Thomas Davidson, Amherst Pelham Regional High School

Allan Feldman, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Allyson Rogan-Klyve, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Kent Divoll, University of Massachusetts Amherst


While current standards call for the teaching of the nature of science (NOS) as inquiry and instruction that reflects science as practiced by scientists, the research indicates that teachers are not adequately prepared to do so.  As a means of exploring methods that might prepare teachers to teach this content, this study examines the effect legitimate peripheral participation in authentic science had on three teachers’ NOS conceptions and the ways that they transformed this knowledge into classroom practice.  While we found that teachers participating in the year-long project developed as researchers and experienced changes in the NOS conceptions to be more in-line with those of practicing scientists, we mainly focus on the way these changes affected classroom practices.  We developed a set of five indicators to analyze the ways in which the participating teachers changed their teaching practices in response to the knowledge that they gained.  While we discovered a distinct pattern of transformation for each teacher that resulted in changes in classroom practice, we noted little change in their teaching practices regarding NOS content.

Focus of study

The National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) call for all students to understand the nature of science (NOS) as inquiry, and for all students to know and understand the history and nature of science. If these standards are to be met, teachers need to understand the NOS and know the teaching methods that facilitate student learning of this content. Few science teachers possess adequate conceptions of the NOS (Lederman, 1992), and their teaching does not reflect science as done by scientists. One way to increase teachers’ understanding of the NOS is to have them explore the literature on the history, philosophy, or sociology of science, or study historical case studies of science. However, there is ample evidence in the research literature that these explicit attempts to improve teachers’ conceptions of the NOS are rarely successful (Abd-El-Khalick & Lederman, 2000). A way to increase teachers’ understanding of the NOS that might prove promising is to involve teachers as researchers in scientific inquiry. As it turns out, there have been very few studies of teachers engaged in research studies alongside scientists (e.g., Brown, Bolton, Chadwell, & Melear, 2002; Westerlund, Schwartz, Lederman, & Koke, 2001).  Few have tried to delve into the changes in the NOS conceptions as a result of participation as researchers and in turn the effect these changes have on classroom practice.

This paper is part of a larger study in which we examine the assumption that teachers, who have participated in legitimate scientific research, understand scientific processes and methods in a manner similar to those of experts and that this understanding is more readily transferred to their students. Although we do not go into details about it in this paper, our data show that the teachers involved in the project developed as researchers and that their conceptions of the NOS changed to be more inline with that of the scientists and engineers engaged in this study. In this paper, we look at the effects of the participation of three science teachers in scientific research on their teaching practice.



 The setting for this study is an NSF funded interdisciplinary collaboration among geologists, microbiologists, environmental engineers and science educators. The research project focuses on the natural remediation of acid mine drainage at an abandoned pyrite mine. The study examines the effects of geochemical, biological, and hydrological remediation processes. The geochemical data are collected from wells drilled on the site. Over two year period, detailed analyses have been conducted on the ions present in the ground water. The biological component of the study is looking at the effects of acid producing and acid mitigating bacteria. The microbiologists are using DNA sequencing methods to identify the species of bacteria. One of the environmental engineers is using laboratory based and in situ bioreactors to study the remediation processes. Another environmental engineer is a hydrologist who is developing a mathematical model of sub-surface water flow.

Teachers participate in the on-going research projects as members of teams of scientists, engineers, and graduate students. They do laboratory studies, fieldwork, and computer modeling. They begin in January and continue to the following December. In the spring semester, they participate in a "journal club," which is a one-credit graduate seminar co-taught by the principal investigators (PIs). Most of the AMD project participants take part in the seminar, including graduate and undergraduate science and engineering students. The main activity in the seminar is the reading and discussion of original and current research on acid mind drainage. The teachers participate in the same way as the graduate students by taking turns selecting and preparing the journal articles for discussion. They also begin to work closely with one of the science or engineering PIs during the spring semester. The teachers attend weekly team meetings and monthly project meetings. The expectation is that by the end of the spring semester the teachers will have developed a proposal for their summer research.

