Kristin L Gunckel
- Professor, Teaching/Learning and Sociocultural Studies
- Member of the Graduate Faculty
- Ph.D. Teaching, Curriculum, and Educational Policy
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan
- Preservice Elementary Teachers Learning to Use Curriculum Tools to Plan and Teach Science Lessons
- M.S. Geology
- University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
- Intrusion Emplacement and Thrust Faulting, Pioneer Mountains, Beaverhead County, Montana
- B.S. Geology
- Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2014 - Ongoing)
- University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona (2008 - 2014)
- Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan (2003 - 2008)
- Mid Michigan Public School Academy (2002)
- 21st Century Public School Academy (2001 - 2002)
- Albuquerque Public Schools (1999 - 2001)
- New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science (1994 - 1999)
- Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (1990 - 1993)
- U.S. Bureau of Mines (1989)
- U.S. Geological Survey (1987)
- Outstanding Mentor
- UA Graduate and Professional Student Council, Spring 2017
Licensure & Certification
- Secondary Science Teaching Certification, Univeristy of New Mexico (1998)
My teaching builds from and contributes to my research agenda. My undergraduate courses are the context in which I conduct and apply my research on preparing prospective elementary teachers to teach science. In TLS 324 Teaching Science in Elementary Schools, I work with preservice teachers and their mentor teachers to plan and teach science that engages students in inquiry learning experiences. My graduate courses focus on the research literature addressing both strands of my research and incorporate readings, discussions, and assignments that address how students learn about science and how prospective teachers learn to teach science. Graduate courses that I teach include TTE 519 Learning in Science & Mathematics; TTE 542 School Mathematics and Science: History, Curriculum & Reform; and TTE 538 Research on Preparing Elementary Teachers in Science and Mathematics Teaching.
My research follows two related strands in science education and science teacher education. In the area of science education, I focus on the development of learning progressions for environmental science literacy and the support of teachers in using learning progressions in classroom instruction. I am co-developer of a learning progression for understanding water in environmental systems. I am co-PI on the Comp Hydro Project (NSF STEM+C) to integrate computational thinking into learning about water in environmental systems in high school science courses. I was also co-PI on the Tools for Reasoning for Understanding Water Systems Project (NSF-DRK-12) to develop classroom formative assessments and instructional tools based on this learning progression. In addition, I am co-developer of middle and high school curriculum materials for learning about water in the environment, also funded by NSF grants. In the area of science teacher education, my research focuses on preparing preservice elementary teachers to teach science and engage students in scientific practices. My work focuses on developing approaches to support preservice teachers in planning inquiry-based science lessons and making connections between what they learn in university science methods courses and their field placement classrooms in schools. I was a senior researcher on the Beyond Bridging: Co-education of Preservice and Inservice Elementary Teachers in Science and Mathematics Project (NSF DRK-12).
DissertationTLS 920 (Fall 2021)
DissertationTLS 920 (Spring 2021)
Elementary Science EducationTLS 308 (Spring 2021)
Preceptor-University TeachingTLS 791A (Spring 2021)
DissertationTLS 920 (Fall 2020)
Learning in Science & MathTLS 519 (Fall 2020)
Preceptor-University TeachingTLS 791A (Fall 2020)
Teaching Sci in Elemtry SchoolTLS 324 (Fall 2020)
DissertationTLS 920 (Spring 2020)
Elementary Science EducationTLS 308 (Spring 2020)
Equity Math/Science EdTLS 541 (Spring 2020)
DissertationTLS 920 (Fall 2019)
Elementary Science EducationTLS 308 (Fall 2019)
Preceptor-University TeachingTLS 791A (Fall 2019)
DissertationTLS 920 (Spring 2019)
Independent StudyTLS 699 (Spring 2019)
School Mathematics and ScienceTLS 542 (Spring 2019)
Tch Sci+Hlth:Persch-ElemTLS 314 (Spring 2019)
DissertationTLS 920 (Fall 2018)
Preceptor-University TeachingTLS 791A (Fall 2018)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Fall 2018)
Classroom ResearchTTE 793A (Spring 2018)
DissertationTTE 920 (Spring 2018)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Spring 2018)
Classroom ResearchTTE 793A (Fall 2017)
DissertationTTE 920 (Fall 2017)
Learning in Science & MathTTE 519 (Fall 2017)
Preceptor-University TeachingLRC 791A (Fall 2017)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Fall 2017)
Issues in TeachingTLS 496C (Summer I 2017)
Topics Teacher EducationTTE 596C (Summer I 2017)
Classroom ResearchTTE 793A (Spring 2017)
DissertationTTE 920 (Spring 2017)
Rsrch Prep Elem Tchr Math/SciTTE 538 (Spring 2017)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Spring 2017)
DissertationTTE 920 (Fall 2016)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Fall 2016)
DissertationTTE 920 (Spring 2016)
Science+Health Elem SchTLS 324 (Spring 2016)
- Gunckel, K. L. (2019). What does queer theory have to do with teaching science in elementary schools?. In STEM of Desire: Queer Theories in Science Education. Brill.
