A Role Identification Activity to Support Science Teacher Leaders in Identifying Professional Learning Needs

by Sara C. Heredia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Michelle Phillips, Exploratorium; Sarah Stallings, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; & Ti'Era Worsley, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Abstract

Science teacher leadership has been identified as an important factor in the improvement of science education. However, there is wide variation in how leadership roles are assigned or taken up by science teachers. This makes designing professional development for science teacher leaders challenging. In this article, we present an activity designed to support science teacher leaders in identifying the leadership roles they occupy and the roles they would like to develop further through professional development. We present data from a group of science teacher leaders who participated in a professional learning program supported by a large science museum. Based on the data we collected, we provide a snapshot of how we interpreted that data and identify professional learning needs and possible resources for the science teacher leaders in the program.

Redesigning a Science Teacher Preparation Program for Equity: Using Critical Whiteness Pedagogy to Educate Secondary Science Preservice Teachers

by Jonathan McCausland, New Mexico Highlands University; & Scott McDonald, Pennsylvania State University
Abstract

In this article, we describe the redesign of a secondary science teacher preparation program. The goal of the redesign was to help preservice teachers in the program become more justice-oriented science teachers. We describe the impetus for the redesign and how we went about redesigning the program through an iterative process of conjecture mapping (Sandoval, 2014), and we highlight important elements of the program. Ultimately, we argue that teacher preparation programs can draw upon practice-based teacher education and critical whiteness pedagogy to assist preservice teachers in becoming justice-oriented science teachers. By blending practice-based teacher education and critical whiteness pedagogy, preservice science teachers can practice being justice oriented, helping them become novice critical whiteness ambitious science teachers.

Preservice Teachers Facilitating a Discussion With Elementary Student Avatars Before Facilitating It With Real Students

by Pamela S. Lottero-Perdue, Towson University; Karen Cimino, Towson University; & Julia Brandeberry, Towson University
Abstract

In this article, we share our innovation in which we used backward design to develop a scenario for use within the Mursion mixed-reality (MR) upper elementary simulated classroom environment to enable preservice teachers (PSTs) to practice facilitating an ambitious group discussion before facilitating that discussion to students in their field placement. The third-year elementary PSTs were enrolled in a course in which they taught a fourth-grade, NGSS-aligned unit that focused on the external and internal structures of sea turtles and how an injury to one or more of those structures could impact their growth, survival, behavior, or reproduction. To enhance the unit, we added a nonfiction text, Karl’s New Beak (Nargi & Popham, 2019), that examines the ramifications on survival, behavior, and reproduction faced by an Abyssinian ground hornbill missing most of his lower beak. At the end of the unit, each PST facilitated a discussion to elicit connections their students made between key ideas in the unit and text about how an injury to an animal impacts its survival, behavior, or reproduction. We share key elements of scenario design and how the PSTs prepared for, implemented, and debriefed from the MR simulated discussion. We also summarize and provide examples from the PSTs’ reflections on how the simulated experience prepared them to facilitate the same discussion with their small groups of fourth graders. For teacher educators who have access to the Mursion system, we provide our scenario and recommendations on how to begin utilizing this technology.

Chat-Based Role-Play for Preservice Teachers to Practice Eliciting Students’ Arguments

by Pamela S. Lottero-Perdue, Towson University; Peter Rillero, Arizona State University; Cathy Liebars, The College of New Jersey; Adam Goldberg, Southern Connecticut State University; & Justin Reich, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract

In this article, we describe our implementation of an innovative approximation of practice in teacher education: chat-based role-play. In so doing, we share our collective experiences as teacher educators about how the preservice teachers (PSTs) across our four methods courses—two elementary science courses, one elementary mathematics course, and one middle school mathematics course—practiced eliciting students’ initial arguments about a matter investigation (for science) or a fractions or ratio problem (for mathematics). The chat-based role-play to which we refer involves a one-on-one, 7-minute-long, teacher–student typed chat in which the teacher aims to elicit the student’s claim and evidence-based reasoning (for science) or justification (for math). We used Eliciting Learner Knowledge (ELK; https://tsl.mit.edu/practice_space/eliciting-learner-knowledge/), a multiplayer option in the Teacher Moments online platform from the MIT Teaching Systems Lab that is free and available for public use, to support this role-playing experience; however, we also explain how other platforms (e.g., Google Docs) can achieve a similar effect. In this article, we describe (a) the affordances of typed chat-based role-play; (b) the ELK platform and elementary science chat as an example; (c) the ways in which we prepared PSTs for their chats, formatted their chat experiences, and asked them to reflect after the chats; (d) how our PSTs benefitted from preparing for, engaging in, and debriefing from these chats; (e) implementation challenges and associated suggestions; and (f) alternate ways of conducting typed chat-based role-play in methods courses. Content-specific examples throughout the article are from science.

