Teaching elements of nature of science: A yearlong case study of a fourth-grade teacher

Valarie L. Akerson, Fouad Abd-El-Khalick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined and supported the efforts of Tina, an experienced elementary teacher, in helping her fourth graders internalize informed views of the inferential, tentative, and creative nature of science (NOS). Tina held informed views of, and was motivated to teach about, NOS. The study aimed to answer the following question: What specific supports were needed to enable Tina to make the target NOS elements explicit in her teaching? The lead researcher visited Tina's classroom every week and interacted with her on a continuous basis. Data sources included classroom observations and videotapes, teacher NOS questionnaires and associated interviews, teacher-researcher communications, and teacher and researcher logs. Although Tina's understandings and intentions were necessary to enable her to teach about NOS, they were not sufficient. Tina needed support to translate her NOS views and intentions into pedagogically appropriate instructional activities that would make the target NOS aspects accessible to her students. Socially mediated support was needed at the personal level in terms of helping Tina activate her tacit NOS understandings, and at the professional level in terms of modeling explicit NOS instruction in Tina's own classroom by the lead researcher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1049
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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