We explored adaptations to an elementary science methods course to determine how varied contexts could improve elementary preservice teachers' conceptions of NOS as well as their ideas for teaching NOS to elementary students. The contexts were (a) NOS Theme in which the course focused on the teaching of science through the consistent teaching and learning about NOS in all course activities, (b) Reflective NOS Teaching in which the course focused on developing explicit and reflective practice regarding NOS during portions of the semester, (c) Problem-Based Learning context in which local problem-based science scenarios were used to teach about NOS in an explicit and reflective manner, and (d) NOS embedded into Authentic Inquiry in which the learning and teaching of NOS occurred in conjunction with completing a long term science investigation suitable for use in elementary classrooms. We found that all preservice teachers improved in their conceptions of NOS in all four contexts, but to varying degrees. Preservice teachers described different strategies for teaching NOS by context. Our results show many contexts can be used to improve conceptions about NOS and the teaching of NOS, but certain contexts may support the learning of particular NOS ideas and the teaching of those ideas better than others.
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