, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 11-24

Introducing preservice teachers to issues surrounding evolution and creationism via a mock trial

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Abstract

Social studies and science education professors collaborated to introduce preservice teachers to the evolution vs. creationism debate via a mock trial. A hypothetical situation was created in which a sixth-grade teacher was fired for not balancing evolution and creationism in his teaching. Preservice teachers represented either the fired teacher or the school board in a trial that would reinstate the educator and affirm the right of the teacher to determine lesson content, or to uphold the decision for the teacher’s dismissal. Results suggested that the mock trial slightly increased students’ understanding of evolutionary principles. Students also reported themselves to be more aware of the difficulties of balancing evolution and creationism in science pedagogy.