of Arts in Teaching [AMNH MAT] Program adapted a curriculum designed for inservice teachers in order to support preservice teachers in planning units consistent with NGSS goals. Through this session, attendees will explore ideas about preparing preservice teachers for NGSS, engage with the “Five Tools and Processes for Translating the NGSS into Instruction and Classroom Assessment,” learn how this process was adapted for use with preservice science teachers, and consider how they might incorporate planning for NGSS in their own teacher preparation programs.

Paper #10024: Exploring the Effects of a Historical Narrative Approach to Teach Nature of Science within a Flipped Classroom on Student Motivation

Principal Author: Allison Witucki, Western Michigan University
Co-Authors: David W. Rudge, Western Michigan University


National education reform documents have cited the importance of understanding the nature of science (NOS) for decades, as it is essential for scientific literacy and student ability to engage in important decision-making issues within our society. Moreover, students must also be motivated to learn science. One way to potentially foster deeper understandings of NOS and increase student motivation is through the use of historical narratives. Therefore, this study examines how the use of historical narratives to teach NOS, in the context of a flipped classroom format, affects student motivation to learn. This study was informed by the Social Cognitive Theory. The 145 participants of this study were undergrads in a nonmajor’s biology course. This study utilized a mixed methodology employing both quantitative and qualitative components with a greater emphasis on the qualitative aspect. The study was conducted over two semesters with the control (lacking narratives) and experiment (containing narratives) group in separate semesters. Both groups participated in both the Science Motivation Questionnaire II (SMQ-II) survey and semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding of how the students’ motivation to learn science was affected by the course. The interview data was coded to identify themes of how both the flipped classroom style and the historical narratives affected motivation. The SMQ-II was analyzed using paired and independent t tests to determine significant differences amongst and between the control and experimental groups. Based on the findings, the use of historical narratives created an authentic learning environment. Students who had a more positive experience with the flipped class were more receptive to the stories and had more sophisticated NOS understandings than students who had a negative experience with the flipped format. This research is significant because it may inform science educators on how contextualized examples and the format of the flipped class can influence student motivation to learn.

Paper #11007: Mindfulness-Based Science Teacher Education Curriculum Design

Principal Author: Duygu Umutlu, University of Georgia
Co-Authors: Deborah J.. Tippins, University of Georgia


Mindfulness is conceptualized as conscious in-situ awareness of the instance that is taking place (Hanh, 1976; Thera, 1972). Clear awareness of what is happening, focused attention on contextual details, and flexibility are listed as characteristics of mindfulness (Brown et al., 2007). Being mindful plays an important role in teaching since it helps to reduce stress that teachers experience and bring inner peace to them. Teachers’ emotional states influence students’ mood. Thus, making teachers happy through mindfulness-based practices means that their students would also be happy. Through mindfulness, teachers may also be encouraged to create supportive classroom environments that reinforce students’ learning (Jennings & Greenberg, 2009).

            To bring up mindful teachers, we should rethink and redesign teacher education programs. When it comes to science teacher education, we can see that few studies examine the relation between emotions and quality in university science teacher education programs (Bellocchi et al.,2014). We agree with Singh and Jackman (2016), who claim that learners should not participate in interventions, but be mindfully engaged in them in order to learn mindfulness. With this in mind, we have adapted the CREATE framework to science teacher education in order to foster the development of mindfulness in prospective teachers. The CREATE framework aims to integrate mindfulness into science teacher education classes. In this way, science teacher candidates can become engaged in classes and activities mindfully during their education at colleges and can learn to be mindful.

Paper #10023: Teachers as Curriculum Designers: Understanding STEM Pedagogical Design Capacity

Principal Author: Charlene L. Ellingson, University of Minnesota


The purpose of this study is to understand how two protocol interventions were used to facilitate examination of student work and curriculum redesign to support teacher design teams’ to grow their understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum. Developing a more sophisticated understanding of STEM curriculum is framed around the construct of Pedagogical Design Capacity (PDC). PDC refers to a teachers’ ability to recognize and draw upon personal and curricular resources for curriculum use (Brown, 2002, 2009). This study builds upon current understanding by applying PDC to a context that has not been researched up to this point – to teacher design teams, rather than individual teachers, and to teacher-designed STEM curriculum, rather than externally prepared curriculum.


PDC focuses on the process of curriculum use, rather than outcomes such as change in teacher practice or student learning (Brown, 2002, 2009). As such, the study is premised on the teacher-curriculum relationship, and how -- how the design and use of curriculum is influenced by the curricular resources and, at the same time, how the materials “change, move, perturb, and inform” (Bruner, 1977, p. vx) to advance teachers’ knowledge.

Paper #16005: Instructional Rounds in Preservice Teacher Education

Principal Author: Deborah L. Hanuscin, Western Washington University


Despite the numerous challenges and pitfalls of the typical early field placement structure—placing students in a single classroom to observe and participate—this structure has remained relatively unchanged since the past millennia. Drawing on the increasingly popular professional learning activity known as ‘rounds’, instructional rounds in preservice teacher education offer an alternative structure with new learning affordances through examining dimensions of contrast across multiple classrooms. Consistent with practice-based teacher education, this means of representing and decomposing practice allows preservice teachers to develop the skills and dispositions to learn from practice, and to identify implications for their own teaching.