3D Into 5E for Space Sciences Lessons Using NASA Education Resources for Elementary and Middle School Classrooms

by Soon C. Lee, Kennesaw State University; Bergman, Daniel, Wichita State University; & Novacek, Greg, NA
Abstract

Implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS; NGSS Lead States, 2013) 3D learning that is well aligned with the performance expectations has been challenging for many science teachers. Furthermore, studies on curriculum materials for NGSS have rarely provided templates or guidelines that are straightforward for teachers to use in their science classes. This project aimed to provide professional development opportunities to middle school teachers (Grades 5–8) through a workshop designed to facilitate the integration of NASA’s educational resources into science lessons aligned with the NGSS 3D learning framework. The workshop included a conceptual model (i.e., 3D Into 5E), lesson templates, and sample lessons. Specifically, the project activities were designed to improve the participating teachers’ space-science content knowledge and instructional strategies, thereby enabling them to capture their students’ interest and channel it toward related STEM careers. Although the BSCS 5E Instructional Model (Bybee et al., 2006) is not a new concept, this project has demonstrated its efficacy as a template for effectively integrating the three dimensions of NGSS with related phenomena in science teaching. This project has not only demonstrated the effectiveness of the 5E model as a tool for promoting a deeper understanding of scientific concepts but also innovatively incorporated hands-on space-science activities to enhance its impact. By engaging teachers in these activities, the project improved their ability to modify instructional materials using the 3D Into 5E template, ultimately leading to a more engaging and impactful learning experience for their students. The study’s results showed that participating teachers experienced significant improvements in their space-science content knowledge and teaching confidence, indicating the effectiveness of this innovative approach. The teachers also reported high levels of student engagement and enjoyment during space-science activities, indicating the potential of this approach to enhance student-centered learning and improve the quality of science instruction delivered to students. Overall, this project’s innovative approach has the potential to transform science education by providing teachers with practical tools and strategies to engage students in science and promote a deeper understanding of space-science concepts.

Elementary Science Teacher Educators Learning Together: Catalyzing Change With Educative Curriculum Materials and Vignette Writing

by Sumreen Asim, Indiana University Southeast; Jeni Davis, Salisbury University; Melanie Kinskey, Sam Houston State University; Heather Lavender, University of Georgia; Jaclyn Murray, Augusta University; Amanda Obery, Central Washington University; Carrie-Anne Sherwood, Southern Connecticut State University; & Sarah Voss, Drake University
Abstract

In this article, we describe a professional learning community (PLC) for science teacher educators that supported changes in pedagogy through educative curriculum materials and vignette writing. The PLC was convened as part of a grant-supported project to build preservice elementary teachers’ content knowledge for matter using educative curriculum materials. PLC members collaborated with one another over an academic year to learn about and discuss implementing curricular materials in their respective science teacher education courses. Due to the collaborative nature of the PLC, members were able to engage in sensemaking collectively around challenges of practice through vignette writing. The process of writing vignettes within the PLC allowed for productive reflection around content knowledge for matter and science teaching practices, ultimately, advancing preservice teachers’ learning about teaching elementary science.

Instructional Pathways to Considering Social Dimensions Within Socioscientific Issues

by Rebecca Rawson Lesnefsky, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill; Troy Sadler, University of North Carolina; Li Ke, University of Nevada-Reno; & Pat Friedrichsen, University of Missouri
Abstract

The Socioscientific Issues Teaching and Learning (SSI-TL) framework is a guide for developing an instructional approach to learning experiences focused on socioscientific issues (SSI). Despite the potential benefits of SSI learning, teachers often struggle to implement this approach in their classrooms (Sadler et al., 2006; Saunders & Rennie, 2013), and one of the most prominent reasons for this struggle is science teacher concerns and hesitation associated with incorporating social dimensions of the issues into their instruction (Friedrichsen et al., 2021). The purpose of this article is to provide science teacher educators with tools to help teachers better manage the integration of the social dimensions of SSI in issues-based teaching. In doing so, we suggest an expansion of the SSI-TL framework such that it more explicitly highlights pathways for focusing on the social dimensions of SSI within science learning environments. These pathways emerged as a result of a joint effort with nine high school science teachers as they developed a unit related to COVID-19; however, the pathways support science teachers as they implement science learning experiences that provide opportunities to negotiate social dimensions across most SSI. The pathways include systems mapping, connecting analysis to policy positions, media literacy, and social justice. We present how following each pathway integrates the social dimension of the focal issue, an example from the COVID-19 unit, evidence of success, and future considerations for science teacher educators as they help classroom teachers adopt an SSI approach.