Presidential Scholars Theses (1990 – 2006)


Open Access Presidential Scholars Thesis

First Advisor

Cherin Lee


Elementary school teachers--Training of; Science--Study and teaching (Elementary);


The idea of teaching science strikes fear into the hearts and minds of many elementary teachers; however, as a core piece of the overall curriculum, they cannot escape teaching science. The courses taken at the university and the professional development classes taken on the job play a critical role in helping educators feel comfortable teaching science. Such courses also impact how the content is taught by introducing the best practices used in science teaching.

As a Basic Science Minor in the College of Education at the University of Northern Iowa, I have taken many science content courses and several courses that educate about the different methods of teaching elementary school science. Because of such classes I feel very prepared to teach science in the classroom, but not all teachers feel the same level of preparedness or comfort related to teaching science. Noticing this brought about the overall question "What is the effectiveness of educator-oriented science classes?" and the related survey question "How many science content courses did you take in college? Which were geared toward teachers?" An educator-oriented science content course covers various science disciplines and are designed specifically for elementary education majors. They present science and learning science via pedagogical approaches considered good practice for teaching science. I realized not all in-service educators took an educator-oriented science class at their university, but they have all had opportunities to take professional development courses about science. This led to the second survey question, "How many professional development classes have you taken in each content area: life science, physical science, and earth science?" If the educator had taken an educator-oriented science class in college, attended a professional development class about science, or done both would it make a difference in their level of comfort for teaching science? Would it affect the way an educator taught science in the classroom?

Date of Award



Department of Biology

Presidential Scholar Designation

A paper submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation Presidential Scholar


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Object Description

1 PDF file (65 pages)

Date Digital



©2003 - Joslyn K. Burt





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