            During the summer the teachers participate on a full-time basis (minimum of 160 hours), and receive a stipend. They are expected to contribute fully to the research efforts of their teams and to work as colleagues alongside the university students and researchers on those teams. The participants’ role makes our research different from much of the other research on NOS in science education because the participants are actively involved in an ongoing scientific research study, and are legitimate, although peripheral, participants (Lave & Wegner, 1991) in the research community. Lave and Wenger (1991) describe legitimate peripheral participation as:

a way to speak about the relations between newcomers and old-timers, and about activities, identities, artifacts, and communities of knowledge and practice. A person’s intentions to learn are engaged and the meaning of learning is configured through the process of becoming a full participant in a socio-cultural practice. (p. 29)

Atherton further characterized legitimate peripheral participation by describing the individual components:

These characteristics fit the pattern of the teachers’ experiences in the AMD project. They are newcomers to a scientific community of practice that recognizes their potential to become full participants in it. Further, while the community has scientific content goals of understanding natural remediation of acid mine drainage, the community also focuses on the learning process of it members. While doing scientific research, the teachers and university students involved in the project learn how to do science, and if the participation continues long enough and becomes less peripheral, they can become scientists.

            It is also important to note that the teachers are participants in authentic science. The research project they are participating in is a NSF funded interdisciplinary project spanning several science departments at a large university. Results from the research group have been presented at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals. The scientific work the teachers do is in no way tangential to the research knowledge the scientists in the project are constructing. The teachers' findings are presented both within the research group and at external conferences. The PIs and graduate students use findings from the teachers' research to guide and shape their studies. Therefore, this study provides the rare opportunity to see how their participation in research affects their practice as teachers.


            The three teacher participants included in this research are all experienced teachers. Two of the teachers are women, two teach high school subjects (physical science, earth science, and environmental science), and one teaches middle school general science. The three teach in different schools in different school districts. One district is a small, non-regionalized district. The other two can be considered suburban. The range of teaching experience varied from 5 years to more than 20 (see Table 1).

Table 1:

Teacher Characteristics








MS General Science


< 5 years



HS physical and environmental science

Small rural school

> 20



HS Earth Science


> 20


            The middle school teacher, Diana, worked with the microbiology team during her involvement in the project. She studied ways to isolate and grow particular species of bacteria in vitro so that they could be identified. Laura, one of the high school teachers, worked with the environmental engineering team. Her primary interest was to develop a more robust data collection method. Rodger, who teaches earth science, worked closely with one of the principal investigators of the project, a geologist. Rodger used the x-ray spectrometer to identify the iron-bearing minerals in the effluent creeks.

            All three participants have had some experience with scientific research. Laura's experience was as a participant in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at the University. Although the teachers in the RET project have the opportunity to work alongside practicing scientists and graduate students, they receive only enough training to help gather data and do not participate fully in the projects. Diana had also participated in the RET program. In their interviews both Laura and Diana were clear that that experience differed significantly from the one that they had in this project. They saw the main difference being that in this project they had the opportunity to learn in-depth about acid mine drainage during the spring semester preceding their summer experience and had the time to become part of the research team. In addition to her RET experience, Diana had worked in a biology laboratory for 10 years before becoming a teacher. This made it difficult for us to separate out the research skills that she learned during her participation in the AMD project from her previous knowledge. However, we did see major changes in her teaching before and after her participation. We return to this below. Rodger's primary experience with scientific research was his master's thesis, which he completed more than 20 years ago. However, it is important to note that he is an avid "rock hound" and goes on collecting trips every summer.