This roundtable session will present an initial pilot model for implementing instructional rounds and provide evidence of preservice teachers’ developing capacity to (1) notice specific dimensions of teaching and learning; (2) identify problems of practice; (3) identify implications for their own instruction, and (4) make connections to learning in the methods course. Four particular tensions emerged that (many) prospective teachers were able to resolve over the course of time:

  • Making judgments about versus observing teachers’ practice;
  • Looking for problems versus problematizing practice;
  • Focusing on general versus science-specific instructional practices; and
  • How to ‘fix’ the situation observed versus how to attend to the problem in their own practice.

The session will highlight individual student cases and trajectories, as well as how the instructor responded to each of these tensions in my teaching as they emerged.

Paper #10022: Engaging Students in Reasoning about Socioscientific Issues: Are STEM Teachers Prepared?

Principal Author: David C.. Owens, Georgia Southern University
Co-Authors: Benjamin C.. Herman, University of Missouri; Robert T.. Oertli, University of Missouri; Troy D.. Sadler, University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Socioscientific issues (SSI; e.g., climate change) are rooted in science, but a myriad of non-scientific (e.g., cultural, political, economic, etc.) factors must be addressed if those issues are to be successfully resolved. Teachers often report being ill-equipped to address these non-scientific factors, which may be due to struggles with employing socioscientific reasoning (SSR). The purpose of this study was to better understand how secondary mathematics and science teachers exhibit SSR when engaging in a regionally relevant environmental SSI. Participants were 21 science and mathematics teachers engaged in a professional development focused on STEM literacy practices in the context of a regionally relevant SSI. The teachers read a narrative concerning the SSI and responded to 7 open-ended items designed to gauge their SSR. Responses were scored using a 5-point rubric. Teachers generally exhibited sophisticated perspective-taking regarding the different stakeholders involved in the SSI, but struggled to recognize the need for ongoing inquiry regarding the SSI or the affordances of science towards its resolution. Additionally, science teachers tended to exhibit more sophisticated SSR than did mathematics teachers based on frequency distributions and quantitative analysis, with small to modestly large effects. These findings suggest that teacher professional development should not only engage STEM teachers in understanding and negotiating environmental SSI with individuals from different STEM disciplines, it should also include the collaborative planning of integrated curricula in the context of SSI and reasoning about non-scientific considerations necessary for resolution. This presentation will inform those members of ASTE involved in the education and development of science and STEM teachers. Herein, we share the results of the study, including the prompts and scoring rubrics with exemplars, which can be used to prepare teachers to teach about contentious environmental SSI and enable them to more effectively instruct and evaluate their students when doing so.

Paper #10021: Teen and Adult STEM Identification in Informal STEM Programming

Principal Author: Laura S.. Rodriguez, University of Connecticut
Co-Authors: Anita Mozillo, University of Connecticut; John C. Volin, University of Connecticut; Todd Campbell, University of Connecticut


This study is part of an NSF-funded informal STEM program that aims to support the development and maintenance of disciplinary STEM identities, while informing community land-use decisions by facilitating intergenerational partnerships focused on learning geospatial technologies and conservation science to develop and implement community projects. As part of this study we endeavored to develop a method to quantify a person’s STEM identity through the construction of a conservation science and technology identity (CSTI) survey instrument. The survey incorporates five identity constructs: competence, performance, external recognition, self-recognition and ways of seeing and being in both science and technology. CSTI was used to evaluate the historical STEM identity of participants before participation in a workshop on geospatial technologies and conservation science in community projects and to determine the impact of the workshop on science and technology competences and ways of seeing and being. This work is needed due to: (1) the importance of the development and maintenance of a STEM identity for persistence in engaging in science-related work, (2) the lack of reliable, quantitative measures supported by research on the constructs of identity and (3) the need for development of facility with disciplinary concepts and technological tools that can be used by community land boards and conservation groups in their land-use decision making. Those attending this program will gain insight into the development of this promising survey for characterizing a person’s identification with science and technology and its implementation in the context of an intergenerational informal STEM program.

Paper #10020: Research Practice Partnerships and Design-Based Research: Supporting Coherent Pre-Service and In-Service Science Teacher Professional Learning

Principal Author: Todd Campbell, University of Connecticut
Co-Authors: Thomas J. McKenna, Boston University; Xavier Fazio, Brock University


This research investigates the assumptions underlying the work of a research practice partnership (RPP) made up of university science teacher educators and mentoring science teachers. With increased attention to what have been described as significant shifts proposed in science teaching and learning connected to recent standards documents in the U.S., increased attention and possibilities exist for collaborative work with inservice mentoring teachers to not only focus on professional learning connected to these standards documents, but to do so in ways that can increase the coherence between science teacher education programs and the local schools in which preservice science teachers find themselves navigating as they learn to teach. Drawing on the design-based research paradigm connected to conjecture mapping, this current research articulated and tested, through qualitative methods, the design conjectures underlying mentor teachers’ experience within professional learning as part of the RPP. In the end, design conjectures that supported teachers to take on ‘learner hat’ experiences in early stages of the RPP followed by engagement in curriculum co-design and implementation, supported mentor teachers in beginning to reconceptualize visions of their teaching and learning, while also appropriating and tuning high-leverage tools to support a focus on student ideas in science classrooms. Finally, issues related to the complexity of teacher education programs were identified for needed increased attention into the future. 

