Introducing the ASSIST Approach to Preservice STEM Teachers

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McDermott, M.A., & Kuhn, M. (2017). Introducing the ASSIST approach to preservice STEM teachers. Innovations in Science Teacher Education, 2(1). Retrieved from https://innovations.theaste.org/introducing-the-assist-approach-to-preservice-stem-teachers/

by Mark A. McDermott, University of Iowa; & Mason Kuhn, University of Northern Iowa

Abstract

The Argument-based Strategies for STEM Infused Science Teaching Approach (ASSIST) is a pedagogical approach based on the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH).  In addition to framing instruction around the SWH approach, ASSIST emphasizes the use of multimodal communication, focuses on purposeful integration of mathematics, technology, and engineering in science learning, and provides templates to help teachers plan activities and units aligned with the approach.  The authors of this paper have utilized the approach in their classrooms as well as helped inservice teachers understand and utilize the approach through professional development.  Recently, the authors have also begun to develop and implement methods courses for preservice elementary and secondary science teachers based on the approach.  In this article, an engaging activity based on a card trick is described that introduces preservice students to the SWH as a way to promote more general understanding of the approach.  The goal of the activity is to help the preservice students identify the major characteristics of the SWH approach that is central to the ASSIST approach while simultaneously experiencing the potential for student learning the approach provides and the connections to development of an appropriate view of the nature of science.  This sets the stage for future learning related to implementing the overall ASSIST approach in classroom settings.

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