- Gunckel, K. L., Mohan, L., Covitt, B. A., & Anderson, C. W. (2012). Addressing challenges in developing learning progressions for environmental science literacy. In Learning progressions in science(pp 39-75). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publications.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2019). Repairing Elementary School Science. Theory into Practice, 58(1), 1-9. doi:10.1080/00405841.2018.1536918
- Covitt, B. A., Gunckel, K. L., Caplan, B., & Syswerda, S. (2018). Teachers’ use of learning progression-based formative assessment in water instruction. Applied Measurement in Education, 31(2), 938-961. doi:10.1080/08957347.2017.1408627
- Gunckel, K. L., & Tolbert, S. E. (2018). The imperative to move toward a dimension of care in engineering education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(7), 938-961. doi:doi.org/10.1002/tea.21458.
- Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., & Salinas, I. (2018). Learning progressions as tools forsupporting teacher content knolwedge and pedagogical content knowledge about water in environmental systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(9), 1339-1361. doi:doi.org/10.1002/tea.21454
- Arenas, A., Gunckel, K. L., & Smith, W. L. (2016). 7 reasons for accommodating transgender students at school. Kappa Delta Pi, 98(1), 20-24.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Wood, M. B. (2016). The Principle-Practical Discourse Edge: Elementary Preservice and Mentor Teachers Working Together on Co-Learning Tasks. Science Education, 100(1), 96-121. doi:10.1002/sce.21187More infoA major challenge in preparing elementary teachers to teach inquiry-basedscience is finding qualified mentor teacherswho use research-based approaches to teach science in their classrooms. This situation means preservice teachers often see few connections between the research-based principles for teaching science they learn in university-based coursework and the science teaching practices they see in their classroom field placements. We attempted to resolve this situation by creating opportunities for preservice and mentor teachers to learn together. We developed colearning tasks where preservice and mentorteachers collaborated to apply principles of science inquiry and equitable learning to analyze and modify common elementary science curriculum materials.We borrowed from the field of ecology to develop an edge effects framework that enabled an analysis of when and how preservice and mentor teachers connected principle- and practical-based discourses while engaged in the colearning tasks. Our findings suggest that the colearning tasks supportedpreservice and mentor teachers in connecting research-based principles to practical classroom contexts. However, working on these tasks together was sometimes challenging for both preservice and mentor teachers. We discuss the affordances and constraints of the colearning tasks and the framing of the principle–practical divide as an edge rather than a gap.
- Caplan, B., Gunckel, K. L., Warnock, A. .., & Cano, A. (2013). Investigating water pathways in schoolyards. Green Teacher, 98, 28-33.More infoThis article describes activities in curriculum materials developed by the co-authors for investigating water pathways in school yards. This publication is a practitioner publication for teachers looking for environmental education curriculum.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2013). Fulfilling multiple obligations: Preservice elementary teachers' use of an instructional model while learning to plan and teach science. Science Education, 97(1), 139-162.More infoAbstract: Recent efforts to design science methods course frameworks that scaffold preservice teachers in organizing inquiry instructional sequences show promise, yet preservice teachers do not always use these frameworks when they teach in school field placements. This article uses a Discourses lens to explore how two preservice elementary teachers' sense of obligation shaped their use of an instructional model in their science planning and teaching. The preservice teachers' course assignments, planned and enacted instructional sequences, and stimulated recall interviews were analyzed to characterize how their sense of obligations as students in a university science methods course and as student teachers in their school field-placement classrooms enabled and constrained their use of the instructional model. Findings show that the preservice teachers encountered multiple Discourses across communities. These Discourses shaped the obligations that preservice teachers were expected to fulfill. The preservice teachers used the instructional model when it supported them in meeting their obligations to others. These findings have implications for situating teacher orientations in Discourses, understanding the role of mentor teachers in supporting preservice teachers in using instructional models, and framing the function of preservice teachers' subject-matter knowledge for using instructional models. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Salinas, I., Covitt, B. A., & Gunckel, K. L. (2013). Substances in water: Learning progressions for designing curricular interventions. Educacion Quimica, 24(4), 391-398.More infoAbstract: In this article, we present a learning progression framework for connecting chemistry curriculum to student reasoning about substances mixing in water and moving through environmental systems. We argue that model-based understanding of solutions and suspensions is necessary for informed engagement in public debate about environmental issues. Curriculum and instruction that supports students in developing this model-based reasoning must be responsive to student ways of viewing the world and support students in developing more model-based perspectives. We present an evidence-based learning progression for substances in water and propose principles for curriculum design and teaching of general chemistry topics based on this learning progression that attends to student thinking. We contend that a focus on students' meaning-making processes can inform the development and influence of chemistry knowledge in the public debate about water resources and environmental issues about water. © Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
- Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., Salinas, I., & Anderson, C. W. (2012). A learning progression for water in socio-ecological systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(7), 843-868.More infoAbstract: Providing model-based accounts (explanations and predictions) of water and substances in water moving through environmental systems is an important practice for environmental science literacy and necessary for citizens confronting global and local water quantity and quality issues. In this article we present a learning progression for water in environmental systems for students in elementary through high school grades. We investigated student accounts of water and substances in water moving through atmospheric, surface, and soil/groundwater systems, including human-engineered components of these systems. Using an iterative process of model design, assessment, and interpretation, we identified four levels of achievement in student reasoning. Levels 1 and 2 force-dynamic accounts explain movement of water as interactions between natural tendencies of water and countervailing powers. Level 3 incomplete school science accounts put events in order and trace water and substance along multiple pathways that include hidden and invisible components. Only Level 4 qualitative model-based accounts include driving forces and constraining factors to explain or predict where water and substances in water move in given situations. The majority of high school students on average provide accounts between levels 2 and 3. We discuss the significance of these results for citizen participation in addressing common water issues. We end with suggestions for how the water learning progression can be used to inform changes to curricula, assessment, and instruction to support students in achieving level 4 performance. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 49: 843-868, 2012 Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2011). Mediators of a Preservice Teacher's Use of the Inquiry-Application Instructional Model. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22(1), 79-100.More infoAbstract: This paper reports on one preservice teacher's use of the Inquiry-Application Instructional Model (I-AIM) to plan and teach an instructional sequence on photosynthesis to 5th-grade students. Analysis of the preservice teacher's planned and enacted instructional sequences and interviews shows that the preservice teacher was successful in leveraging the conceptual change but not the inquiry aspects of the I-AIM. The mediators of this preservice teacher's use of the I-AIM included her approach to teaching science, the curriculum materials she had available, and the meanings she made of the underlying frameworks. Understanding the mediators of preservice teachers' uses of instructional models can inform teacher educators' approaches to supporting preservice teachers in using instructional models for organizing science instructional sequences. © 2010 The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2010). Using experiences, patterns, and explanations to make school science more like scientists’ science. Science and Children, 48(1), 46-49.More infoThis article provides a framework, called Experiences-Patterns-Explanations, for how teachers can organize instruction to engage students in scientists' science. This article was published in a peer-reviewed practitioner journal to make the framework accessible and useful to classroom teachers.
- Covitt, B., Gunckel, K., & Anderson, C. (2009). Students' developing understanding of water in environmental systems. Journal of Environmental Education, 40(3), 37-51.More infoAbstract: The authors developed a framework of empirically grounded curricular goals for water science literacy and documented the challenges that students face in achieving these goals. Water related environmental science literacy requires an understanding of connected natural and human-engineered systems at multiple scales ranging from atomic-molecular (changes of state and solutions) to large (watersheds, aquifers, and human water-purification and distribution systems). The authors' assessments of students from upper elementary school through high school suggest that virtually all students have some important understandings of water on which educators can build. Yet, the authors found that most students do not systematically trace water and other materials through systems and do not account for invisible aspects of water systems at the atomic-molecular and landscape scales. The results revealed a contrast between students' informal accounts of water in environmental systems and scientific accounts of these systems. The authors discuss curricular implications and the importance of helping students develop a richer understanding of water systems at multiple scales. © 2009 Heldref Publications.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2009). Queering science for all: Probing queer theory in science education. Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 25(2), 62-75.
- Schwarz, C. V., Gunckel, K. L., Smith, E. L., Covitt, B. A., Bae, M., Enfield, M., & Tsurusaki, B. K. (2008). Helping elementary preservice teachers learn to use curriculum materials for effective science teaching. Science Education, 92(2), 345-377.More infoAbstract: Curriculum analysis, modification, and enactment are core components of teacher practice. Beginning teachers rely heavily on curriculum materials that are often of poor quality to guide their practice. As a result, we argue that preservice teachers need to learn how to use curriculum materials for effective teaching. To address this concern, the authors conducted a study in which three teacher educators taught elementary science methods courses incorporating a major focus on curriculum analysis and modification based on Project 2061 Instructional Analysis Criteria. Analysis of pre-post assessments, classroom artifacts, classroom dialogue, and postcourse interviews indicated that preservice teachers accurately applied and appropriated a modest set of criteria whose intended meanings most closely matched their own understandings, were most closely aligned with their own goals and criteria, or were made accessible through systematic use and attention within the methods sections. However, many did not find the materials analysis criteria useful or comprehensible and based their curricular decisions on their own criteria. Furthermore, some preservice teachers resisted engaging in these practices that may have seemed too analytical, inauthentic, and destabilizing. These findings pointed us toward a revised theoretical framework and new approaches to better support preservice teachers' effective participation with curriculum materials. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- Gunckel, K. L. (1999). Ecosystem explorations: Connecting an ecology field experience to the classroom.. Science and Children, 37(1), 18-23.
