Date of Award

1-1995

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Paul Englesberg

Abstract

Science, learning about the natural world and mankind's inventions and discoveries, remains an integral part of the education children receive. Twice in less than thirty-five years concerns have been raised by educators, politicians and the public at large regarding the quality and quantity of science education in the elementary grades. The responses to these concerns have included United Nations studies, Presidential commissions, and in Oregon, legislation (1991). Textbook publishers have changed the format and content of their books and school districts have adopted revised curricula in the sciences. These changes have not succeeded in raising children's test scores in science. This inquiry focused on four teachers and how they utilized science in the classroom. Observations and conversation with both teachers and students were made. Teachers believed there was too little time in the school day to present more than a cursory science lesson. Three teachers who did attend teacher education classes felt intimidated by the instructors assumptions of their knowledge, felt the pace of the classes too fast; they dropped out of the class. In analysis, too little time spent was on teaching science, a number of teachers have few science lessons and do little to integrate their lessons, this may reflect individual teachers having a narrow scientific background. Conclusions reached are that teachers need time during the workday to learn to use science in their classroom, teachers need to have more science in their lessons and that the lessons need to be integrated with the other areas in the curriculum.

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