Science Museums and Specialized Content Courses for Prospective Elementary Teachers: Implications for Learning to Teach Science
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This study explores opportunities for preservice elementary teachers to experience science teaching and learning in informal settings and how this complements their learning in a specialized content course for teachers. We examined survey responses of 69 preservice teachers enrolled in a physical science content course who concurrently volunteered at a local science center, and how this experience served as a potential source of PCK. Survey responses indicate that, beyond simply learning about content and activities, preservice teachers can also learn much about learners as they observe children exploring science in informal settings, and that these experiences may shape their expectations for students' interest, knowledge, and abilities in science—expectations that can play an important role in their future science teaching, as well as the way in which they perceive the material they are learning in content courses as being appropriate for elementary learners.