Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Marie Janelle Tacloban - Florida International University
Co-Author(s): Melissa McCartney, Florida International University, Miami FL
In recent years, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has shifted away from content memorization and toward promoting a deeper understanding of the nature of science. What is the most effective way to teach the nature of science? A growing body of research shows that scientific primary literature is a valuable and useful tool for STEM education and that it can also be used to teach the nature and practices of science. For example, discussing primary literature in a classroom setting engages students in the scientific practice of discussion and debate around interpretations of experimental data. However, do high school teachers have the correct training to bring primary literature into their classrooms? How do we make primary literature more accessible to high school teachers? We developed a one-day workshop for high school teachers centered on providing participants the tools necessary to bring primary literature to their classrooms. Participants consisted of 8 pre-service teachers, 15 high school teachers, and 8 undergraduate faculty members. The workshop consisted of expert speakers in the fields of high school science standards and teaching with primary literature and participants were asked to work in groups to develop lesson plans and curriculums around primary scientific literature. We analyzed the success of our workshop by surveying participants on their understanding of what the nature of science is, their understanding of what primary literature is, their confidence in being able to read primary literature themselves, and their confidence in being able to design a lesson plan around a primary research article. Participants reported gains in their ability to find and select appropriate primary literature for classroom use, their confidence in their ability to guide students in reading primary scientific literature, and their ability to recognize and teach science practices through primary scientific literature. Participants reported no gains in their comfort discussing scientific concepts with others, in their comfort discussing scientific concepts with a non-scientific audience, and their understanding of the nature of science. The workshop succeeded in providing high school teachers with tools to find and select primary literature that they can use to teach science practices to their students. We did not provide teachers with the tools to understand the nature of science or how to connect the nature of science to primary literature. While science practices and the nature of science are related, participants did not make this connection through our workshop presentations and activities. Why is this? We are continuing to code qualitative data collected from participants as well as the transcripts from workshop speakers to identify where we did, or did not, explicitly connect science practices to the nature of science. As we revise our workshop for additional offerings in November 2017 and February 2018 we will integrate activities focused on highlighting the nature of science through primary literature.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF
Faculty Advisor: Melissa McCartney, email@example.com
Role: I designed the survey for the workshop, helped create the agenda for the workshop, attended the workshop, and did the data analysis on the participant responses.