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Preservice Elementary Teachers' Understanding Of Standards-based Magnetism Concepts


"As more science departments answer the call to provide special programming through courses serving preservice elementary teachers (McDermott, 1991; McDermott, Heron, Shaffer & Stetzer, 2006; Trundle, Atwood & Christopher, 2002) priorities have to be established. More specifically, decisions must be made on which science topics will be addressed both in depth and in a manner that promotes the needed conceptual change (Vosniadou, 1991, 2003). Documenting specific conceptual needs on magnets and the behavior of magnets for preservice elementary teachers is needed to establish the priority that should be assigned to this topic and to inform instruction provided on the topic. To address this need a descriptive study was conducted that included 245 preservice elementary teachers enrolled at five institutions of higher education in the central Appalachian region of three Mid-Atlantic States. The research question was: What scientific and non-scientific conceptions of standards-based magnetism concepts are held by a group of preservice elementary teachers?"