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NGSS Physical Science Labs for Preservice K-8 Teachers

Prospective elementary school teachers often have limited to no opportunities to plan and conduct their own investigations during their teaching preparation. As a result, novice teachers commonly struggle to facilitate investigations in schools and support student explanations, as intended by the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Enhancing the Quality of Undergraduate Investigations in Physical Science (EQUIPS) project studies the impact of re-designed physical science laboratories on pre-service elementary education (PSEE) teachers’ explanations of physical science phenomena and experimental practices, as well as the impact of such laboratory experiences on their future instruction. The EQUIPS laboratory curriculum aligns with the NGSS, targeting PSEE teachers' disciplinary (Chemistry or Physics) and integrated explanations of scientific phenomena in the physical sciences. PSEE teachers conduct their own research for a given topic, carry out their investigations in laboratory, and construct explanations of their findings. Current findings demonstrate similar outcomes on open-response disciplinary assessment items, but there is a significant difference in favor of the EQUIPS laboratory curriculum compared to verification style laboratories for integrated assessment items of physical science phenomena. Further, students report greater ownership and engagement within the EQUIPS laboratory structure.  Such results are particularly promising for underrepresented PSEE teachers (typically 80-90% female and 40-50% Hispanic each semester).  Additional data collection is on-going in relation to PSEE teachers' future instruction after experiencing the EQUIPS laboratory curriculum.

NSF Award(s): 1712279

Related Paper: AERA_2019_Paper

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Published Date
May 2019
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