The growing emphasis on disciplinary practices of math and science in the CCSSM and A Framework for K-12 Science Education/NGSS. CCSSM and NGSS require that teachers understand the relationship between conceptual understanding and practices of math and science, both from a disciplinary and pedagogical perspective. We know that STEM professionals and recent graduates have strong understandings of established knowledge in math and science, however we wanted to be sure our curriculum provided opportunities to develop the pedagogical content knowledge to: enable listening closely to students’ ideas, engage students in active knowledge construction, and to support disciplinary practices of math and science. We believe that to learn to do this teacher candidates must experience this kind of learning themselves in both their education courses.
While Dr. Pyke had regularly applied his background in mathematics, and Dr. Sikorski her background in physics to offer some opportunities to do science and do math in the methods courses, we felt these opportunities could be greatly enhanced through the content knowledge, perspectives, and resources made available by STEM faculty. Thus, with capacity building support we planned, piloted and studied two new modules in our courses that employed a collaborative authentic problem-based pedagogy to explore our assumptions.
Dr. Doebel from Biology and Dr. Sikorski co-designed and co-taugh the Science Methods I Course in fall 2015, infusing biological inquiry throughout the course. Dr. Dan Ullman, Professor of Mathematics, co-designed and co-taught with Dr. Pyke to support doing of math in the perspectives and research course, offered in spring 2016. Our long-term goal, if successful, was to expand the collaborations with chemistry, physics, and engineering faculty on the methods courses.
In an effort to capture and study moments where our pre-service math and science teachers engaged in, discussed, facilitated, or reflected on disciplinary practices of math and science the co-teaching modules in the courses were videotaped and analyzed. The following case studies were produced to document these class experiences and to highlight some findings from our analyses.