Paper #16004: Designing an Instrument to Measure Student Knowledge, Values, and Personal Experiences Associated with a Socioscientific Issue

Principal Author: Heidi D. Cian, Clemson University


Students enter their science classrooms with a wealth of background about the topics they encounter, yet is is often difficult for teachers to measure and use this resource. The consequence is that students fail to see the relevance of the material to their own lives. Especially when dealing with complex and controversial issues, students know about the topics but teachers may not be comfortable discussing student experiences. In order to provide a tool that can help teachers make use of the backgrounds of their students, I developed an instrument that can be used to asses background charactersitics of students–their knowledge, values, and personal experience–as it relates to a specific instructional topic. This work is specifically dveloped for use with socioscientific issues, thoughother uses are likely to exist. In the presentation, I will discuss the need for the instrument, how it was developed, and potential uses.

Paper #10019: Teachers’ Content Knowledge, Beliefs, and Practice after a Project-based Professional Development Program with Ultrasound Scanning

Principal Author: Christine R. Lotter, University of South Carolina
Co-Authors: Nathan Carnes, University of South Carolina; Jeff Marshall, Clemson University


This research study investigated 20 middle and high school teachers’ use of project-based learning curriculum after engaging in a 115 hour professional development program that was developed collaboratively with medical school and education faculty. The PBL unit was centered on the case of Marcus (pseudonym), a high school football player, who collapsed suddenly during football practice.  The teachers engaged in scientific investigations, including ultrasound investigations of standard patients’ internal anatomy, and research into various inherited cardiovascular diseases to determine a final diagnosis for Marcus. The teachers then adapted this case study to fit their own students’ needs and taught their units to their students during the following year. Through pre and post-program interviews, classroom observations, and content assessments our results show that the teachers improved their content knowledge and quality of inquiry-based instruction over the program.  The teachers also moved their instructional beliefs to align with more reform-based beliefs about student learning and teaching. Our analysis of the teachers’ interview data provides insights into the elements of PBL instruction that teachers struggle with implementing. These findings can help improve professional development targeting the integration of science practices and content as in the NGSS (NGSS Lead States, 2013).

Paper #11006: Examining Variations in Elementary Teachers’ Content Knowledge for Teaching about Matter and Its Interactions

Principal Author: Jamie N. Mikeska, Educational Testing Service
Co-Authors: Hui Jin, ETS; Debra Brockway, ETS; Joe Ciofalo, ETS; Suzanne Ritter, Princeton Charter School


In order to enact high quality science instruction, science teachers must have access to the full range of content knowledge necessary to engage successfully in critical science teaching practices, which includes both knowledge of the subject matter itself and specialized knowledge involved in teaching the subject matter. This specialized knowledge includes professional knowledge that science teachers use as they engage in a wide range of teaching practices, such as eliciting and using students’ ideas about science, engaging students in scientific investigations, and connecting science concepts to phenomena and applications. Despite the importance of this specialized knowledge for teaching science, there are no empirically tested models documenting how science teachers develop their content knowledge for teaching (CKT) or how their CKT varies within particular science content areas. This gap in the empirical research base requires researchers, teacher educators, and professional developers to hypothesize about commonalities and variations in teachers’ CKT within and across different science content areas. In this presentation, we share findings from a study examining the patterns and variations in the CKT that elementary science teachers access and use to engage K-5 students in learning about matter and its interactions. In particular, we hone in on the CKT that elementary science teachers use to develop students’ understanding in this content area when they engage in two critical teaching practices: (1) elicit and interpret students’ ideas and (2) select, critique, and generate instructional strategies. Findings highlight critical components of these elementary teachers’ CKT about matter and its interactions and show how their CKT varies across teachers, topics, and teaching practices.

Paper #10018: Navigating Integrated STEM in Small Group Activities: A Gender-Focused Case Study

Principal Author: Jeanna R.. Wieselmann, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Emily A.. Dare, Florida International University; Elizabeth A.. Ring-Whalen, St. Catherine University; Gillian H.. Roehrig, University of Minnesota


Small group activities central to integrated STEM instruction. With women underrepresented in STEM fields and the middle school years key for maintaining STEM interest, however, it is important to understand whether this strategy supports STEM participation of young girls. To better understand how gender is related to student participation, this multiple embedded case study explored the experiences of fifth-graders as they participated in the small group portions of an integrated STEM unit. Two girls and two boys worked together to explore science content and complete an engineering design challenge related to electromagnetism. Video and audio of students’ small group interactions were analyzed using an observation protocol. 

Findings suggest that boys and girls participate in small group STEM activities in different ways, adopting distinct group roles. The boys often initiated activity and contributed ideas that were adopted by the group, whereas the girls were more likely to observe and assist. Although both genders were equally likely to manipulate the materials, many of the girls’ manipulations were in support of what the boys were doing rather than related to taking the lead in the activity. 

This study also revealed important differences in student engagement between science and engineering lessons. Students possessed rigid views of how science is done and rarely negotiated shared meaning of science content. Interestingly, their rigid approach to science promoted equitable small group interactions, with all of the students sharing responsibilities in the science-focused lessons. 