- Gunckel, K. L. (1994). Research-based geology and paleontology education for elementary- and secondary-school students. Journal of Geological Education, 42(5), 420-423.More infoAbstract: Fifth and sixth graders at Hancock Field Station, Fossil, Oregon, participate in hands-on, long-term research projects designed to provide students with an understanding of scientific processes and concepts. Students participating in the Slanting Leaf Beds Project systematically collect paleobotanical specimens from a well bedded, lacustrine tuff in the Oligocene John Day Formation, Oregon, and, guided by field-station instructors, develop questions and hypotheses, collect and test data, and formulate conclusions. The project provides students with hands-on experience, reveals basic geologic and palaeontologic principles, exposes students to the scientific process, illustrates strengths and weaknesses of scientific inquiry, and provides experience observing, interpreting, integrating, and presenting information in a way few other teaching techniques provide. -from Author
- Gunckel, K. L. (1990). McCartney Mountain intrusion: A bulged sheet intrusion emplaced along a thrust fault during thrust movement. Northwest Geology, 19(1), 14-22.
- Wood, M. B., & Gunckel, K. L. (2017, Fall). Do you see what I see? Connecting mathematics to the real world. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual North American Chapter of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, 1218-1221.
- Gunckel, K. L., Cooper-Wagoner, J., Covitt, B. A., Love, G., Boone, R., & Berkowitz, A. (2018, March). Student ideas about computational thinking concepts when learning about modelling hydrologic systems.. NARST. Atlanta, GA.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Tolbert, S. E. (2017, spring). Questioning the politics, ethics, and economics of the engineering education movement. Paper presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association Meeting,. San Antonio, TX.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2016, April). Queering perspectives on production and regulation of difference in STEM education. Annual Meeting of the National Association of Research in Science Teaching.
- Covitt, B. A., Gunckel, K. L., & Salinas, I. (2015, April). Learning about surface water flow as a result of learning progression-based water instruction. Paper presented at the 2015 Annual International Conference of the presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching. Chicago, IL.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Canipe, M. (2015, April). Practical considerations: Elementary preservice teachers’ uses of principle-based inquiry in planning and teaching science. Paper to be presented at the 2015 Annual International Conference of the presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching. Chicago, IL.More infoA persistent challenge in preparing elementary preservice teachers to teach inquiry science is convincing preservice teachers that principle-based approaches to teaching science are useful for addressing practical problems that teachers face in elementary classrooms. To understand this situation better, we explored when, how, and why three preservice elementary teachers used the principle of placing experiences before explanations during instruction when planning and teaching science in their elementary classrooms. We videorecorded preservice teachers teaching a science lesson and interviewed them about their teaching decisions. Using practicality theory as a lens, we examined preservice teachers decisions about whether the principle helped them address the practical problems of teaching that they encountered as preservice teachers. We found that for these preservice teachers, the practicality of putting experiences before explanations when teaching science was influenced by the ways in which the preservice teachers perceived their obligations to their mentor teachers. While teacher educators have long recognized the influence of mentor teachers in preservice teachers’ enactments of principles from science methods courses, our analysis provides some understanding of the reasons for how and why this phenomenon occurs.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Koestler, C. C. (2015, February). Speaking Out: Educating teachers to be Allies for LGBTQ-identified students, families, and communities. Invited presentation at the annual meeting of the Association of Teacher Educators. Phoenix, AZ.
- Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., Cano, A., & Salinas, I. (2015, April). Teacher pedagogical content knowledge for using learning progressions. Paper to be presented at the 2015 Annual International Conference of the presented at the National Association of Research in Science Teaching. Chicago, IL.
