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Abstract Detail

Teaching Section

Schussler, Elisabeth E. [1], Link-Perez, Melanie A. [1].

Botany: Itís Elementary!.

Research has suggested that elementary school teachers are less likely to teach science because they lack science content knowledge. This is particularly troubling for botany educators because so few teachers have taken classes about plants. A lack of botanical content might explain why students have trouble naming plants and are not interested in learning about them as compared to animals. To probe teacher perception of teaching about plants, elementary teachers from a local school district were asked to participate in interviews examining how they teach about plants. Thirteen teachers ranging from kindergarten through fifth grade volunteered for the study. Interview questions focused on pre-service training in science, teaching science in the classroom, and teaching about plants. Interviews were conducted at the location of the teachersí choice between June and August of 2006. Each interview was audio-taped and lasted from twenty minutes to over an hour. Each interview was transcribed and then underwent qualitative data analysis. Two researchers read the interviews and agreed upon common themes that emerged from the data. Supporting evidence for each theme was then identified using the qualitative software NVivo. Themes emerging from the data included: lack of botany training, comfort teaching about plants, supplementing the text, repetition of activities, short-lived excitement and problems growing plants in the classroom. Overall, plant education in elementary school appears unchallenging and repetitive for both teachers and students. There is a stated desire to grow more diverse plants in the classroom and to have more long-term growth projects, but teachers perceive barriers in making this a reality. Teachers do not feel that their lack of knowledge limits their teaching about plants, but they do acknowledge a lack of sustained excitement when it comes to learning about plants in the elementary classroom.

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1 - Miami University, Department of Botany, Oxford, Ohio, 45056, USA

teacher training
K-5 plant science curriculum
elementary science.

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for Sections
Session: P
Location: Exhibit Hall (Northeast, Southwest & Southeast)/Hilton
Date: Sunday, July 8th, 2007
Time: 8:00 AM
Number: P60001
Abstract ID:1129

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