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Growing STEM Roots: Preparing Preservice Teachers

Abstract

"The shortage of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) middle school teachers, especially those in low income and high minority schools, is exacerbated by the fact that many of the teachers are not adequately prepared or supported to foster success and interest in science and mathematics (Boyd, Lankford, Loeb, Ronfeldt, & Wyckoff, 2011). This study explored designing teacher preparation with authentic research experiences combined with site- and content-specific professional development. Field based experiences utilized inquiry and other tools to increase content understanding and deepen views of the nature of science.

The purpose of this paper is to describe a mixed-methods pilot study investigating elementary and secondary pre-service teachers' mathematics and science content knowledge and conceptions of nature of science following the first year implementation of a science and mathematics site-based professional development program. The key elements of this transformative strategy for bolstering the elementary to middle levels science and mathematics teaching certification pathway for preservice teachers will be discussed. Findings in this study will offer insight regarding fostering and developing preservice teachers' math and science content knowledge and understandings of nature of science in teacher preparation programs."

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