- Canipe, M., & Gunckel, K. L. (2014, April). Coming together: Preservice and mentor teachers’ negotiation of meaning in joint spaces. Paper presented at the 2014 Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Pittsburg, PA.More infoHybrid spaces have been recommended in teacher education as a way to provide preservice teachers with access to many sources of knowledge (Zeichner, 2010). While these spaces have the potential to provide new opportunities for learning for both preservice and mentor teachers they are not without risks for their participants, especially in terms of traditional hierarchies that exist between preservice and mentor teachers. By examining the interactions that occurred between mentor teachers and preservice teachers during a joint learning event, we explored the interactions and negotiation of meanings in one of these hybrid spaces. Through this exploration we identified ways in which preservice teachers participated in the negotiation and developed ownership of meanings within the community. Preservice teachers often had difficulty getting their ideas into the discussion. In these cases their ideas were rejected, ignored, or they were interrupted as they tried to make contributions. However, there were occasions that preservice teachers were able to participate in the negotiation and/or share in the ownership of mentor teacher ideas. This occurred in situations were the preservice teachers aligned with mentors’ ideas; when an external influence facilitated preservice teacher participation; and when the preservice teachers were able to use imagination to connect their ideas to the meanings of the mentor teachers. Both preservice and mentor teachers encountered risks during the negotiation of meanings within these groups and these risks were mitigated through the patterns of participation that occurred in small group discussions.
- Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., & Salinas, I. (2014, Spring). Teachers' uses of learning progression-based tools for reasoning in teaching about water in environmental systems.. Paper presented at the 2014 Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Pittsburg, PA.More infoLearning progressions are a potentially powerful tool for supporting students in developing model-based reasoning. Using learning progressions to scaffold student learning in the classroom requires learning progression-based instructional resources. In this project we designed formative assessments and graphic reasoning tools that teachers could use across a variety of instructional sequences to elicit and respond to student thinking and engage students in activities that would support increasingly sophisticated reasoning about water in environmental systems. We used a quasi-experimental design to test these tools. Ten middle school teachers participated in a four-day workshop on integrating the tools into their instruction. Eight teachers who did not attend the workshop served as comparison teachers. We administered the Water Systems Learning Progression Assessment to students in all teachers’ classes, pre and post instruction about water. Assessments were coded using the levels of achievement in the Water Systems Learning Progression. Overall, students in participant teachers’ classes showed a significantly greater pre-post gain on the assessment than students in comparison teachers’ classes (t(461) = 3.59, p
- Wood, M. B., & Gunckel, K. L. (2014, Spring). Celebrating not creating: Leveraging existing third spaces for teacher preparation. In W. Doyle (Chair), Using Third Spaces in Teacher Education Design.. Paper presented at the 94th meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Philadelphia, PA.More infoTeacher educators seek to close the metaphorical gap in teacher preparation byconstructing third spaces in which individuals representing the university and the K-12classroom are brought together to hybridize the disparate worlds of the university and theclassroom. Bruna (2009) critiqued this framing of third space in arguing that Bhabha’s(1994) initial description of third space assumes that hybridization already happens and isnot to be created or achieved, but rather affirmed.Our study starts with Bruna’s assumption that classroom teachers are already engaged inhybrid discourses that link principle and practical knowledge, but that they may not havemany opportunities to engage in this talk with prospective teachers or with each other.Our project seeks to explore these existing hybridizations in order to identify and thenenhance opportunities for mentor teachers (MTs) and prospective teachers (PSTs) toengage in this productive discourse.To reach our goal, we constructed a series of events in which MTs and PSTs workedtogether on professional development tasks related to mathematics and science teaching.We videotaped, transcribed, and analyzed these interactions, noting moments ofprinciple-based, practical-based, and hybridized (or intertwined) discourse. This researchhas suggested several principles for increasing MT/PST hybrid discourse.1) Hybrid discourse does not require the participation of individuals from disparateworlds (i.e. university faculty and classroom teachers). However, it is more likely tooccur as individuals introduce and build upon different perspectives. For example, twoMTs explored how their experiences at different grade levels resulted in differentexplanations for children’s activity.2) Hybrid discourse is more likely to occur when participants have equal footing.When individuals take up positions where their ideas have equal value, they are able tojointly explore connections across principle and practical discourses. This footing is notstable and may shift across a sequence of interactions. For example, a PST used her lifeexperiences to hybridize with MT talk about teaching. Later, the PST talk was limited topractical questions about how to teach a lesson.have multiple entry points, and are relevant to teaching and children’s learning. Whentasks rely too much on one person’s expertise, it limits the opportunities for allparticipants to explore the task, as when PSTs rely on MTs to tell them how to teach aparticular lesson. In contrast, when MTs and PSTs interviewed children about content,the novel joint experience raised many interesting questions that provoked rich, hybridexploration.By focusing on existing hybridization, we have shifted our conversations away fromlamentations of differences between the university and the K-12 classroom and towardmore positive and productive conversations about teacher (and teacher educator)discourses. This shift has provided opportunities to analyze hybrid discourses and betterunderstand how and when they occur so that we might better leverage them for thelearning of PSTs.
- Alan, B. R., Moore, J. C., Gunckel, K. L., & Ray, T. (2013, February). Learning progression-based teaching strategies for environmental science: Alignment of instructional goals with student outcomes.. Presentation at the NSF Math Science Partnership Learning Network Conference. Washington, D.C..
