Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 137-163

First online:

Awakening the Scientist Inside: Global Climate Change and the Nature of Science in an Elementary Science Methods Course

  • Juanita Jo MatkinsAffiliated withCurry School of Education, University of Virginia
  • , Randy L. BellAffiliated withSchool of Education, College of William & Mary

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This investigation assessed the impact of situating explicit nature of science (NOS) instruction within the issues surrounding global climate change and global warming (GCC/GW). Participants in the study were 15 preservice elementary teachers enrolled in a science methods course. The instructional intervention included explicit NOS instruction combined with explicit GCC/GW instruction situated within the normal elementary science methods curriculum. Participants’ conceptions of NOS and GCC/GW were assessed with pre- and postadministrations of open-ended questionnaires and interviews. Results indicated that participants’ conceptions of NOS and GCC/GW improved over the course of the semester. Furthermore, participants were able to apply their conceptions to decision making about socioscientific issues. The results provide support for context-based NOS instruction in an elementary science methods course.