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Learning goals for pre-service teachers

The pedagogical knowledge outlined here will help pre-service teachers prepare to effectively teach the nature and process of science

1. Importance of teaching the nature and process of science
The teacher will ...

  • Recognize that learning the nature and process of science takes time and that these are long term learning goals that will be built up over multiple years.

  • Recognize that such learning goals are valuable and are worth setting aside significant classroom time for.

  • Recognize that learning about the relevance of science to student's lives is valuable.

  • Understand broad strategies for teaching the nature and process of science.

  • Understand that students learn the nature and process of science only when these aspects of activities are made explicit (and will understand what that means and will be able to clarify the difference between explicit and didactic).

  • Understand that students learn the nature and process of science best when given many opportunities to reflect on their changing views of the nature and process of science.

  • Understand that students learn the nature and process of science best when the same concepts are integrated in multiple contexts (i.e. embedded) throughout the school year.

2. Basic instructional knowledge/experiences
The teacher will ...

  • Understand the progression of ideas in the nature and process of science and what is developmentally appropriate at different grade levels.

  • Develop an awareness of misconceptions that students have about the nature and process of science.

  • Develop a beginning repertoire of resources and materials for teaching about the nature and process of science.

  • Develop a repertoire of formative and summative assessment strategies to guide instruction and determine the effectiveness of instruction.

  • Develop the skills to modify curricular materials to better demonstrate and make explicit the nature and process of science

  • Develop an awareness of curricular mandates, standards, and policies relevant to the nature and process of science.

  • Develop the skills necessary to back-map a standard on these topics.

3. Classroom skills
The teacher will ...

  • Know how to encourage good question-asking.

  • Know how to encourage students not to aim for answers in back of book/encourage risk-taking.

  • Know how to create a community of learners.

  • Know how to facilitate a discussion among students.

  • Know how to organize and manage a classroom in which students are investigating different problems and doing different things at the same time.

  • Know how to take advantage of teachable moments regarding the nature and process of science — e.g., when different students get different experimental results, when students ask if they got the "right" answer in lab, etc.

4. Miscellaneous
The teacher will ...

  • Recognize that as teachers, they will need to continually confront their own misconceptions and continue to learn through their practice.

  • Develop and articulate an operational definition of what science is/is not that can be used to guide instructional decision-making.


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K-16 Resources


Guide to Understanding Science 101


Conceptual framework


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Resource database


Image library


How Understanding Science is being used


Correcting misconceptions


Educational research


Alignment with science standards


How Science Works on iTunes



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