Data Collection

            Data were collected using survey instruments, interviews, and observation. Participants completed the Views of Nature of Science Survey (VNOS) (Lederman, Abd-El-Khalick, Bell, & Schwartz, 2002) and the Views of Nature of Science/Teaching the Nature of Science (VNOS/TNOS), which we based on the VNOS-C. All participants were interviewed at the beginning of their involvement in the research project, at the end of the summer, and in the semester following their research experience. We were also participant-observers at all project meetings, including PI meetings and journal club sessions. K-12 students were surveyed with an instrument to explore their understanding of NOS, how their teachers incorporated the workings of science in their lessons, and their knowledge of AMD. Additional data were collected by evaluation of the participants' proposal for summer research, their research presentations at the end of the summer, and the work they created for use in their classrooms during their involvement in the project. Participants were also observed in their classroom settings following their involvement in the project, and those observations were recorded. Because we were primarily interested in the what the teachers said to their students, rather than the discourse exchange between the teacher and students, we asked the teachers to wear a microphone connected to a mini-recorder. These tapes as well as the interview tapes were transcribed.

Data Analysis

            K-12 survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistical means, including an analysis of means and standard deviations within and across groups. Interview and observation data were recorded as notes and audiotapes, and selected meetings and field trips were videotaped. Qualitative data were analyzed using the coding of qualitative data (Miles & Huberman, 1994). Pre-conceived categories for coding were derived from the research literature on the NOS while emergent categories were derived inductively from the data, following the methods of the development of grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). The coding of qualitative data was done with Hyperresearch software.


            As we noted above, we have found that the teachers who were engaged as legitimate participants in this research project developed as researchers. They became better skilled at research methods including the analysis of data. By the end of the summer, they were able to evaluate their outcomes and to work independently on projects and activities much as we would see with advanced master's degree students. The teachers produced reports on their summer work including posters and PowerPoint presentations, similar in quality to those produced by advanced graduate students. Rodger will be presenting the findings of his research at the regional meeting of the Geologic Society of America. We also found that the teachers' opportunity to work alongside practicing scientists and graduate students for an extended time allowed for a change in their conceptions to be more inline with those of the scientists and engineers. We found that when the teachers were asked to share their understanding of various aspects of the NOS they were better able to explain their conceptions. In the remainder of this paper, we look closely at how the teachers' participation in the project affected their classroom practice.

Indicators of the effects of participation on teachers' practice

            As previously noted, we observed that as a result of their experience working on a scientific project the teachers changed both in term of gaining scientific content as well as an increased understanding of how science is practiced. Given this, we sought to understand ways in which this new knowledge could be transformed into changes in classroom practice. Based on the data collected, we developed a set of five indicators that would help us identify specific effects the research experience had on a teacher’s classroom practice. We were interested in capturing the possible ways the teachers could talk about their experience and at what level this information could be shared with their students. The five indicators include:

  1. The teacher makes reference to her research experience.
  2. The teacher conveys the science content of his research experience to his students.
  3. The teacher talks about how science is done with reference to the AMD project.
  4. The teacher teaches about the role of scientists in the construction of knowledge with reference to the AMD project.
  5. The teacher teaches nature of science related content, with reference to the AMD project.

The first indicator is fairly straightforward, as the teachers would be simply sharing the fact that they were involved in the AMD project without necessarily linking it to specific science or NOS content. The remaining indicators are more complex as they require teachers not only to talk about their experience, but also to transform the knowledge they gained as a result of their research participation into knowledge that can be used and understood by students in their classrooms. In addition, the teachers must develop the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) (Shulman, 1986) needed to teach so that their students can come to know and understand that knowledge.

A model that suggests the complexity of the knowledge transformation and development of PCK was developed by Wilson, Shulman and Richert (1987). Their model of pedagogical reasoning proceeds through a process that begins with comprehension and then transformation, instruction, evaluation, reflection, and then to new comprehension. Teachers comprehend when they “critically understand a set of ideas, a piece of context, in terms of both substantive and syntactic structure” (Wilson, Shulman, & Richert, 1987, p. 119). Teachers’ comprehension is transformed through critical interpretation of that comprehension with respect to the their understanding of the school subject matter; representation is the use of “metaphors, analogies, illustrations, activities, assignments, and examples that teachers use to transform the content for instruction” (Wilson, Shulman, & Richert, 1987, p. 120); adaptation is the fitting of representations to students in general; and tailoring is the adapting of representations to specific students.