Students suggested more ideas during the engineering-focused lessons, but they also experienced more frustration and disagreements. The boys became more controlling and less concerned with their female teammates’ participation. The open-ended nature of engineering activities resulted in struggles to negotiate participation. This study suggests that students may experience epistemological conflicts when science and engineering are integrated and require support in these activities.

Paper #10017: Elementary pre-service teachers preparation of science vocabulary and instruction strategies

Principal Author: Sarah J. Carrier, North Carolina State University
Co-Authors: Jill F.. Grifenhagen, North Carolina State University; Becca Corsi-Kimble, North Carolina State University


The academic language of science includes science content words and words that describe the practices of scientists. Teachers contribute to students’ science learning by strategically supporting young students’ language development embedded in science activities and content instruction. The present study examined the role of language development and language instruction strategies with pre-service teachers enrolled in an elementary science methods course. Two course sections served as the treatment and comparison groups, each with special focus instruction added to the course. Over the course of a semester, the treatment group focused on language development strategies while the comparison group explored learning in informal settings. This mixed methods study includes quantitative data of the pre-service teachers’ personal science vocabulary development during their science methods course and science vocabulary instruction strategies in science lessons taught to peers. We present qualitative interview data from a selection of students from both groups to further examine their memories of science vocabulary instruction, their strategies for learning science vocabulary, and their interactions with science concepts and the language of science over the semester. While pre-service teachers in both treatment and comparison groups showed significant science vocabulary knowledge growth over the course of the semester, there were inconsistencies in both groups regarding their applications of science vocabulary and vocabulary instruction strategies. Interviews reveal the challenge of attempting to disrupt years of memorization strategies for learning science vocabulary. We conclude by providing recommendations for science teacher educators.

Paper #10015: Investigation of a blended professional development program for K-12 science teachers: challenges and opportunities

Principal Author: Xavier Fazio, Brock University
Co-Authors: Kamini Jaipal-Jamani, Brock University


For science education to improve the pedagogical knowledge and skills of K-12 science teachers, it has become popular to use a 21st century approach that uses a blended (in-person and face-to-face) learning design. In this presentation we report findings from a two-year (2015-2017) mixed-methods study of (n = 206) K-12 science teachers participating in a blended-learning professional development program (PDP). The aim of this PDP was to support K-12 teachers in developing and implementing innovative science teaching practices (i.e. scientific inquiry, technology-enhanced and critical thinking) in their classrooms. The PDP had three planned elements: face-to-face presentations and workshops, collaboration in an online learning platform, and knowledge mobilization through sharing of teacher-developed classroom resources. Data sources included: field note and workshop surveys, pre/post surveys, online data, curriculum resources developed by science teachers, and interviews with the participants. Based on our mixed-methods concurrent analysis of outcomes, minor changes in teachers’ views (knowledge and beliefs) with respect to inquiry-based and technology-enhanced were documented in surveys and interviews with elementary teachers (K-8). Significant changes were not observed with secondary teachers. With respect to changes in science teaching practices, the results for elementary and secondary teachers followed from their views on innovative science teaching practices. In our presentation, we outline specific recommendations that support design features for future implementation of professional learning for educators that sustain engagement in a blended-learning environment. This includes attending to design elements with respect to teacher recruitment, mentoring, and accountability. As well, acknowledging the importance of in-person active learning experiences. Our study supports future professional development providers and contributes to the research call regarding professional learning in a blended-learning environment.

Paper #10014: Watershed stories: How an elementary school is re-energizing their environmental education focus with ArcGIS StoryMaps

Principal Author: Jennifer Kreps. Frisch, University of Minnesota Duluth
Co-Authors: Jonee Kulman. Brigham, University of Minnesota


Environmental education is an effective interdisciplinary umbrella under which elementary school teachers can teach: students can use environmental topics, issues, and methods to enhance skills in math, reading, writing, social studies, art, and music as well as science. We describe the journey of the teachers and students in one elementary school that had a strong environmental education and community-based focus in the 1990’s, and then lost that focus over time as other changes to the school, community, and curricula took place. We are using portraiture methodology to illustrate the journey of the school and community members toward reinvigorating the environmental education emphasis, while using a NOAA B-WET grant to support teachers in finding ways to use resources they have (e.g., five-acre school forest, school pond, worm composting shed) as well as some new tools (ArcGIS StoryMaps, Earth Systems Journey), to reframe their curricula with a renewed focus on Environmental Education. We will share our professional development design and examples of StoryMaps constructed by teachers and students.

Paper #10013: Utilizing Video to Support Planning, Enacting, and Analyzing Teaching in Pre-service Science Teacher Education

Principal Author: Tara Barnhart, Chapman University


The purpose of this session is to explain how one teacher education program utilizes video to address challenges of planning inquiry-based instruction, enacting that instruction, and analyzing instruction. Science education standards advocate for a more student-centered, inquiry approach to instruction yet few U.S. classroom exist as models for this type of instruction for preservice and early service teachers. This course design takes into account research on science education, teacher education, and teacher reflection around artifacts of teaching to provide support for new teachers to begin to meet the demands of a student-centered inquiry-approach. Teacher candidates engage in multiple cycles of designing, implementing, analyzing, and reflecting on instruction using video annotation software. Results indicate some shifts to more student-centered instruction and attempts by teacher candidates to navigate resistance in their field sites to more open inquiry approaches. 

