PROSPECTIVE TEACHERS’ PERSPECTIVES ABOUT AN INTERDISCIPLINARY LEARNING SCENARIO INVOLVING PHYSICS AND STATISTICS

A. Henriques1, M. Baptista1, H. Oliveira1, L. Jesuíno2

1Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
2Agrupamento de escolas Escultor Francisco dos Santos (PORTUGAL)
STEM integration, particularly the integration of mathematics and science in technology-rich settings, has received increasingly attention in current educational trends given its potential to enhance students’ understanding about mathematical and scientific concepts, while also helps them to link school education with their everyday lives and to develop STEM skills required to meet the social and economic challenges of the 21st century highly technological society.

A successful STEM integration will depend on teachers’ perspectives and abilities to adopt this pedagogical practice, namely by developing interdisciplinary projects involving science and mathematics. Recognizing that preservice teacher education programs rarely prepare prospective teachers to do so, this poster intends to contribute to the scarce research in this field by reporting on an innovative preservice middle school and secondary teacher education project aiming to provide prospective teachers with firsthand and hands-on experiences in creating and implementing a learning scenario that take full advantage of the integration of physics and statistics using technology (software TinkerPlotsTM) through an inquiry approach. The aim of this poster is to present and discuss prospective middle school and secondary teachers’ perspectives about their experience of developing an interdisciplinary learning scenario involving physics and statistics during the above described teacher education project. The participants were 10 Portuguese prospective teachers enrolled in the first year of a Master’s programs in the teaching of Mathematics (n=6) and of Physics and Chemistry (n=4). The project involved a Didactics of Mathematics course and the Practical Preparation course of both programs, which are co-taught by the authors. Working in interdisciplinary small groups of three or four, prospective teachers developed and implemented a learning scenario for a sequence of three lessons where 8th students were asked to do an inquiry task to understand a physical phenomenon, using technology, and were required to present scientific arguments for their ideas.

Data gathering from the written individual reflections, qualitatively analysed, provided empirical evidence on the prospective teachers’ perspectives about the challenges and benefits for their learning of engaging in integrated STEM lesson planning and implementation through the project. Although prospective teachers revealed a very positive attitude towards the integrated approach to teach Physics and Statistics using technology, recognizing that the learning scenario had educational effectiveness and that students enjoyed to work on the proposed tasks, they identified aspects to be improved namely regarding students’ difficulties with the inquiry process and the use of technology.

The poster begins with a presentation of the teacher education project including the aims, context and methodology. The focus then is on the learning scenario created and implemented by the prospective teachers, giving examples of the task and their reflections.