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EPO and Preservice Science Education


Pinky Nelson, Western Washington University. September 18, 2006 ... WWU elementary preservice program as an example. A suggestion for a significant EPO contribution ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: EPO and Preservice Science Education

  • EPO and Pre-service Science Education
  • Astronomical Society of the Pacific Annual
  • Pinky Nelson, Western Washington University
  • September 18, 2006

  • Introduction / Outline
  • Why me?
  • Affirmation of EPO people and progress!
  • Needs and of preservice Teachers
  • Comments about preservice education
  • WWU elementary preservice program as an example
  • A suggestion for a significant EPO contribution

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Needs of Preservice Teachers
  • Two recent views Lillian McDermott, Leo Kadanoff
  • Deep enough content knowledge of science
    disciplines that they will be teaching
  • Deep understanding of scientific inquiry
  • Deep understanding of learning research and
  • Content Specific Pedagogical Knowledge
  • Knowledge of and experience with effective
  • Knowledge of children (ed psych stuff)
  • Knowledge of how to function in a professional
    learning community
  • School knowledge (rules, classroom management)
  • Commitment to equity and useful tools
  • Confidence in their own ability to learn

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
Comments on Preservice Education
  • Current model is failing (sustaining the status
  • Elementary students enter with severe deficits
  • 75 are not proportional reasoners
  • Science knowledge is at grade 6-8 standards
  • Secondary students have weak conceptual
    understandings, poor (traditional) teaching
  • Students are not dumb, they have been grossly
    underserved by the system
  • Preservice reform must include K-12 reform
  • Any reform should plan to evolve
  • If we are successful, students will change over

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • An example from Western Washington University
    (K-8 endorsement program)
  • NCOSP Partners
  • University with a large teacher preparation
  • Four neighboring two-year colleges
  • 28 school districts
  • Washington State LASER
  • One of the goals
  • Help WWU and CC transfer preservice students
    become confident science learners

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • New Requirements for El Ed major
  • Five Science Content Classes (quarters)
  • 3 quarter sequence--phys, biol, geol
  • 1 quarter capstone--Inquire science (chemistry)
  • 1quarter nature of science--Science and Society
  • Two Science Pedagogy Classes
  • Science Methods
  • Science practicum

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Development Stucture
  • GUR Working Group 25 Faculty, 2-3 Teachers on
    Special Assignment
  • 3 Sub-groups Phys, Biol, Geol
  • No hierarchy

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Guiding Documents
  • How People Learn
  • Understanding by Design
  • Physics Education for Teachers
  • Learning Cycle Model
  • Purpose
  • Initial Ideas
  • Collecting and Interpreting Evidence
  • Summarizing Questions (Reflection)

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Developing the courses
  • Issues that we faced
  • Staff Development
  • Survey course vs. Depth
  • Integrated vs. Discipline-based
  • Innovated vs. Research-based
  • Academic freedom vs. Common Course (including
  • University vs. Two-year faculty
  • Full-time faculty vs. Part-time faculty
  • Existing vs. Home-grown

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
Initial Course Implementation
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
K-16 Reform-Based Science InstructionNew
Physical Science GUR Course at a Glance
  • Participating Institutions (Fall 2005) EVCC,
  • PET curriculum
  • Constructivist based on experiences,
    investigations, and discussions in the classroom
  • No textbook
  • Part of a science sequence for elementary
    education students
  • Approximately 80 students participated in Fall
  • Data, data, data
  • content assessments
  • student surveys of students beliefs
  • teacher interviews
  • student interviews
  • observations

PET Student Assessments
Students Views of the Nature of Science The
main skill I expect to get out of this course is
to learn how to reason logically about the
physical world.
a lot of the things that I just take for
granted I had to question and then realize that I
was wrong on a lot of the things I thought and
the good thing is that because we did
experiments we had to figure out how to learn it
ourselves and the teacher didnt just tell us how
to think, it counteracted what I thought that was
wrong so it forced me to realize what was wrong
and not go back to what I was thinking
before. -WWU student
Learning science made me change some of my ideas
about how scientific phenomena can be used to
understand the world around me.
When learning science people can understand the
material better if they relate it to their own
I just learn information like for a test, then
I forget it, then Ill just return back to what I
thought before but this way I remember it
better. -WWU student
ObservationsUsing HRI Observation Protocol
  • Capsule Ratings of Quality of the Lesson
  • Level 1 Ineffective Instruction
  • Highly Unlikely to contribute to students
  • Level 2Elements of Effective Instruction
  • Some evidence of learning but serious problems in
    design, implementation, or content.
  • Level 3Beginning stages of Effective Instruction
  • Somewhat limited in its ability to contribute to
    students understanding.
  • Level 4Accomplished Effective Instruction
  • Quite likely to contribute to the majority of
    students understanding.
  • Level 5Exemplary Instruction
  • Highly likely to contribute to all or most
    students understanding and develop capacity to
    do science.
  • Foci of Observation
  • Design
  • Implementation
  • Content Experienced by Students
  • Classroom Culture