- Doyle, W., Gunckel, K. L., Wood, M. B., & Turner, E. E. (2013, September). Blending pedagogical theory and practice in preservice science teacher education. Paper presented at the 10th Biannual Conference of the European Science Education Research Association. Nicosia, Cyprus.More infoUniversity of ArizonaDespite decades of determined effort, the models of ambitious, inquiry-oriented science teaching promoted in university-based teacher education courses often do not make the transition to the actual classroom practices of preservice and beginning teachers. The work reported in this paper is drawn from the Beyond Bridging project currently underway at The University of Arizona (USA) and sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation. A fundamental premise of this project was that overcoming the disconnection between methods instruction and classroom practice is a bridging design problem, that is, structures and experiences can be invented to blend these realms. We initiated, therefore, a design study to learn more about how the distance between course and classroom could be reconfigured and how we could support the preservice teachers’ journey better to help insure that what they were learning in their methods classrooms could be situated and utilized in their classroom placements. This paper is a summary report of our experience to date in (a) understanding the complex dynamics that separate methods and classrooms and (b) designing and testing elements that promise to integrate the two domains.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2013, May). Teacher knowledge for using learning progressions in classroom instruction and assessment. In E. M. Furtak (Chair), A critical appraisal of learning progressions in science: Exploring the intersection of science assessment, policy, & practice.. Paper presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.More infoMany have argued that learning progressions have the potential to bring coherence to curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Until recently, however, learning progressions have been primarily research constructs and frameworks for curriculum development. Little attention has been paid to teacher understanding and use of learning progressions. This paper uses a pedagogical content knowledge framework to consider what knowledge of learning progressions teachers might need for instruction and how learning progressions can support the deepening of teacher pedagogical content knowledge for teaching particular topics in science. I argue that learning progressions have the potential to shape teachers’ orientations to science teaching and student thinking and deepen teachers’ knowledge of curriculum, student understandings of science, assessment, and instruction. However, preliminary findings from exploratory research on teachers’ understanding and use of learning progressions suggests that learning progressions, in their current form, are not easily accessible and useable for teachers in the classroom. If learning progressions are going to live up to their potential as coherence-building frameworks, increased attention must be paid to what aspects of learning progressions are important for teachers to understand and use in their teaching and how to support teachers in learning about and using learning progressions in their practice.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Wood, M. B. (2013, May). Characteristics of joint events for constructing third spaces. In W. Doyle (Chair), Realizing third spaces in teacher education.. Paper presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, CA.More infoTo address the disconnects between the cultural models, or Discourses (Gee, 1991) that PSTs experience in their science and mathematics methods courses and their field placement classrooms, we designed joint events to bring PSTs and MTs together for learning about science and mathematics teaching. We hypothesized that in these joint events, the sense-making resources of the various Discourses may be shared and taken up by others in ways that allow PSTs and MTs to make connections between methods course and field placement classroom experiences and perspectives. We refer to the space in which this sharing of resources happens as the third space (Gutierrez, Baquedano-Lopez, & Tajeda, 1999; Moje, et al., 2004).We designed three types of joint events to facilitate construction of a third space. These types of events were: • Methods Course Co-learning Events: PSTs and MTs participated as co-learners of science and mathematics pedagogical frameworks for inquiry science teaching, problem-solving mathematics teaching.• Methods Course Co-teaching Events: MTs visited science or mathematics methods class sessions to share classroom-based expertise. • Disciplinary Co-learning Events: PSTs and MTs participated as co-learners in conducting scientific and mathematical investigations.For this paper, the focal research question was: What features of these joint events facilitated opportunities for construction of a third space? Data collected included video and audio recordings of preservice and mentor teachers’ interactions, interviews with preservice and mentor teachers about their experiences in the joint events, and post-joint event audio recordings of preservice and mentor teacher conversations about planning and teaching. We analyzed the data using third space frameworks (Gorodetsky & Barak, 2008; Lampert, 2001) to identify instances in which PSTs and/or MTs took up each other’s talk, perspective, or activity as resources for sense-making. We then characterized common features across these instances.Across these three types of joint events, two features were important for creating third space opportunities. First, effective joint events afforded Discourse boundary spanning objects or tasks (Buxton, Carlone, Carlone, 2005) that were accessible through the Discourses of both the PSTs and the MTs. Examples included joint analysis of video of student mathematical or science talk in the both the science and mathematics methods course co-learning events, joint analysis of curriculum materials during a science methods co-learning event, and use of an observation protocol based on inquiry science teaching frameworks that MTs used to provide PSTs with feedback on teaching during the science methods course co-teaching event. Second, effective joint learning spaces provided a common experience for PSTs and MTs to reference during subsequent preservice-mentor teacher conversations about planning and teaching. Examples included conducting and analyzing student mathematics interviews in the mathematics methods course co-learning events, solving classic algebraic problems in order to understand the role of pattern seeking in mathematics during the mathematics co-learning events, and conducting an ecological inquiry project during a science co-learning event. These findings provide criteria for the design of PST-MT joint events that can facilitate construction of third spaces for PSTs and MTs learning about ambitious science and mathematics teaching.