Paper #10012: Changing Stereotypes: Lab Coats and Science Self-Concept

Principal Author: Megan Ennes, NC State University
Co-Authors: M. Gail Jones, NC State University; Tammy Lee, East Carolina University; Sarah Carrier, NC State University; Lauren Madden, The College of New Jersey; Emily Cayton, Campbell University; Katherine Chesnutt, NC State University; Pamela Huff, NC State University


There is a call to increase the number of youth choosing to major in STEM fields in order to meet future demands. One aspect that influences an individual’s STEM career aspirations is their science self-concept. This study examined the influence of lab coats on the science self-concept of fifth grade students in a rural, south eastern state. To test the research questions, five teachers were chosen who taught at least two science classes. One class was randomly selected to wear lab coats and the other wore their regular clothing. Nothing else was changed between the classes. Youth were interviewed pre and post the intervention. The study found that the lab coats increased the number of students who saw themselves as scientists after the intervention. For most of the students who did not express an increase in science self-concept, the reason they gave was that they had previously held high science self-concept. Youth in many communities have limited access to science role models and lab coats may be an effective tool to change the way more students in a variety of settings see themselves in relation to science and scientists: creating an enhanced sense of relatedness to science and future STEM careers.

Paper #10010: Focusing on the Formative Assessment Skills of PCK: How does Science Compare with Other Licensure Areas in State-Mandated Performance Assessments

Principal Author: Julie S.. Kalnin, University of Portland
Co-Authors: Patricia D. Morrell, University of Queensland; Richard Christen, University of Portland; Peter Thacker, University of Portland


This paper compares two mandated teacher performance assessments to examine how the design of each assessment impacted formative assessment skills and interacted with secondary teacher candidates’ subject area specialization to shape their formative practices during student teaching. The first mandate is a ten-lesson unit of instruction called a work sample.  The second mandated assessment is edTPA.  The content areas examined were:  science, mathematics, social studies, and language arts. 

Two theoretical perspectives inform this study. The first deals explicitly with implementing formative assessment. Black and Wiliam’s (2009) model articulates three sets of contingent decision-making dimensions: where the learner is going, where the learner is right now, and how to get there. The second theoretical perspective that informs the study design is the concept of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) (Shulman, 1986) because one of the state-mandated performance assessments is a generic work sample and the other is the subject- specific edTPA.  

A stratified sample of completed performance assessments from secondary candidates in both an undergraduate and an MAT program structure was established. In all, 20 goal descriptions and lesson and summary reflections from the work sample and 20 portions of the edTPA Portfolios (specifically, Task 1 Prompt 1, Task 2 Prompt 5 and Task 3 Prompts 1, 2, 4) were analyzed (ten each from each of the four content areas for both assessment tasks, for a total of 40 samples).

The data illustrate that each mandated performance assessment approach is instructive but cultivate different elements relative to the key practice of formative assessment. The data suggest that focusing too intently on preparing students for edTPA may constrain our candidates’ abilities to integrate formative assessment fully into their instructional repertoire. The data also illustrate that PCK is in play with assessment skills.  This has implications for programs that include one generic assessment course rather than content-specific course offerings.

Paper #10009: Culturally Relevant Science: A Multiple Case-Study on the Beliefs, Experiences and Practices of Pre-Service Teachers in Racially and Ethnically Diverse Classrooms

Principal Author: Suzanna Roman, Georgia State University
Co-Authors: Renee' Suzanne. Schwartz, Georgia State University


This multiple case-study explored the beliefs, experiences and practices of pre-service teachers in racially and ethnically diverse science classrooms. Recent demographic changes across the nation justify the need to reexamine teacher preparation in this area (NCES, 2015).  Students from underrepresented minorities do not perform as well as their counterparts in standardized assessments (Morgan et al., 2016). This gap is observed in all subjects and across different grade levels, including science. Minority students are also less likely to pursue careers in the STEM fields, if they choose to further their education after graduation (Heriot, 2010). Several studies have investigated the use of Culturally Responsive (Gay, 2002) and Relevant Practices (Ladson-Billings, 1996) to promote academic success. However, very few have explored how these ideas are implemented in science classrooms and at the high school level. The literature on teacher preparation also suggests that an exploration of beliefs may help us understand how these are related to teaching practices. This study followed a cohort of seven graduate students with degrees in different science disciplines, throughout their teacher preparation program (one year). The following research questions were part of this study:

1) What beliefs do pre-service science teachers have about students from diverse racial and ethnical backgrounds and how they learn science? How do these beliefs change, if at all, during the teacher preparation program?

2) How do pre-service science teachers conceptualize the ideas of culturally relevant pedagogy? How do these conceptualizations change during the teacher preparation program?

3) How do pre-service science teachers' conceptualizations of culturally relevant pedagogy manifest throughout their student-teaching experience?

