Graduation Year

2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ed.D.

Degree Granting Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Major Professor

Ignash, Jan.

Keywords

teacher education, active learning, surveys, teaching methods, elementary education

Abstract

This study's purpose was to investigate the differences in the attitudes towards science, belief in science, and the understanding of the nature of science between pre-service elementary education majors who took a two-semester interdisciplinary course called "Science That Matters" (ISC 1004 & ISC 1005) with those pre-service elementary education majors who took two undergraduate science courses other than the two-semester interdisciplinary science course. The research method employed a 30-item survey (Moore & Foy, 1997) entitled Scientific Attitude Inventory II. The survey's participants were two classes who had taken both semesters of the interdisciplinary course (n = 23) compared with six classes of elementary education majors who had taken two other undergraduate science courses other than the two-semester interdisciplinary course (n = 46).

A two-tailed t-test was used to examine the differences in the means between the two groups as to their attitudes towards science, belief in science and their understanding of the nature of science. The study concluded that among the survey participants, there was no statistical difference as to the three dependent variables (attitudes towards science, belief in science, and the understanding of the nature of science) when testing for the independent variable (participants who had taken the two-semester interdisciplinary course and those who took two different science courses). The author suggests the results provide evidence that the two-semester interdisciplinary course holds its own when compared to other elective science courses, based on this evaluation of the students' attitudes toward science, belief in science and the understanding of the nature of science.

Continuing research concerning this interdisciplinary course is needed to accumulate data which may show an advantage for students who take this course in learning and appreciating science for future elementary education teachers.

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