Session S25e (Wednesday, 9:30am, Thomas 104)

P708: Tracking the development of the nature of science understanding over an undergraduate STEM career

Stephen Cessna, Tara Kishbaugh (Eastern Mennonite University, USA)

Understanding the nature of science (NOS) is a critical aspect of science literacy. Although many educators have proposed that NOS understanding should or could be learned via participation in authentic research science, previous education research has determined that NOS understanding is best learned through explicit instruction involving correction of misconceptions. Thus, student participation in research is a means of reinforcement and contextualization of NOS learning, but not a useful stand-alone strategy of NOS instruction. However, this hypothesis has only been tested in the context of one-time research experiences, such as summer research experiences, but it remains unclear whether repeated authentic research experiences wouldn’t fair better. We have measured NOS understanding among STEM majors participating in multiple authentic science research experiences at several stages of the undergraduate career. We report a steady increase in NOS learning, implying a benefit of repeated and varied exposure to authentic research science experiences.

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