- Covitt, B. A., Anderson, C. W., & Gunckel, K. L. (2012, April). Ecological understandings as a basis for personal and public decision-making. In Lombardi, D. (Chair), Teaching and learning for the environmental: Perspectives on Understandings, values, and action.. Paper presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.More infoA series of authoritative reports from organizations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) and the National Research Council (2011a, 2011b) identifies a pressing need to educate our citizens about environmental changes caused by human actions and to work toward a national consensus on strategies to mitigate and adapt to those changes. Students need to recognize that (a) our lives depend on the Earth’s ecosystems, both managed and unmanaged, and (b) press and pulse disturbances caused by human populations and technologies are fundamentally changing the Earth’s biogeophysical systems. Unfortunately, the public’s current understanding of environmental science is woefully thin. While new frameworks in formal science education provide fundamentally important recommendations for supporting all students in developing needed competence in scientific knowledge and practices (National Research Council, 2012), research from the field of psychology may provide additional, complementary insights into challenges and effective practices needed to prepare today’s students for dealing with the difficult issues and decisions they will increasingly confront as citizens. In particular, one vein of research in psychology can help us understand that humans have evolved strong tendencies to engage in ways of thinking that are systematically inconsistent with understandings developed through scientific methods and practices (e.g., Haidt, 2001; Kahneman, 2011; Slovic, 2007). In this paper, we consider how using evidence from this deep body of work in psychology may support efforts of formal science education. Science educators working with all audiences may find that attuning ourselves to innate and intuitive ways of human thinking can provide an important lens for considering why lay thinking is often so different from scientific thinking. In addition, this work from psychology may also provide useful insights for science education instructional approaches that can help students develop greater capacity to recognize scientific and non-scientific thinking, and to consider and take advantage of the benefits of using scientific thinking in decision-making.
- Doyle, W., Gunckel, K. L., Wood, M. B., & Turner, E. E. (2012, April). Mapping the discourses of practice. In W. Doyle (Chair), Understanding and supporting teaching practice: Multiple perspectives.. Paper presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2012, December). Analyzing curriculum materials with preservice and mentor elementary teachers: Bridging science methods and field placement settings. Invited presentation at the NARST Session at the annual National Science Teachers Association Regional Conference. Phoenix, AZ.
- Gunckel, K. L. (2012, March). Curriculum materials analysis as a boundary spanning task: Bridging science methods and field placement discourses.. Paper presented at the 2012 Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Indianapolis, IN.More infoPreservice teachers must often navigate the distance between science methods course and field placement classroom Discourses on their own. Discourses define the ways of talking about and enacting practices in different communities. In this project, we designed a curriculum materials analysis task to function as boundary spanning experience to bring the Discourses of the science methods course and field placement classroom closer together. We engaged preservice and mentor teachers in a co-learning event where they worked together on the curriculum materials analysis task. Using the ecological construct of an edge community as a framework for analysis, we examined the preservice-mentor teacher interactions during the curriculum materials analysis activity. Ecological edges occur when two different habitats come together, providing a rich diversity of resources and affording dynamic interactions that might not otherwise be possible. As an educational construct, edges occur when different Discourses are brought into interaction. During the curriculum materials analysis task, we observed four types of edge interactions: mentoring, connecting, navigating, and open. These interactions provided abundant opportunities for both preservice and mentor teachers to make sense of the connections between inquiry science teaching practices as portrayed in the science methods course and as enacted in the field placement classroom. Characteristics of boundary spanning tasks that facilitate dynamic, transitional edge interactions are discussed.