            Teachers comprehend and transform their own knowledge. They interact with students through instruction and then evaluate their instruction through the evaluation of their students. Using multiple forms of evaluation that can range from objective tests to observations of the looks on students faces, teachers can gauge how useful or effective their instruction has been by checking for students’ understandings and misunderstandings. New comprehension then arises from teachers reflecting on their transformation of curricular material, their instruction, and their students’ understandings (Wilson, Shulman, & Richert, 1987).

            The second and third indicators require teachers to take the knowledge that they gained in the journal club and the summer science research experience (i.e., content knowledge for indicator two and science method skills for indicator three) and transform it, possibly through Wilson et al.'s model of pedagogical reasoning, into a form that is accessible to their students and fits into their curriculum. They also need to have at hand the pedagogical methods that will help their students comprehend that knowledge.

            Indicators four and five present an additional challenge because it requires that teachers convey information that they did not have direct access to during their participation in the project. While the teachers were full legitimate, though peripheral participants, in the research project in a manner similar to that of the undergraduate and graduate students, they did not have access to the decisions the PIs were making or the thinking processes they were using to determine how the project progressed. Therefore, in order to teach about the role of scientists (indicator four), the teachers would have to infer based on their experiences in the project how scientists construct knowledge before, then finding appropriate ways to convey this knowledge. Indicator five, teaching nature of science related content, again would necessitate teachers analyzing their experiences in the project and from this derive NOS content that could then be in their classroom.

Effects of participation on teachers' practice

            We used observation and interview data as well as the student surveys to examine the extent to which each indicator was present in the teachers’ teaching practices. In doing so, we hoped to gain a better understanding of the ways in which legitimate participation in scientific research affects teaching practice.

The teacher makes reference to their research experience in their classes.

            The frequency and quality of teachers' references to their experiences varied among the teachers. For two of them, Laura and Diane, talk of their research experience became a regular part of their teaching. For example, Laura began to make reference to her research experience early on in her participation in the project. She describes this in her summer interview:

It had an effect on me discussing, or at least bringing up the topic of acid mine drainage, letting kids know that I was going to be doing summer research, and that certain things sometimes happen in research or when we’re reading things we need to read these things. (Summer interview)

We also observed Laura sharing her PowerPoint presentation with her class in addition to displaying her research poster in her classroom throughout the semester. She commented on this pedagogical choice in an interview:

I'm keeping my poster up in the room on purpose. I have it over on the side bulletin board, so I can constantly refer to it. And refer to it in the sense of, how do we analyze graphs? What do graphs mean? There’s a graph that I had to use, and I had to look at what this graph was trying to tell me. I had to see the trends that I was looking for. (Fall interview)

Like Laura, Diane made her research experience a part of her classroom. For example, early on in the fall, she presented the PowerPoint presentation that she had prepared for the AMD research group to her middle school students.

            We also used data from the student surveys to gather information about the teachers' practice. Items 5, 10 and 22 in particular gave us information about the students' perceptions of their teacher's reference to their research experience.

5. My teacher talks about his/her science research experience.

10. I learn about what real scientists do.

22. I know what acid mine drainage is.

The surveys were administered three times: late spring 2005, early fall 2005, and at the end of the fall term. For Diane and Laura, this was January 2006. For Rodger, it was early December 2005. Students were asked to respond to the items using a 5 point Likert-type scale ranging from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree”. “Strongly Disagree” was given a value of 1 and “Strongly Agree” a value of 5. The means of the students' responses are in Table 2. The averages of the student averages for items 5, 10 and 22 are displayed in Graph 1.

Table 2

Means of student responses to items 5, 10, and 22

Item number




Averages of these values

Rodger Spring Average





Rodger Early Average





Rodger Late Average





Laura Spring Average





Laura Early Average





Laura Late Average





Diane Spring average





Diane Early average





Diane late averages






Graph 1

 Student responses to items 5, 10, and 22

            As expected, Laura’s and Diane's students scored highest on the items that relate to indicator 1. Rodger's students indicated on the survey that they had at best some familiarity with the project and his experiences with it. This is inline with the infrequent references that we noted in our observations of his teaching.