Data was collected in the form of pre and post-interviews, course artifacts and field observations throughout the duration of the program. The findings from this study have implications in the areas of teacher preparation and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Paper #10008: Preparing New Teachers for Problem-Based Learning: Use and Perspectives of a PBL Module in Science Methods Courses

Principal Author: Peter Rillero, Arizona State University
Co-Authors: Ying-Chih Chen, Arizona State University


Teacher education in Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is requisite for improving and increasing K-12 PBL implementations.  A free, online PBL module entitled “Design a Problem-Based Learning Experience” was developed for preservice and inservice teachers. This paper describes how the module is used in preserve teacher science methods courses, experiences before and after the module use, and the perceptions of sixty-two teacher candidates (TCs) after module completion. The results revealed that TCs generally had positive attitudes about the module. TCs in elementary level courses had significantly higher rating than secondary level courses. Graduate TCs also rated significantly higher than undergraduate students. Analysis of interview data revealed three features of the PBL module: (1) it is concise and organized, (2) it provides effective and practical examples, and (3) it provides interactive and rigorous videos to engage learners. Potential ways to improve the online PBL are discussed.

Paper #11005: Cross-sectional study of students’ understanding of theory of evolution and epistemology

Principal Author: Sun Young Kim, Chosun University


This cross-sectional study embarks on examining the grade level differences (8th, 11th, and preservice teachers) of four variables: acceptance of theory of evolution; evolution content knowledge; nature of science in relation to evolution; and scientific epistemological views. Then, this study purports to build conceptual models of each grade level students’ acceptance of theory of evolution among the factors of epistemology (both domain-specific and context-specific) and evolutionary knowledge. A total of 643 Korean students participated in this study. Their levels were 8th graders (n=416), 11th graders (n=159), and preservice biology teachers (n=68). This study reveals that the students significantly increased their scores of evolution content knowledge, evolution in relation to NOS, and scientific epistemological views as their level of education goes up. The score difference of acceptance of evolutionary theory was significant between 11th and preservice teachers, whereas no significant difference was found between 8th and 11th graders. Correlation results represented the strongest relation between acceptance of evolutionary theory and evolution in relation to NOSamong the variables. The relation between acceptance of evolutionary theory and scientific epistemological views were also significant but the magnitude was smaller (r=0.326, p<0.01) than the relationship between acceptance of evolutionary theory and evolution in relation to NOS (r=0.590, p<0.01). It is notable that multiple regression results represent that the preservice teachers acceptance of evolutionary theory was most explained by evolution content knowledge, whereas the 8th and 11th students acceptance of theory of evolution was most explained by nature of science in relation to evolution, which is context-specific epistemology.  

Paper #11004: Preservice science teachers’ development of NOS-related PCK through science methods courses

Principal Author: Sun Young Kim, Chosun University


This study designed two consecutive science methods courses to enhance preservice science teachers' understanding of nature of science (NOS), their attitude towards NOS teaching, and NOS-related to pedagogical content knowledge. The mixed methodology, using both quantitative and qualitative data, was used to examine the preservice teachers' views of NOS as well as NOS-related pedagogical content knowledge. The presertive science teachers had experiences of engaging in discussion of NOS issues, designing of lesson plans, and implementation of contexualized NOS lessons through science methods courses for two consecutive semesters. The study results indicated that after science methods courses, the preservice science teachers enhanced their understanding of NOS as well as attitudes towards NOS teaching, representing the development of NOS-related pedagogical content knowledge, such as NOS intructional strategies. Further, the preservice science teachers represented the willingness of teaching NOS at their future science classes even though they stated difficulties to contextualize NOS issues to their lessons.  

Paper #10007: Disentangling the Meaning of STEM: Implications for Science Education and Science Teacher Education

Principal Author: Valarie L. Akerson, Indiana University
Co-Authors: Angela Burgess, Indiana University; Alex Gerber, Indiana University; Meize Guo, Indiana University; Taukir A. Khan, Indiana University; Steven Newman, Indiana University


STEM is an appealing acronym, and garners attention from researchers, professional developers, and funding agencies. To be good stewards of STEM education, and to help teachers in their endeavors to “teach STEM,” what is important for teachers to know? In this session we will discuss the natures of each discipline of STEM—in other words, the nature of science, nature of technology, nature of engineering, and nature of mathematics. The authors of the paper worked to find common elements to try to define a nature of STEM. We then contemplate whether there is a nature of STEM, finding that person’s visions of nature of STEM are dependent upon which “letter” of STEM is their prominent domain. We further discuss what it would mean for science teachers and science teacher educators if we presumed there was a nature of STEM, when STEM is not a discipline in and of itself. For instance, science teachers should be supported in teaching science, for the most part, while making connections to other disciplines, not necessarily only the other disciplines that make up STEM. It is important to prepare science teachers to teach science, certainly as connected to other disciplines, but forcing a STEM connection can limit teaching of science. This session offers an opportunity to discuss these ideas, and other STEM ideas, with colleagues.

