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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 3 - No. 4 - June 1999

Thank you for your interest in the Electronic Journal of Science Education, the first electronic journal of its kind devoted to the timely sharing of science education issues via the World Wide Web. The editors and review board hope you find the enclosed articles academically and professionally valuable.

John R. Cannon, Editor and Publisher

David T. Crowther, Associate Editor and Publisher
University of Nevada, Reno


"We Are Not Grease Monkeys Anymore."


John R. Cannon
Editor and Publisher

Guest Editorial...

When Public Understanding of Science Thwarts Standards-Based Science Education


John R. Staver
Center for Science Education
Kansas State University
1999 President, Association for the Education of Teachers in Science

Article One

Improving Graphing Intrepretation Skills and Understanding of Motion Using Microcomputer Based Laboratories


Michael Svec, Ph.D.
Furman University


The purpose of this study is to examine the relative effectiveness of the traditional lab method and the microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) for improving student understanding. Three areas of achievement were examined: graphing interpretation skills, interpreting motion graphs and understanding of motion The nonequivalent control-group design was selected with the treatment group conducting using MBL activities and the control group employing traditional laboratories. All the students were enrolled in introductory college physics classes. Item analysis revealed both control and treatment groups confused position, velocity, acceleration, and distance, velocity, and acceleration-time graphs on the pre-test. On the post-test, the control group scores improved only slightly. The treatment group demonstrated a less thorough understanding than the control on the pre-test, but the treatment group outperformed the control group on the post-test. Effect sizes were 0.78, 1.71 and 0.88 for graphing interpretation skills, interpreting motion graphs and conceptual understanding of motion respectfully. Results indicate that MBL laboratories are more effective than traditional lab for improving students' graphing interpretation skills, interpreting motion graphs and their understanding of motion. MBL is an effective tool for challenging students' naive beliefs.

Editors Note: We regret that the two figures orginally published in the manuscript below were in error. If you downloaded this
article before 8/3/99, please download again with the correct figures. We deeply apologize to the authors and our readers for this confusion.

Article Two

Pedagogical Content Knowledge Taxonomies


William R. Veal
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
CB #3500
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500


James G. MaKinster
Indiana University
School of Education
201 N. Rose Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405


Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) has been embraced by many of the recent educational reform documents as a way of describing the knowledge possessed by expert teachers. These reform documents have also served as guides for educators to develop models of science teacher development. However, few of the current models accurately address the role of PCK in science teacher professional development. This paper presents two taxonomies that offer a relatively comprehensive categorization scheme for future studies of PCK development in teacher education. The General Taxonomy of PCK addresses the distinctions within and between the knowledge bases of various disciplines, science subjects and science topics. The Taxonomy of PCK Attributes identifies the various components of PCK and characterizes their relative importance based on previously published studies. These organizational frameworks will serve to organize and integrate future research efforts.

Article 3

Supporting the Implementation of Inquiry-based Elementary Science Programs:
Setting the Stage for Local Reform


Andrew T. Lumpe
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901

Charlene M. Czerniak
University of Toledo
Toledo, OH 43606


Jodi J. Haney
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403


The primary goal of this report is to describe the context and support structures involved in the implementation of a National Science Foundation funded professional development program designed to train elementary teachers to use exemplary science curriculum materials. To conduct the program evaluation, a variety of data sources were used including teacher and principal questionnaires, academic year classroom observations, summer institute observations, teacher interviews, project team and Project Director interviews, student interviews, support teacher interviews, and teacher belief instruments. The following essential components were identified for the successful implementation of the systemic reform efforts:

    1) purposeful interactions among all important stakeholders in the project;
    2) peer mentoring by teacher leaders;
    3) purposeful experiences with the science curriculum materials;
    4) interdisciplinary connections to other key subjects such as reading and mathematics;
    5) adoption of quality science curriculum materials;
    6) professional development experiences that promote the nature of science;
    7) professional development on science content related to the curriculum materials; and
    8) experiences that lead to positive teacher beliefs.

EJSE's Exemplar Lesson Plans

Raphanus sativus, Germination, and Inquiry:
A Learning Cycle Approach for Novice Experimenters


Peter Rillero
Arizona State University West

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