The teacher conveys the science content of their research experience to their students.

            There is clear observation and interview data that shows that Diane and Laura conveyed the science content of their research experience to their students. Diane did this by incorporating a new year-long project for her students that modeled the work done in the AMD project. This project has her students examining the water quality of a swampy area near their school. She included content on wetlands, water quality, and hydrology that she learned during her experience with the AMD project.

            Rather than develop a new unit for her course, Laura decided to incorporate her new knowledge into existing parts of her curriculum. For example, when her students were studying ecosystems, she presented them with the case of a site in which there is an abandoned pyrite mine that was producing acid mine drainage. She described the formation of AMD to her students during her class on January 17, 2006:

Acid mine drainage is basically a result of what is known as the weathering of pyrite.  When they took the pyrite out, which is also iron (II) sulfide, they made piles.  They took out the big chunks and all the little chunks they just left in piles.  So you have these large piles of what they call tailings.  You combine that with moisture and oxygen and you end up with what is known as acid mine drainage.  And it’s a result of the oxidation of pyrite when it’s in combination with moisture and oxygen.  And what happens is, chemistry’s going on, you’re going from Fe(II) to Fe(III), and that’s an oxidation process. (Class observation, 1/17/06)

Laura went on to present the class with additional details of the formation of AMD and the particulars of the Davis Mine site.

            While Rodger expressed interest in sharing the content of his research with his class, he seemed unsure about how to do this. He stated this concern in his fall interview: “I’ve got this information and in the overall acid mine drainage project it probably is useful. Whether or not I can now take that same information and adapt for use for my students, I’m not, I’m not sure about it” (Fall interview). This is somewhat surprising given that he teaches earth science and we observed him teaching a laboratory exercise on mineral identification which was the topic of his summer research project.

            Two items on the student survey gave us some insight into the teachers' use of supplemental information in their teaching. They are:

11. All the important things we learn are in our textbook.

17. Our teacher gives us articles to read that were written by scientists.

Table 3 shows the means of student responses to these items. Item 11 is scored negatively (5 for strongly disagree, 1 for strongly agree) because an agreement with it suggests less use of supplemental information. The data, as seen in Graph 2, suggest that there was little change in students' perceptions. Again, however, Diane’s and Laura's students responded in a way that suggests that they did include more supplemental information than Rodger, which was inline with our observations.

Table 3

Student responses to items 11 and 17

Item number

11 (neg)


Average of these values

Rodger Spring Average




Rodger Early Average




Rodger Late Average




Laura Spring Average




Laura Early Average




Laura Late Average




Diane Spring average




Diane Early average




Diane late averages





Graph 2

Student responses to items 11, and 17

The teacher teaches about how science is done, with reference to the AMD project.

            In the summer interview, Diane spoke about how she would use her experience in the journal club to teach her students how to do science:

What it did was it reinforced on me on the importance of having students look at the literature and get primary sources of research, and helped me learn from my role in experimentation. So I think my kids need to do the same thing. (Summer interview)

She also spoke about how she would teach the scientific method:

I realize that one of the units that I do is scientific method right at the beginning of the year and the kids do some independent research. I think what I’m going to do, which I have not done in the past, I did it informally where I’ve had them give it to me in bits and pieces, but I think doing this proposal encourages me to have the kids, of course in a simplified form for 8th graders, present a formal proposal for their research that they’ll do as a culmination of that unit. (Summer interview)

In the fall, we observed Diane making both of these changes in her teaching. She introduced a major water quality unit to her students that draws upon what she had learned in the AMD project. For example, when she taught her students how to test for pH, she used a water sample that she had prepared using pyrite, which is the major source of the acidity at the mine site. In addition, she has helped her students develop water quality testing protocols based in part on knowledge she gained while working on the project.

