Looking inward, looking outward: Developing knowledge through teacher research in a middle school science classroom during a unit on magnetism and electricity

Melissa D George, Purdue University


In this study I aimed to understand effective teaching and learning in the context of my middle school science classroom. The study was a multiple case analysis of two classes of students, one gifted and one academic, during a unit on magnetism and electricity. From a teacher researcher perspective, I conducted the study to investigate the development of my knowledge---scientific, pedagogical content, and reflective---as a teacher. From an analysis of questionnaires, field notes, transcribed audio tapes of small and large group discussions, and student artifacts, I constructed an understanding of my students' learning and my own growth in several realms. My scientific knowledge grew both substantively and syntactically; I elaborated my understanding of magnetism, rethought my delivery of electricity, realized a need for training in electronics, and refined my definition of the nature of science in research. I built on my pedagogical content knowledge with regard to students ideas about magnetism and electricity, learning characteristics of gifted students, tools of inquiry that facilitate learning, and methods to operationalize the situated learning model. Most importantly I gained an understanding of teacher research and its three components: ownership, purpose, and methodology. The findings contribute to the understanding of teacher research as well as various bodies of science education literature: (a) students' ideas about magnetism, (b) the science learning characteristics of gifted students, (c) tools of inquiry in the science classroom, and (d) operationalization of the situated learning model.




Abell, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Science education|Teacher education|Curricula|Teaching

Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server