Research in Science Education

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 267-288

First online:

A Complete Circuit is a Complete Circle: Exploring the Potential of Case Materials and Methods to Develop Teachers' Content Knowledge and Pedagogical Content Knowledge of Science

  • Kirsten R. DaehlerAffiliated with
  • , Mayumi ShinoharaAffiliated with

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This study explores the potential of science teaching cases to deepen teachers' content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge. Discussions of a single case were facilitated with three separate groups of elementary teachers (18 total). Transcriptions of these discussions were analysed according to what each group talked about, the depth of their discussions, and how and when they explored the meaning of challenging science concepts and related this understanding to their pedagogical reasoning. While many teachers began the discussion without a clear understanding of certain key concepts, after a two-hour case discussion and brief hands-on activities they collaboratively developed a deeper understanding of the content. At the same time teachers refined their pedagogical content knowledge around what makes this content hard or easy for Year 4 students and analysed instructional strategies to help students comprehend these tough concepts. Furthermore, the sequence of topics discussed appeared to influence the depth and richness of the group's pedagogical discourse.

science cases teacher education and pedagogical content knowledge