            Like Diane, Laura began the school year with a lesson on the traditional scientific method, though she found herself making changes in how she presents the methodology to be more inline with her actual research experiences. As she taught about it, she included examples of what she did during the summer and how the scientists and graduate students worked together. In both our observations and in the fall interview, she spoke about the importance of interdisciplinary, cooperative work in science, and that everyone has some type of expertise that they can bring to the group:

It’s this, this constant awareness that I’m seeing myself, whenever I’m in the classroom, the interdisciplinariness of science, and the understanding how some scientists have more knowledge than in another knowledge, than another area. And how important it is to be working with people who understand things differently. So when we’re doing things in groups, I’ll reference that type of thing. So when we’re working in groups we that have people with different skills who can go out and do that and that’s how it is in science. (Fall interview)

            Laura felt it was important to find ways to engage her students in projects that resembled experiences she had in her research project. For example, Laura had her environmental science students keep detailed laboratory notebooks similar to those scientists working in the field would generate. In another example, when Laura wanted her students to work together to compare their predictions about an experiment, she likened it to her experience in the project where scientists with different specialties would work together on a problem. Throughout our observations, Laura often made references to her research project in ways similar to these examples.

            In our observations we saw no direct evidence that Rodger used his experiences with the AMD project to inform his instruction on how science is practiced. We also found it was not a topic he discussed during his interviews.

The teacher teaches about the role of scientists in the construction of knowledge, with reference to the AMD project.

            Diane devoted time in her class to talking about scientists, though not necessarily in conjunction with her experiences in the AMD project. She assigned her students a project in which they had to choose a scientist, research that scientist’s life, and make a presentation to the class based on their research.

            Additionally, in the fall Diane began a long-term project that engaged her students in scientific research that has a connection to the world outside of the classroom, and in which students could experience for themselves the process of scientists constructing knowledge. She described the project in her fall interview:

This year is I’m taking advantage of a white cedar swamp which is a unique environment in the back of our school, and in fact I’m, I’m starting it next week, where I’ve created a story, you know, that’s talking about is the swamp polluted, and blah, blah, blah, and we’re going to out, and they’re going to do water quality monitoring out there. And we’re going to have it go all year. And I want to make it real, so I’m going to have the kids report their finding to the water, what do they call it here, the water management committee here in Town, because their tasked with doing the Clean Water Act for the town. And so, I want them to see that, you know, their data can be used and applied to, you know, real world situations. (Fall interview)

She also spoke about what scientists do as they are engaged in research:

Now we said that scientists learn or get, gain knowledge in science by doing three things. They observe, they experiment, and they have ordered thinking. (9-19-05 classroom observation transcript)

However, the only evidence that we saw that Diane taught her students about the work that actual scientists, such as the ones she worked with during the summer, do to construct scientific knowledge, was that she showed pictures of the PIs and the graduate students to her students.

            As we have already mentioned, Laura almost continuously referred to her own experience during the summer as she taught the students about the scientific method. She would tell specific anecdotes about what she did and her experiences with the PIs and the graduate students. Also, she would often make reference to her research experiences in connection to what she was teaching. For example, when talking about the importance of doing background research before looking at a problem, she described her experience of spending a semester in journal club learning the necessary information on acid mine drainage before she began her field work. However, as with Diana, we saw little evidence that she connected scientific knowledge other than what she had experience during the summer, to the role of scientists.

            Again, we saw no evidence in our observations or in the interview data that Rodger made any changes in his practice as a result of his participation in the project. We had noted during a classroom observation early in Rodger’s participation in the project that he did make reference to the work of scientists who studied volcanoes. It was not that the scientists were completely absent from his classroom dialogue, but rather that the results of their work tended to be discussed and they were not generally talked about in reference to the AMD project.

The teacher teaches nature of science related content, with reference to the AMD project.

