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A Study of Teacher Candidates’ Experiences Investigating Global Climate Change Within an Elementary Science Methods Course

Abstract

We investigated the inclusion of a curricular module on global climate change in an Elementary Science Methods course. Using complementary research methods, we analyzed findings from 63 teacher candidates’ drawings, questionnaires, and journal entries collected throughout their participation in the module. We highlighted three focal cases to illustrate the diversity of participants’ experiences. Findings suggest potential positive impacts on teacher candidates’ content understanding related to global climate change, confidence to teach, and awareness of resources to support their future science instruction. Recommendations for science teacher education underscore the importance of providing opportunities for teacher candidates to increase their relevant content understanding, helping teacher candidates become familiar with appropriate curricular resources, and engaging in ongoing conversation and evaluation of developing views and understandings related to global climate change.

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Acknowledgments

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0455752. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Additional support for the development of the climate change module was provided by the Longview Foundation’s Global Awareness in Teacher Education (GATE) Fellows program.

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Correspondence to Emily Hestness.

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Hestness, E., Randy McGinnis, J., Riedinger, K. et al. A Study of Teacher Candidates’ Experiences Investigating Global Climate Change Within an Elementary Science Methods Course. J Sci Teacher Educ 22, 351–369 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-011-9234-3

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Keywords

  • Science teacher education
  • Global climate change
  • Elementary education
  • Socioscientific issues