Date of Award

2-12-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Geeta Verma - Chair

Abstract

Recent reform efforts in science education have culminated in National Science Education Standards (NSES), which include the nature of science and science inquiry themes across all grade levels. Consideration must be given to pre-service science teachers’ nature of science conceptions and their perceived roles in implementing the nature of science in the science classroom. This qualitative study investigates how pre-service science teachers’ views about the nature of science develop and change when learning a college physics unit on waves in an urban university. The study uses case study methodology with four pre-service science teachers as individual units of analysis. Data regarding the participants’ views about the nature of science were collected before and after the instruction on the physics of waves unit. The research design used ‘The Views of Nature of Science/Views of Scientific Inquiry-Physics Questionnaire’ followed by structured interviews throughout the wave unit. In addition, the participants responded to daily questions that incorporated nature of science themes and constructed concept maps regarding the physics content and their nature of science understanding. After completing the VNOS/VOSI-PHYS questionnaire the pre-service science teachers’ views of the nature of science were found to be mainly naïve and transitional before the instruction. At the end of the wave unit instruction, the data indicated that conceptual change occurred in participants’ nature of science views, shifting toward informed views. The findings of this study provide evidence that using explicit instruction with specific activities, such as experiments and concept mapping, shifted the pre-service science teachers’ views away from naïve and toward informed.

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