Paper #15001: From Science to STEM: Introduction to STEM, Engineering Design Process, and Creative Thinking Strategies Course Syllabus Part One of the STEM Certification Process

Principal Author: Elizabeth J.R.. Stretch, University of Minnesota
Co-Authors: Justine N. Kim, University of Minnesota


The National Research Council (NRC) has made it a priority to reform science education in a manner that elevates engineering and technology to a level with science and mathematics.  In this regard education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is in the midst of reform. This reform shifts away from teaching sciences in isolation and moves toward a model that prioritizes integrated STEM learning environments.  The goals of this reform effort emphasize improving outcomes for students and increasing STEM content and pedagogical content knowledge for teachers. Apart from subject specific content knowledge, the ability and confidence to teach across subjects will be critical for educators. These events have created a nationwide need for deliberate courses around integrated STEM content and pedagogy.

Many states still do not have a definition of STEM education. This has arguably been one of the largest setbacks of STEM so far. Without a clear definition, giving and receiving money for “STEM” programs is done haphazardly.  Also, STEM programs are not held to any accountability as the outcomes of STEM education are undefined. In order for STEM education to achieve its purpose, more policy work needs to be done around defining what a successful STEM education program could look like. One step towards a more unified STEM approach would be creating STEM coursework for educators, practitioners, and policy makers to have a unified foundational understanding of STEM pedagogy.  

This proposed course will explore issues that surround and define integration of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The focus includes integration of engineering into other science content areas and on using the engineering design process as a STEM pedagogical strategy. This course is a graduate level course specifically designed for K-8 classroom teachers, STEM and Science Specialists, and those who would like to improve their understanding and practice of STEM integration. This course is part one of four parts of a potential STEM certification process.

Paper #10005: A Professional Development Initiative to Help English Learners and Economically Disadvantaged Adolescents Succeed on High-Stakes Science Tests: Findings Comparing a Treatment and Control Campus

Principal Author: Margarita Huerta, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Co-Authors: Julie K.. Jackson, Texas State University; Tiberio Garza, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


English Learners (ELs), economically disadvantaged, and at-risk students have well documented academic language achievement gaps creating unique challenges on high-stakes assessments. The purpose of this study was to design a professional development initiative, based on theory and empirical evidence, to help ELs and economically disadvantaged high-school students at-risk for academic failure, pass high-stakes assessments. Success in science requires students understand the unique text structures and vocabulary associated with scientific discourse. The professional development initiative included a combination of elements addressing these points.  Purposeful planning identified standards-aligned academic vocabulary and ensured lessons and assessments included essential academic vocabulary. Innovative academic vocabulary instruction was student-centered and connected academic vocabulary with inquiry investigations and class activities. Saturday school, structured tutoring, and a focused review reinforced academic vocabulary and targeted content gaps.

Teachers at the Intervention Campus received two years of ongoing professional development training to help students learn the academic language and content of science. Results indicated the professional development initiative was beneficial to students within the Intervention Campus and showed promising effects when compared to a matched Comparison Campus. Studies to date considering adolescent at-risk populations have found positive treatment effects on proximal (i.e., curriculum-based) measures of student science achievement. However, none of these studies have found treatment effects on more distal (i.e., high-stakes) science standardized achievement scores for at-risk students at the secondary level. The present study adds needed research to the field and prompts future researchers to consider the types and length of professional development initiatives needed to help economically disadvantaged, EL, and at-risk adolescent students achieve in science.

Paper #10004: The effects of a science and literacy professional development initiative in two high Hispanic elementary schools: Implications for research, teaching, and policy.

Principal Author: Julie K.. Jackson, Texas State University
Co-Authors: Margarita Huerta, University of Nevada Las Vegas; Tiberio Garza, University of Nevada Las Vegas


            Science education is important for individuals to be able to succeed in scientifically and technology driven societies. Science education should also be accessible to all students. Students who are classified as Hispanic, many who are also classified as English Learners (ELs) and economically disadvantaged, score significantly below other students on national measures of science achievement.

            The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a professional development initiative aimed at helping primarily Hispanic ELs and economically disadvantaged students with science achievement as measured on high-stakes standardized science achievement tests. The intervention included elements noted by previous research to be effective for addressing the needs of diverse learners in science (e.g., professional development and attention to language development in context). Fifth grade teachers at the Intervention Campus received two years of ongoing professional development support. Fifth grade teachers at the Replication Campus received one year of ongoing professional development support. Professional development activities promoted purposeful planning and a research-based innovative vocabulary instructional strategy designed to help ELs and economically disadvantaged students simultaneously learn the academic language and content of science. Our results indicate that, overall, the professional development initiative was beneficial to fifth grade students at the Implementation Campus and the Replication Campus.

            The implications of this particular study include an affirmation that combining purposeful language and science content teaching is good for ELs’ — as noted, many who are Hispanic and/or economically disadvantaged — science achievement. In addition, the findings point to the importance of professional development practices which provide teachers with training and tools for how to integrate language in the science classroom easily and effectively, a challenge repeatedly noted by previous researchers in the field (Adamson et al., 2013; Maerten-Rivera et al., 2016; Santau et al., 2010). Additionally, our findings contribute to much needed research in the area of effects of interventions on high-stakes standardized distal test outcomes for all learners and advances knowledge about effective professional development interventions and replication efforts.

Paper #11002: A Watershed PBL Collaboration Across the Nation with Robotics

Principal Author: Susan J. Paulsen, Texas Tech Univeristy
Co-Authors: Stephanie Playton, Texas Tech University


 Hummingbird Robotics was used to create a problem based learning activity that involved collaboration between a school in CA and VA.  Connects national student collaboration, and robotics with the issue of pollution in our national watersheds.

