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The Development of Interdisciplinary Science Inquiry Curriculum Knowledge

Abstract

"This study is situated in a project called the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership (ISEP), a NSF - funded teacher professional development program between 12 public schools and 2 universities in the North Eastern United States. This teacher professional development program affords an opportunity to understanding the processes and conditions in which science teachers develop interdisciplinary science inquiry knowledge and how is that translated into their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in such a way that improves student learning. As part of that study and within the framework of pedagogical content knowledge in science, this paper explores development of science teachers' knowledge and practices about curriculums related to interdisciplinary science inquiry. This qualitative study utilizes a descriptive case study approach to understanding how three in - service teachers' curricular goals, in regards to interdisciplinary inquiry, are impacted as they take part in authentic research experiences. Results showed the following: (1) in order to promote teacher "buy-in" and implementation of interdisciplinary science inquiry (ISI), teachers' research experiences must be aligned with their perceived curricular goals; (2) the teachers' understanding of ISI impacted their perceived relevance of the research experience to their curriculum and classroom practices; (3) the Levels of Use spectrum (Hall, Loucks, Rutherford, & Newlove, 1975) is directly connected to how teachers viewed their summer research experience matching their curricular goals; and (4) contextual factors, both cultural and ecological, get in the way of teachers' implementation of doing ISI in the classroom."

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