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Abstract

This research is a qualitative case study of pre-service teachers’ experiences with a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) module during a middle level interdisciplinary course in the teaching of mathematics and science. Data were collected through document analysis of participant reflection journals (during six distinct stem tasks) and college curriculum as well as an analysis of researcher observations of the STEM activities. While the first and last tasks were reflective and designed to identify pre-existing STEM experiences and post-module knowledge, respectively, the other four STEM tasks simulated student-centered STEM activities common to the middle level classroom. The data were analyzed for patterns and significant experiences among participants. Findings indicated that participants perceived little to no experiences with STEM in K-12 education and other college courses despite contradicting data from required college coursework. As the module progressed, participants developed improved self-efficacy and expanded definitions for the teaching of STEM at the middle level. Future recommendations include more purposeful connection of teaching methodology and STEM content courses taught in isolation. Additional research is needed in more consistent and authentic STEM field placements for the continued growth and support of STEM in middle level teacher preparation.

Keywords

STEM, Middle Level Education, Teacher Preparation, Case Study

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Stacie Nowikowski serves in the Saint Vincent College Education Department as an assistant professor in middle grade methods. Her areas of research are methods for improving middle level teacher preparation especially in the areas of collaboration, partnership building, and STEM. She is the past President for PA-Professors for Middle Level Education. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: stacie.nowikowski@stvincent.edu.

Publication Date

9-2-2016

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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