Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 503–529 | Cite as

The Impact of an Inquiry-Based Geoscience Field Course on Pre-service Teachers

  • Gwen Nugent
  • Michael D. Toland
  • Richard Levy
  • Gina Kunz
  • David Harwood
  • Denise Green
  • Kathy Kitts


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to determine the effects of a field-based, inquiry-focused course on pre-service teachers’ geoscience content knowledge, attitude toward science, confidence in teaching science, and inquiry understanding and skills. The field-based course was designed to provide students with opportunities to observe, compare, and investigate geological structures in their natural environment and to gain an understanding of inquiry via hands-on learning activities designed to immerse students in authentic scientific investigation. ANCOVA and MANCOVA analyses examining differences in outcome measures between students in the field experience (n = 25) and education students enrolled in the traditional, classroom-based course (n = 37) showed that students in the field course generally had significantly higher scores. Results provide evidence of the value of the field and inquiry-based approach in helping pre-service teachers develop the needed skills and knowledge to create effective inquiry-based science lessons.


Science inquiry Field work  Geoscience Pre-service teachers  Teacher professional development 


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gwen Nugent
    • 1
  • Michael D. Toland
    • 2
  • Richard Levy
    • 3
  • Gina Kunz
    • 1
  • David Harwood
    • 1
  • Denise Green
    • 4
  • Kathy Kitts
    • 5
  1. 1.University of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  2. 2.University of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.GNS ScienceLower HuttNew Zealand
  4. 4.Central Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA
  5. 5.Northern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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