Future science teachers serve a critical role in creating a scientifically literate citizenry. Their knowledge and understanding of the process by which science works, scientific inquiry, is fundamental to this goal of science education. This descriptive research study investigated pre-service secondary science teachers' conceptual understanding of scientific inquiry using concept maps. Thirty participants constructed concept maps describing the interrelationships among twelve scientific inquiry concepts. The concept maps were analyzed to determine how participants structured, organized, associated, and described the relationships between these concepts. The majority of participants did organize and associate a chain of inquiry concepts with one another into a scientific method series. Participants displayed an overall low number of associations between the twelve inquiry concepts. Of the concept pairs that were associated with one another, there was a lack of consistency in the linking words used to describe the relationship between them. Implications for science educators in the development and design of teaching about inquiry in pre-service teacher education programs and professional development opportunities are examined. Recommendations for further study into the conceptual understanding of beginning science teachers are also discussed.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. May 2013. Major: Teaching and Learning. Advisor: Dr. Bruce H. Munson. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 127 pages, appendices A-B.
Zak, Kevin M..
A descriptive study of pre-service science teachers' conceptual understanding of scientific inquiry using concept maps.
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