Paper #16002: Highly-Structured Integrated STEM Professional Development: Challenges and Insights Gained from a Cross-Case Analysis

Principal Author: Kristin L. Cook, Bellarmine University
Co-Authors: Sarah B. Bush, University of Central Florida; Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, University of Kentucky; Christopher Rakes, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Robert Ronau, National Science Foundation; Jon Saderholm, Berea College


In this session, we report on a cross-case analysis of the implementation of a professional development framework through three federally-funded, multi-year integrated STEM programs. In addition to key findings, we summarize challenges revealed and insights gained. Here, we describe how the Professional Development: Research, Implementation, and Evaluation (PrimeD) framework guided our STEM work through a collaborative, reflective, and iterative process, providing a cross-case analysis for our journey in operationalizing the PrimeD framework.

Paper #10003: Using Incongruity to Teach Genetics

Principal Author: Francine Wizner, Kingston City Schools


This study is an examination of the manner in which an educator teaches genetics through humorous comparisons.  Content humor is a useful strategy in drawing the attention of students and improving their receptivity toward scientific information. Previous studies have found that humor has an overall positive effect on learning. This study employed multiple data sources to determine how a secondary biology teacher compared disparate concepts to genetics topics, how parity between the concepts was demonstrated to students, whether students recognized the comparisons being made, and students' perceptions of how the comparisons affected their learning of genetics.  The teacher made numerous comparisons, among which were those related to Mendelian, Modern, and Applied Genetics.  Students recognized the comparisons made and were able to correctly answer content questions related to them.  Helping students become critical thinkers is a trademark of science teachers. Science teachers who take the risk of adopting some comedic attributes may earn the reward of imparting behaviors on their students such as critical thinking skills, the ability to explore questions in a detached manner, and the ability to search for new perspectives.  The results of this research may encourage additional study on how secondary science teachers use humor to explain scientific concepts and may also encourage science teachers to investigate novel ways that instructional humor can be used in their classrooms.

Paper #16001: STEM Experiences on the Mindset of Adolescents

Principal Author: Angelia Reid-Griffin, UNCW
Co-Authors: Jessica Croson, Pender County Schools


The study investigates how mentoring and parental/community engagement opportunities can influence student participation in after school STEM activities at the high school and in the community.  Through a collaborative effort within the College of Education, the teacher and faculty member joined together to explore the interactions of students and its influence on their career aspirations in STEM. It is no secret that the United States continues to fall behind other countries in STEM. The recent report in the Washington Post indicated a remarkable lag in performance by US high school students on the 2015 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) (Heim, 2016).  Although all high school students come to school with some knowledge of the world in which they live, many of the minority and economically disadvantaged students at this rural high school are faced with limited resources and support. These students also often fail to advance their knowledge through participating in opportunities at the school, such as Science Olympiad and STEM competitions. It seems that these high school students also do not enroll in many of the advanced STEM courses to prepare them to enter STEM careers. The efforts of our work provides insight into why current team members choose to participate in the Science Olympiad team and identify barriers that may prevent them from participating in competitions. In addition we will provide insight into why some of their parents/guardians choose to participate or become involved in their children’s STEM activities at the school and in the community.  

Paper #10002: Improving Preservice Teacher Self-Efficacy Through Environmental Education

Principal Author: Chelsea J. McClure, Towson University
Co-Authors: Sarah A. Haines, Towson University


We conducted a pilot study on preservice teachers that examined how nonformal field experiences affect teaching self efficacy, content knowledge, and attitudes towards teaching science. PSTs taught programming at the National Aquarium to middle level students from Baltimore City Schools.

 Recently, the following state education requirements have been implemented in Maryland to address the overlapping boundaries of human and environmental health:

•           Adoption of preK-12 environmental literacy standards by the Maryland State Department of Education,

•           A requirement for all Maryland public schools to provide meaningful outdoor environmental education experiences annually for every preK-12 student

•           A requirement for all incoming 9th grade students to complete a comprehensive, interdisciplinary environmental education program aligned with eight standards: environmental issues; interactions of Earth’s systems; flow of matter and energy; populations, communities and ecosystems; humans and natural resources; environment and health; environment and society; sustainability

With these changes to K-12 Maryland state education standards comes an increased need to support school districts in providing meaningful environmental experiences for all students. Concomitantly, there is a critical need to prepare preservice K-12 teachers during their undergraduate academic programs to meet MSDE’s environmental education standards upon entry into the profession. The purpose of our project is to address these needs by forming a partnership between a postsecondary institution (i.e., Towson University) and an informal science education center (i.e., National Aquarium). This partnership  allows Towson University students (i.e., preservice teachers) to serve as National Aquarium educational instructors who deliver environmental activities onsite at the Aquarium to students in local urban schools. As interns, the preservice teachers have opportunities to increase their STEM content knowledge and develop their pedagogical skills for teaching environmental science. The preservice teacher interns assist the National Aquarium’s education specialists in expanding the Aquarium’s urban education programs by working with students and teachers from Baltimore City and the surrounding counties. Pilot data will be presented from pre/post surveys, interviews, and student work artifacts.