Rodger primarily taught the nature of science implicitly as part of his instruction in science content and skill. For example, when describing a laboratory activity to his students, he said, “Sometimes you won’t find a perfect fit because it has impurities. Things don’t always work out the way you want which is true of science” (9-28-05 class observation). However, we saw little evidence of change in the ways in which Rodger taught about the nature of science.

            As we noted above, Diane has the goal of teaching her students how to do scientific research. As a result, her lessons are peppered with examples of talk about what scientists do and how they do it. Here is an example for an early class in the semester:

We’ve been talking about science skills. You know what, what does it mean to be a scientist. And we talked about the fact that we are scientists everyday. Because we are observing, we’re doing tests, making measurements, and we’re thinking about things in our natural world. And we practiced our observation skills. We practiced our classification skills. (9-19-05 classroom observation transcript)

Because she rarely teaches about how to do science in the context of her experience, it is difficult to see how much effect her experience in the AMD project has had on this part of her practice.

            While we certainly saw Laura bring her research experiences into her classroom, and make changes to her teaching practice based on these experiences we found little direct evidence of explicit attempts to teach the NOS content. However, Laura did reflect on a subtle shift she was making in how she taught the scientific method to be more in line with her research experience. She describes how she now teaches it less as step-by-step method, and more as a set of guideline or tools that scientists can use to guide their thinking.


In this paper, we reported on our examination of the practice of three science teachers after their participation in a scientific research project. Our goal was identify the effects, if any, that their participation had on their teaching practice. We decided on five indicators of possible effects on the content of their instruction. These ranged from the teachers simply mentioning their participation to their students to the incorporation of science content knowledge and/or science process skills that they learned from their participation in the project. We were also interested in seeing whether they taught their students about the ways that the scientists and engineers in the project constructed new knowledge, and if the teachers incorporated into their curriculum the content knowledge of the nature of science (NOS).

We found that the types of changes varied among the teachers. All three spoke to their students about their experience. However, Rodger did not incorporate any knowledge as described in the other four indicators that he gained from his participation into his practice. Both Diane and Laura taught their students content knowledge that they had learned during the spring and summer, as well as some of what they learned about the methods and processes of doing science. None of the teachers included content about the construction of new scientific knowledge or the content knowledge of the NOS.

We also found that Diane and Laura organized the additions to their curriculum in different ways. It appears that Diana returned to her classroom with the goal of having her students learn how to do research and to engage in scientific research. To this end, Diana introduced a long-term project in which her students engage in "real science." Laura also had the goal of bringing her experience to her teaching. Laura wants her students to know what research in the sciences is all about as well as creating experiences for her students that are like those of practicing scientists. One of the main ways that she did this was to use herself as an example of a researcher. Laura infused the knowledge that she obtained through her participation in the project throughout her teaching to help her students gain a better understanding of what scientists do and what science is all about. Additionally, she indicated that she would act as a mentor to any students who wished to pursue independent research with her.

It appears that there has been only a small effect on Rodger's teaching. Rodger has made almost no changes in his practice. While he expressed the desire to do so, he did not envision how he could transfer the science that he had experienced into "school science." By expressing Rodger's dilemma in this way, it allows us the think of Diana’s and Laura's actions as being transformations of their experiences into school science. For Diana, the way to transform her experience was to construct a project for the students so that they could experience what she experienced. For Laura, her telling stories of what she did and posting her research poster from the project on the wall allows her students to experience doing science through her.

             We believe our findings have significant implications for science teacher education, especially if we believe that it is important for teachers to teach their students how to do science. The teachers participating in this study were volunteers, not a random sample, and the methods used to promote the changes that we observed required large expenditures of time, money, and other resources. This is primarily due to the fact that the way that people become practicing scientists is through a long and intensive apprenticeship program called doctoral studies (Clark, 1997; Fernández-Esquinas, 2003; LaPidus, 1997). If we are to truly prepare all science teachers to teach their students to understand the NOS and to do science, we must continue to explore how teachers gain this knowledge and transform it into classroom practice, in addition to exploring experiences that can efficiently aid in this transformation.


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