Seeking to Recreate Lightning in a Bottle: Reflecting on Assignments Used in an Integrated Science Course for Preservice Teachers

Friday 11:15-11:45am PT / 12:15-12:45pm MT / 1:15-1:45pm CT / 2:15-2:45pm ET Online


Caitlin Callahan, Grand Valley State University

This poster tells the story of two assignments I included in a course for preservice K-8 teachers during the 2020-2021 academic year. Both assignments had this similar broad goal: to provide an opportunity for the students to focus on their identity as future teachers. Both assignments had this structure: 1) students made a choice about the content they would read or watch; 2) students then shared their observations and reflections with a small group of classmates; and 3) the small groups then presented a synthesis of their discussion to the whole class. In the first assignment, each student selected and read a profile of a scientist featured in the "Cool Jobs" section of the "Science News for Students" website. Notably, these profiles include a diversity of individuals as well as a diversity of careers. In the second assignment, students chose at least one online, recorded, publicly-available panel discussion related to science teaching. The panel options included: 1) "The Challenge of Creating Equity in Science Education" (STEM Teacher Leadership Network); 2) "Differing Abilities in STEM" (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education); and 3) "Inspiring STEM Interest" (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education). Small group and class discussions occurred via Zoom and made use of the Jamboard application within Google. The rubrics for these assignments prompted specific details in students' reflections. In actuality, students' reflections revealed the potential for such resources to add new insights into their future role as teachers. This poster shares details of the assignments as completed by students in this initial iteration and invites viewers to discuss plans for future implementations.

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