Researching the Impact of a Redesigned Introductory Earth Science Course on Preservice Elementary Teacher Knowledge and Perspectives
Thursday 3:30pm Ritchie Hall: 366
Oral Session Part of Thursday A: Professional Development: Faculty, graduate students and teachers
Danielle Ford, University of Delaware
Susan McGeary, University of Delaware
Jennifer Gallo-Fox, University of Delaware
Cheryl Ackerman, University of Delaware
The authors present the design, research, and evaluation of an earth science course for preservice elementary teachers that is place-based, hands-on, technologically enriched, and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our redesigned earth science course was developed using the three-dimensional framework of the NGSS, emphasizing the practices of science and the use of Internet-based environmental data. The overarching theme of earth system processes is exemplified within a single stream watershed; each unit is tied to observations the students make in the field and online. In the first two years of the project, we have collected baseline data from the traditional version of the course, a large lecture class serving students in multiple majors; piloted the new curriculum in a small course with education majors; and then scaled up elements of the revised curriculum to a large lecture course. The delivery of the redesigned course is intended to impact preservice elementary teachers by increasing their learning and skill development, bolstering their confidence in their ability to teach science, and increasing their motivation to learn science. We discuss the ongoing research efforts to document impacts using a combination of validated measures, observation protocols, and document analysis. We present evidence of positive changes in instructor and student activities aligned with active learning and the NGSS practices, as well as challenges faced in measuring the effects of curriculum redesign efforts on student knowledge, beliefs and motivation.