Center for Mathematics and Science Education

The University of Mississippi

Building Content Knowledge of Elementary Teachers of Science
(BuCKETS) Project

The Building Content Knowledge of Elementary Teachers of Science (BuCKETS) Project is an IUSE: EHR Exploration and Design Tier for Engaged Student Learning project that works to bridge the gap between research, best practices, and curricular supports in the undergraduate classroom for preservice  elementary teachers (PSETs) at the University of Mississippi. Using a Design-Based Research (The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003) approach with an embedded treatment-control design, BuCKETS seeks to provide robust learning experiences for non-science majors, specifically preservice elementary teachers (PSETs) majors, resulting in 

1) increasing PSETs’ content knowledge (CK) in science,
2) increasing science pedagogical content knowledge (PCK), and
3) changing teaching practices related to non-major science undergraduates. 

Principal Investigator

Dr. Brooke A. Whitworth
bawhit@olemiss.edu
Assistant Professor of Science Education
School of Education, University of Mississippi


Co-Principal Investigators

Dr. Alice Steimle
asteimle@olemiss.edu
Associate Director
Center for Mathematics and Science Education, University of Mississippi

Dr. Julie James
jjames1@olemiss.edu
Assistant Director of Professional Learning
Center for Mathematics and Science Education, University of Mississippi


Senior Personnel

Dr. Whitney Jackson
wjackson@olemiss.edu
Science Professional Development Coordinator
Center for Mathematics and Science Education, University of Mississippi

Dr. Bin Xiao
bxiao@phy.olemiss.edu
Instructional Assistant Professor of Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Mississippi
  

Graduate Research Fellow

Lauren Simpson
Graduate Student in Secondary Science Education

This exploratory project will use two different research approaches in the program. The first is a design-based research approach (e.g. The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003). This approach strives to build a high-quality instructional program that includes the following:

-Continuous cycles of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign during the development;

-Documents and connects the enactment processes to outcomes of interest;

-Details how designs function in authentic settings and focuses on interactions that refine our understanding of the learning issues involved; and,

-Results in shareable theories that help communicate relevant implications to practitioners and other educational designers (The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003, p.5).

Selected data from the research part of the project will be used to: (a) identify the strengths and weaknesses of the course, (b) identify the various issues associated with implementing the course, (c) identify the components of the course that support learning and those that do not, and (d) inform future modifications of the course. This data will be collected and analyzed by the BuCKETS team, with changes made to the course.

In conjunction with the design-based research approach, there will be a formal research program, which will address these two questions using mixed methods: 

  1. How, if at all, does a physical science course designed specifically for PSETs impact students’ CK and PCK?
  2. How, if at all, does a physical science course designed specifically for PSETs impact teaching practices of higher education faculty? 

Participants will be recruited through the School of Education
advising office to take the BuCKETS phyiscal scinece course. Students who are enrolled in the same course number as the BuCKETS course will be recruited to serve as the control group. We will work to identify 40 students for each group, each year. Students will enroll in a semester long physical science course as
either treatment or control. Students will complete a pre-, post-, delayed-post diagnostic assessment. A subset (20%) of participants will be interviewed and artifacts will be collected from the students. Courses will also be observed four times a semester. Ideally, impacting PSETs in these ways will lead to changing science teaching practices in the elementary classroom with the ultimate goal of increasing elementary student achievement in science. 

If successful in improving the CK and PCK of PSETs, then there would be a reduced need for professional development focused on science content when these teachers are in the classroom. Furthermore, if successful, the curriculum designed has the potential to be used with not just PSETs, but also all undergraduate non-science majors, improving STEM education and creating a more scientifically literate populace.

Advisory Board

Deborah Hanuscin, Chair
Professor
Woodridge College of Education, Western Washington University

Ian Binns
Associate Professor
Cato College of Education, University of North Carolina

Luca Bombelli
Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Mississippi

Kirsten Daehler
Director
Making Sense of Science, West Ed

Laura Zangori
Assistant Professor
College of Education, University of Missouri

 

Curriculum Collaboration

Making Sense of Science at West Ed
The BuCKETS Project teamed with Making Sense of Science (MSS) to develop the Instructor Facilitation Guide and the Student Textbook for the Physics 107 course. The textbook, Making Sense of Physical Science for Undergraduate Learners, modifies previous MSS materials and adds some new to create a complete Conceptual Physics course.

Simpson, L., Whitworth, B.A., Jackson, W., James, J. & Steimle, A. (2020, April). Designing educative curriculum materials for physical science to impact preservice elementary teachers. A poster for the annual meeting of the Graduate Student Council Research Symposium, Oxford, Mississippi. (canceled)

 Whitworth, B. A., Simpson, L., Jackson, W., James, J. & Steimle, A. (2020, April). Utilizing physical science educative curriculum materials to impact preservice elementary teachers. A poster for the annual meeting of the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning Conference, Oxford, Mississippi. (canceled)

 Whitworth, B. A., Simpson, L., Jackson, W., James, J. & Steimle, A. (2020, March). Impacting preservice elementary teachers through physical science educative curriculum materials. A paper for the annual meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching, Portland, OR. (canceled)

 Whitworth, B. A., Simpson, L., Jackson, W., James, J. & Steimle, A. (2020, January). Designing physical science educative curriculum materials for preservice elementary teachers to impact attitudes toward science. A poster for the Association of Science Teacher Education, San Antonio, TX.

Publications are currently in development.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1833147. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.