Plummer Article: Open Inquiry and Celestial Motion

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 11, 2010

Dr. Julia Plummer, Assistant Professor of Education and Coordinator of Science Education, co-wrote an article on “Inquiry and Astronomy: Preservice Teachers’ Investigations of Celestial Motion” in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Science Teacher Education. Her co-authors are former graduate assistants of hers, Valerie M. Zahm and Rebecca Rice.

Their study “investigated the impact of an open inquiry experience on elementary science methods students’ understanding of celestial motion as well as the methods developed by students to answer their own research questions,” according to their abstract. “Pre/post interviews and assessments were used to measure change in participants’ understanding (N = 18). A qualitative approach was used to describe the nature of each participant’s investigation through an analysis of their science journal and poster presentations.

“A comparison of participants’ inquiry projects with the change in their understanding revealed that while most participants improved in both their area of inquiry and beyond, elementary science methods students may need more guidance to reach a full scientific understanding across all aspects of celestial motion.” See the journal article.