Integrated Science for Elementary Teachers: A Course and Practicum Approach to Restructuring Undergraduate Science Preparation for Teachers
This proposal seeks support to develop and implement a two- semester course of instruction designed to provide an integrated introduction to science for pre-service elementary education (first through eighth grade) majors. Concurrent with an inquiry-centered laboratory-based content course is the development of a practicum in which the pre-service students will work with master teacher/mentors teachers to translate science content into actual learning situations with children. This practicum will involve teachers and students from the Moscow, Idaho Public Schools and the Couer d'Alene Reservation Schools. Additional school districts will be brought into participation as the project matures. At the end of three years, all elementary education majors will participate in this program. The curriculum will be developed by six research faculty from the departments of chemistry, biology, physics, geology, and biochemistry, in collaboration with science education specialists as well as teachers and administrators from regional schools. The courses will present science as a seamless whole through a blending of discovery-based activities and cooperative learning in a technology-rich environment. While this is a content curriculum, it will present science in ways that model the best teaching practices.