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Perspectives on Deepening Teachers' Science Content Knowledge: The Case of the Southwest Pennsylvania Math Science Partnership

Abstract

"The Southwest Pennsylvania MSP's work in deepening teacher content knowledge has scalability and sustainability at its core. The project focuses its efforts on preparing teacher leaders, involving national experts from groups such as the BSCS National Academy of Curriculum Leadership and the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry. Over the course of two years, elementary teacher leaders (1) learn about science as a discipline, especially the role of inquiry in generating new knowledge; and (2) deepen their disciplinary content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge in selected areas of science. Prospective teacher leaders learn forces and motion content and consider classroom applications of what they are learning in the context of commonly-used student instructional materials. They learn about electricity by engaging with case materials developed by WestEd, which include analysis of student thinking instructional strategies for teaching that content. In turn, these teacher leaders engage other elementary teachers in their districts in defined learning experiences, drawn from the professional development materials and strategies they themselves had experienced."

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