Research and Teaching: Scientist – Science Educator Collaborations—Do They Improve Student’s Understanding of the Nature of Scienceby: Catherine Martin-Dunlop and Peter Hodum

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This article describes a research study in which a biologist and his research on Antarctic seabirds became part of an integrated science course for prospective elementary teachers. Students used the scientist’s database on seabird chick growth rates for an experimental design investigation while the “regular” classes had a single science educator as their instructor and did not use the database but completed an investigation of their own choosing. Understandings of the nature of science before and after the course, and between classes that experienced the scientist – science educator collaboration and those that did not, were assessed using the Nature of Scientific Knowledge Survey. An attitude scale and interviews with students who used the seabird database were also used to collect data. Interviews revealed scientific habits of mind that could not be quantified with a questionnaire as well as understandings of aspects of the nature of science that have not been discussed in prior research.

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  • on Mon Aug 06, 2012 6:05 PM

This article explains the results of a research study to see if pre-service elementary teachers will better understand how scientists work and think (NOS) if they interact with a scientist and his data. The article finds a positive correlation. The article does not provide much information on how to set up this sort of collaboration and does not provide students an opportunity to conduct their own research. As an introduction to NOS, it might be a good lesson to introduce majors and non-science majors to how science operates. I think it should be followed up with actual research experience so that students go to the next step. Interesting research study.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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