- Gunckel, K. L., & Covitt, B. A. (2012, March). Using a water systems learning progression to design and test formative assessments and tools for reasoning. Paper presented at the 2012 Annual International Conference of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching. Indianapolis, IN.More infoLearning progressions are useful research constructs for describing how student accounts of phenomena in a domain changes to become progressively more scientifically model-based and sophisticated. They have been hailed as tools for bringing coherence to science curriculum assessments, and classroom instruction. However, in order to influence classroom instruction, learning progressions must become useful tools for teachers. In the Reasoning Tools for Water in Socio-ecological Systems project, we have developed formative assessments and tools for reasoning linked to the Water Systems Learning Progression for teachers to use in supporting students in developing more sophisticated accounts of water and substances in water moving through environmental systems. Design criteria for these instructional materials are that they must support teachers in 1) developing the capacity to recognize and construct scientific model-based accounts of water, 2) using the Water Systems Learning Progression to elicit, analyze, and respond to student thinking, 3) implementing instruction that presses students for scientific explanations and predictions, and 4) facilitating classroom norms for the social construction of understanding. In addition, the instructional materials must allow for flexible use students with various levels of understanding, in a variety of classrooms situations, using a diversity of curriculum materials. We describe how our formative assessments and tools for reasoning meet these design criteria and provide examples of how teachers and students are using these instructional materials to develop more scientific accounts of water and substances in water moving through environmental systems.
- Gunckel, K. L., Anderson, C. W., Doherty, J., Hartley, L., Schramm, J., & Covitt, B. (2012, April). Using learning progression frameworks and assessments to guide research and professional development. In Sevian, H. (Chair), K-12 student success: Complexity in mathematics and science education research.. Paper presented at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.More infoPaper 3Title: Using Learning Progression Frameworks and Assessments to Guide Research and Professional DevelopmentPresenting Author: Jennifer Doherty, Michigan State University, email@example.com Authors: Charles W. (Andy) Anderson, Jennifer Doherty, Kristin Gunckel, Laurel Hartley, Jonathon Schramm, Beth CovittObjectives and Theoretical Framework This presentation focuses on the curricular goal of environmental science literacy—the capacity to participate in and make decisions through evidence-based discussions of socio-ecological systems. Environmental science literacy requires citizens to:● Understand and evaluate experts’ arguments about environmental issues.● Choose policies and actions that are consistent with their environmental values. Learning progressions are “… descriptions of the successively more sophisticated ways of thinking about a topic that can follow one another as students learn about and investigate a topic over a broad span of time” (NRC, 2007). Conceptual and methodological foundations for learning progressions are described by Smith, Wiser, Anderson, & Krajcik (2006) and by Mohan, Chen, & Anderson (2009), among others. Modes of Inquiry We have developed learning progression frameworks and assessments in three interconnected content domains:● Carbon. Carbon-transforming processes in socio-ecological systems at multiple scales, including cellular and organismal metabolism, ecosystem energetics and carbon cycling, carbon sequestration, and combustion of fossil fuels. The primary cause of global climate change is the current worldwide imbalance among these processes.● Water. The role of water and substances carried by water in earth, living, and engineered systems, including the atmosphere, surface water and ice, ground water, human water systems, and water in living systems.● Biodiversity. The diversity of living systems, including variability among individuals in population, evolutionary changes in populations, diversity in natural ecosystems and in systems managed by humans that produce food, fiber, and wood. The learning progression frameworks and assessments were developed and validated using written assessments and clinical interviews. Overall, we administered about 6500 tests and 250 interviews to K-12 students and teachers across four geographically and culturally disparate locations (Baltimore, Santa Barbara, rural Michigan, and rural Colorado) during two academic years. Results and ProductsWe have found that in all three strands student accounts can be classified into four levels of achievement, describing how students (a) gain knowledge, (b) engage in more sophisticated forms of practice, and (c) master scientific discourse. Of these three dimensions of learning, the discourse dimension may be the most fundamental; the levels of achievement resemble stages in learning a second language that is powerful for analyzing environmental issues.The learning progression frameworks and assessments are key products of the research. In addition, we used these products to develop teaching materials at the middle school and high school level, and as the basis for coordinated professional development across our four sites. SignificanceThere are many challenges organizing a large, geographically dispersed project around a new approach to educational research and assessment. Learning progressions map how students develop understanding, enable measures of progress over long periods of time, and inform coherent approaches to teaching and professional development. This project demonstrates how this approach can be implemented consistently across four geographic regions and in three different content domains. The tools developed by this project both advance educational scholarship and support the development of environmental science literacy. References Mohan, L., Chen, J., and Anderson, C. W. (2009). Developing a multi-year learning progression for carbon cycling in socio-ecological systems. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46 (6), 675-698. National Research Council Committee on Science Learning, Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. Richard A. Duschl, Heidi A. Schweingruber, and Andrew W. Shouse, editors. (2007). Taking science to school: Learning and teaching science in grades K-8. National Research Council, Board on Science Education, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Smith, C., Wiser, M., Anderson, C. W., and Krajcik, J. (2006). Implications of research on children’s learning for assessment: Matter and atomic molecular theory. Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research and Perspectives.
- Gunckel, K. L., Covitt, B. A., & Anders, C. W. (2012, June). Reasoning tools for understanding water systems.. Presentation at the NSF Community for Advancing Discovery Research in Education (CADRE) DR-K12 Meeting. Washington, D.C..