Transforming Elementary Science Teacher Education by Bridging Formal and Informal Science Education in an Innovative Science Methods Course

Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Afterschool Programs, Professional Development, Conferences, and Networks, Professional Development and Workshops, Informal/Formal Connections, Higher Education Programs
Educators/Teachers | Museum/ISE Professionals
Education and learning science | General STEM
University of Maryland College Park

We investigated curricular and pedagogical innovations in an undergraduate science methods course for elementary education majors at the University of Maryland. The goals of the innovative elementary science methods course included: improving students’ attitudes toward and views of science and science teaching, to model innovative science teaching methods and to encourage students to continue in teacher education. We redesigned the elementary science methods course to include aspects of informal science education. The informal science education course features included informal science educator guest speakers, a live animal demonstration and a virtual field trip. We compared data from a treatment course (n = 72) and a comparison course (n = 26). Data collection included: researchers’ observations, instructors’ reflections, and teacher candidates’ feedback. Teacher candidate feedback involved interviews and results on a reliable and valid Attitudes and Beliefs about the Nature of and the Teaching of Science instrument. We used complementary methods to analyze the data collected. A key finding of the study was that while benefits were found in both types of courses, the difference in results underscores the need of identifying the primary purpose


Team Members

Gili Marbach-AdGili Marbach-AdAuthor
J. Randy McGinnisJ. Randy McGinnisAuthor
Rebecca PeaseRebecca PeaseAuthor

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