Rating Averages
  • Standard GUR
  • Design 4
  • Implementation 3.7
  • Content 3.7
  • Culture 3.8
  • Capsule 3.2
  • New GUR
  • Design 4.4
  • Implementation 3.8
  • Content 4.1
  • Culture 3.9
  • Capsule 3.9

Standard Physics GUR 6 observations of three
courses New Physics GUR 8 observations of four
Content As Experienced by Students
  • Quotes from Students in Physics Class
  • Although it was less than a year ago that I
    completed a Physics AP class in High School, I
    was surprised by how often my own ideas were
    challenged and changed by the basic ideas taught
    through this elementary curriculum
  • of all the courses I took this quarter, I
    believe I showed the most growth in SCED 201. It
    is amazing to look at the initial ideas in my
    binder and see how much progress my ideas and
    thoughts have made over just a unit in the
    curriculum. I also noted a lot about my own
    thought processes and the way that I learn

Content As Experienced by Student
  • I believe that this course will be extremely
    useful for me in the future. Even though I am not
    going to be a science teacher, I am planning on
    being a Spanish teacher. Before taking this
    course, I thought that the science GURs would be
    useless for my major, and that all science
    courses were lecture-based. But, rather than just
    teach me something about science in a new way,
    this course taught me about how I learn, and
    showed me that there are different approaches to
    go about teaching materials that can be carried
    across the disciplines, which I will be able to
    bring into the classroom as a Spanish teacher.

  • Classroom Culture
  • At the beginning I was very nervous about it
    because I dont feel like Im a strong science
    thinker. I was really afraid to verbalize and
    vocalize my opinions and what I was thinking on a
    topic, but after a week or so I began to become
    really comfortable because I realized that the
    reason everyones talking about it is to help
    everyone learn. And when someone would say
    something that was incorrect, no one would care
    because we all just wanted to help them
    understand what was actually going on soI was
    very comfortable by then.
  • - WWU Student

Example Selecting the Biology Big Ideas
Taken from Washington State Standards National
Science Education Standards AAAS Benchmarks for
Science Literacy
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Content Life Systems Big Ideas
  • Food serves as fuel and building materials for an
    organism. Sugars are an example of food, but
    water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen are not.
  • Using the energy from light, plants make their
    own food - in the form of sugars - from carbon
    dioxide (in the air) and water. Nothing else is
    required for this process
  • Plants transform the energy from light into
    chemical energy in the sugars.
  • Animals cannot make their own food, but must
    acquire it by consuming plants or other animals
    that have consumed plants.
  • More

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • Content Life Systems Big Ideas (cont.)
  • Organisms grow by breaking down the food and
    assembling the breakdown products into their body
  • Organisms gain energy for their life processes
    breaking down energy-rich food into simpler
    substances with less energy. The energy is used
    for growth and body functions. Other energy is
    released as heat.
  • If not used immediately for fuel or building
    structures, the breakdown products can become
    part of body structures that serve as energy
    storage for later use.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
Overarching Scientific Process Big Ideas The
Universe is Understandable Scientific Ideas Are
Subject to Change Scientific Knowledge is
Durable Science Explains and Predicts  Science
Cannot Provide Complete Answers to All
Questions Science Demands Evidence Science
is a Blend of Logic and Imagination Science is
not Authoritarian
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
Data from summer pilot 2005Investigating the
Flow and Matter and Energy in Living Systems
  • Four Cycles
  • What is food for living organisms?
  • How do plants get food?
  • How do organisms use food?
  • How does matter and energy cycle in living

HRI Life Science Assessment Pre and Post Scores
Post-test scores significantly greater than
pre-test score (p samples t-test. Effect size 1.39 standard
deviations. Gain score .51. N165
Comparisons by Grade Level
Controlling for pre-test scores and other
demographics, high school teachers scored
significantly higher than elementary and middle
school teachers (effect sizes of 0.45 and 0.31
standard deviations, respectively). However, no
significant differences between gain scores
(ES.49, MS.48, HS.57). N 87, 42, 36
Comparisons by Gender
No significant differences by gender. Gain
scores M.54 F.50
  • What have we learned?
  • Less is more
  • Initial perceptions of academic freedom must be
    addressed (student- vs. faculty-centered)
  • Implementing reformed courses is material, staff,
    and faculty intensive w/ implications for
  • Team teaching helps
  • Lesson Study helps
  • Staff development is key
  • Interpersonal relationships are critical
  • Course revisions being made based on student and
    faculty feedback--methods course.
  • Cant do it all where is the place for
    chemistry, astronomy, environmental science.?

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
  • A Suggestion for EPOers
  • Assemble teams to develop and test three or more
    one-semester astronomy content courses for future
  • Solar System and Stars for Elementary
  • The Universe for Secondary
  • Copy the Physics for Elementary Teachers format
    (for example)
  • Pilot these materials so you know how they
  • Include an instructors guide and staff
  • Use proven development protocols (UBD)
  • Start by choosing learning goals (Benchmarks 6-8)
  • Create and test assessments
  • Design inquiry-based activities
  • Include cool simulations and data where it makes
  • Build in a robust evaluation plan from the start
    and pay attention
  • Dont worry about missions or even NASA--worry
    about students learning important ideas

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation
under Grant No. HER-0315060
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