Electronic Journal of Science Education V5 N4 - June 2001
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ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 5 - No. 4 - June 2001

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

Table of Contents

EJSE Editorial...

Summer Time...again!

John R. Cannon
Editor and Publisher

Guest Editorial...

What is Meant by Constructivist Science Teaching and
Will the Science Education Community Stay the Course for Meaningful Reform?


Larry D. Yore
University of Victoria

Article One

Writing Our Lived Experience: Beyond the (Pale) Hermeneutic?


David R Geelan
Edith Cowan University


Peter C Taylor
Curtin University


In this paper, we make a case for an alternative epistemology of research based on the hermeneutic-phenomenology of Max van Manen (1990). This interpretive approach to understanding the nature of a social phenomenon involves the researcher in making explicit the meaning of a particular lived experience, and generating a pedagogical thoughtfulness in his or her readers. The aim of hermeneutic-phenomenology is to create a dialogical text which resonates with the experiences of readers while, at the same time, evoking a critical reflexivity about their own pedagogical actions.

Article Two

Enhancing Motivation and Teaching Efficacy Through Web Page Publishing


Alice A. Christie, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, alice.christie@asu.edu

Peter Rillero, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA,

JoAnn V. Cleland, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, jo.cleland@asu.edu

Keith A. Wetzel, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, keith.wetzel@asu.edu

Ron Zambo, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, ron.zambo@asu.edu

Ray R. Buss, College of Education, Arizona State University West, USA, ray.buss@asu.edu


This article highlights two major benefits of guiding teachers through a collaborative process for developing instructional units and informing them in advance that their work will be published on the Internet. Through a nationally recognized project, in-service and pre-service teachers designed mathematics and science units for their own use, but also for dissemination through the Web. Participants indicated that knowing their work would be published motivated them to produce high-quality work. They also acknowledged that the collaborative process they used to develop these curricular units increased their self-efficacy for teaching mathematics and science.

Article Three

The Science of Nature and the Nature of Science: Natural History Museums On-line


Roy Hawkey
The Natural History Museum, London, UK

Abstract The websites of natural history museums worldwide contain a wealth of resources relating to the natural world. Much of this content includes high quality material that reflects not only the scientific study of nature but also the very nature of that science. This paper proposes a variety of criteria for evaluating the potential of such sites for enhancing student learning in science, especially in those aspects of the science curriculum concerned with processes, methods, evidence and interpretation. It then uses these to explore a number of natural history museum sites. The analysis reveals a diversity of perspectives and assumptions about the scientific research undertaken in natural history museums, especially in relation to taxonomy and systematics. It also identifies ways in which ideas about science itself – and about learning – are made explicit on museum websites.

Article Four

Daughters with Disabilities: Breaking Down Barriers


Penny Hammrich

Lynda Price


Graciela Slesaransky-Poe
Temple University


Daughters with Disabilities has been created to address the fact that individuals with disabilities, especially girls, are widely under-served and under-educated in the areas of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. The program is designed to encourage more girls with disabilities to prepare for the careers in mathematics, science, engineering, and technology that will dominate the 21st century. This paper describes a program that is breaking down barriers for girls with disabilities in special education settings who are currently educated in an urban public school district. It discusses a summary of the findings of a Demonstration Project funded by the National Science Foundation, while also continuing the dialogue of the challenges faced by both regular and special educators in terms of appropriate science, mathematics, and technology instruction for special needs learners in elementary classrooms.

Article Five

A Comparative Analysis of Pre-Service Teacher Analogies Generated For Process and Structure Concepts


Katharyn Ellen Ketter Nottis
Bucknell University


Jacqueline McFarland
Niagara University


Although pre-service teachers may use a variety of instructional analogies to facilitate conceptual understanding of abstract or unobservable ideas, little is known about the analogies they create. This exploratory study was undertaken to determine the effectiveness of science analogies generated by pre-service teachers and whether those analogies varied according to the abstractness of concepts. Sixty, upper-level, pre-service teachers were asked to generate and explain analogies for two science concepts found in elementary texts, the Earth’s interior structure and heat conduction in solids. The Earth’s layered interior was categorized as a “structure” concept and heat conduction in solids was identified as a “process” concept. Each generated analogy was then evaluated using a five-point validity scale that examined the extent to which it accounted for critical aspects of the concepts. Explanations about the generated analogies were also examined to determine conceptual understanding and detect misconceptions. Results showed a significant difference in the validity of analogies created to illustrate a process concept and those created to illustrate a structure concept. Generated analogies also revealed misconceptions about particulate matter, which could compromise their effectiveness for teaching about heat conduction. Implications for generating and using analogies, teacher preparation programs, and future research were addressed.

Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education

compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE

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