Pathways to Science Teaching: Engaging Preservice K-12 Science Teachers in NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Thursday 3:30pm Tate 105
Oral Session Part of Thursday B: Teaching Online


Heather Petcovic, Western Michigan University
Steven Bertman, Western Michigan University
Lauri Davis, Western Michigan University
Stephen Kacmzarek, Western Michigan University
Kevin Koch, Linden Grove Middle School
Valerie Long, Western Michigan University
Robert Ruhf, Western Michigan University
Paul Vellom, Western Michigan University

In order to achieve the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), preservice teachers need opportunities to engage in all three dimensions of the NGSS. However, many teacher preparation programs lack opportunities to engage teacher candidates with NGSS science and engineering practices (SEPs). The 10-week Pathways to Science Teaching program connects "doing" science with teaching NGSS SEPs as preservice teachers design, conduct, and carry out a water quality investigation and then teach youth in science summer camps. Across three years of the Pathways program (2018, 2019, and 2021), a total of 16 undergraduate education majors and 7 science/engineering majors with a strong interest in teaching from highly diverse backgrounds participated.

Each summer, participants met community stakeholders to learn about local water quality issues, designed and conducted water quality research in the local watershed, and taught water science to grade K-9 youth in summer camps. They communicated research results and gave teaching demonstrations in an open house event and at a professional conference. NGSS SEPs were emphasized throughout the program. Data from the Science Instructional Practices survey (SIPS; Hayes et al., 2016) and post-program interviews suggest that participants across all three years reported increased knowledge of choosing variables and designing investigations. Other gains were not uniform across cohorts but included increased knowledge of data collection, data analysis, making claims from evidence, argumentation, and creating and using models. Similarly, participants reported significant growth in their comfort in teaching youth to design and implement investigations, conduct data analysis, use physical and conceptual models, and argue from evidence. We propose that the Pathways program could be a productive model to improve the preparation of preservice teachers to teach NGSS scientific practices.

Presentation Media

Presentation Media

Petcovic 2022 Rendezvous presentation (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 33MB Jul7 22)