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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 138-143

Student-Centered, Guided Inquiry Physical Science: A Novel Approach to Modeling Authentic Science for Pre-Service Teachers

Jeff S. Piquette*

Teacher Education Program, Colorado State University-Pueblo, 2200 Bonforte Blvd., Pueblo CO 81001,
Received February 3, 2014. Accepted March 20, 2014.

Published: 30 May 2014

Abstract. Understanding the nature of science is a crucial concept for anyone who teaches science. At the elementary level, there is a well-documented need for stronger preparation in this area. In particular, elementary teachers tend to use very rigid models for the scientific method, more direct instruction, and “cookbook” lab experiments. This is partly because these teachers are using the methods that they saw used when they took their own science and science methods courses during their preparation programs. This study was an investigation of the effects of using a much more student-centered, guided-inquiry approach to a physical science class for future elementary teachers on student understanding of the nature of science, content knowledge in physical science, and beliefs about how science should be taught. It was found that students left the class with a much more accurate view of the nature of science, comparable overall average grades (but with some significant differences among certain grade categories), and more positive feelings about how to teach authentic science to elementary students when compared to students who took this class using a more traditional format. Details of how the course was designed and implemented, along with corresponding data and suggestions for implementation are presented.

Key Words: In the Classroom; general chemistry; upper division undergraduate; catalysis; green chemistry; organometallics; synthesis; Group VI transition elements; NMR spectroscopy; microwave synthesis; phase transfer catalysispedagogy; guided-inquiry; nature of science; active learning; flipped classroom; student-centered; pre-service teachers

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (42 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Elementary Concepts in Physics & Chemistry Syllabus and Course Information Sheet “More Traditional Model” and Elementary Concepts in Physics & Chemistry Syllabus and Course Information Sheet “Flipped Model” are available as a PDF file. (40 KB).

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