Meeting Abstract

P3.96  Jan. 6  Crazy Classroom Critters: using scientific inquiry in teacher education EIDIETIS, L.*; COFFMAN, M.; Eastern Michigan Univ.; Eastern Michigan Univ.

Pre-service teachers used invertebrates in an extended inquiry project during the class, Life Science for Elementary Teachers. Goals were that students 1) practice observation, questioning, posing explanations, and predicting outcomes of investigations and 2) positively change attitudes about invertebrates. We assessed the first goal using a Vee Map report of an investigation and the second using surveys of attitudes. Some students made observations, hypothesized explanations, and formed predictions based on hypotheses. For example, one team observed fiddler crabs hiding in shade, asked why the crabs did this, hypothesized that the crabs do not like light, and predicted that shining a light on a crab would cause movement. Too often, students did not constructively order science skills. Students formed unconnected observations, questions, hypotheses, and predictions, such as “Will mealworms migrate to their water source?” followed by “Mealworms move through cotton balls rather than around cotton balls.” Other students posed hypotheses very late in the project, such as concluding with the explanation: “We believe the mealworms changed their location so they could survive. Organisms must adapt to their environment to survive.” Some student attitudes improved. For instance, we doubled the percentage who would like a hermit crab as a pet and individuals developed new positions during this project. As a group, opinions stayed fairly constant. The most common stance, pre- and post-project, was that students did not mind looking at invertebrates, but only if contained. Encouragingly, over 80% of students planned to use animals in ongoing inquiry activities in the classroom. However, that attitude was not drastically affected by the project.