ASQ - Education Division

Using Cognitive Acceleration Materials to Develop Pre-Service Teachers’ Reasoning and Pedagogical Expertise

Abstract: The co-authors of this paper are Nathan Moore (Physics) and Dennis Poirier(Education)of Winona State University and Jacqueline O'Donnell from Rochester STEM Academy. The paper is included in the Proceedings for the ASQ 2012 Advancing the STEM Agenda Conference at UW-Stout.

The present work outlines two approaches taken at Winona State University (WSU) to increase the reasoning ability of pre-service elementary education majors through exposure to the “Cognitive Acceleration” materials produced by Shayer, Adey, and collaborators in the UK. These materials, which stimulate the development of reasoning ability, have been tremendously effective in Europe for pupils aged 5-6 and 11-13.

Intervention 1: Elementary Education students at Winona State Univeresity take two classes in science to meet general education requirements. In Spring 2011, one of these classes was modified to include 11 of the 30 “Thinking Science” lessons, which employ techniques of Cognitive Acceleration in a science context (CASE). As a direct result of including these materials, we saw post-pre Lawson CTSR gains of roughly 2.2 points, on the paired 13 point scale. Normal gains for a one-semester reformed-pedagogy science class are about 0.8-1.0 points.

Intervention 2: Over the 2011-12 academic year, a group of first and second year Elementary Education majors facilitated Cognitive Acceleration activities with children in the context of after-school “science clubs” at several elementary schools. As a result, these college students had substantial increases in CTSR score over the course of the two semesters and also demonstrated more mature attitudes towards science teaching.

Keywords: STEM - Conference Proceedings - K-12 Outreach - Teaching Quality

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