Date of Graduation
College of Education and Human Services
Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology
Science education reform documents call for instructional practices that include scientific equipment and materials. Often, these types of resources are inaccessible for schools, especially those which are rural and socio-economically challenged, due largely to budgetary considerations. Science outreach partnerships are able to bridge the gap between what is called for in science education reform documents and the realities of many schools. Science in Motion is a science outreach partnership project located in rural Northwestern Pennsylvania, supported by state funds, that provides equipment, curricular materials, and professional development free of charge for area science educators. Teacher participation in this project is completely voluntary. Not a grassroots initiative, nor a top down mandated project, why do teachers decide to use this project? This study examined the volitional use of the Science in Motion project at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. Qualitative research methods were used to answer the following research question: what are the reasons for project use reported by teachers who use the project on a regular basis? Sub research questions were: what is it about the teacher that encouraged her/him to initiate Science in Motion services, and what is it about the teacher that encourages her/him to continue using Science in Motion services? Two focus group interviews as well as a paper/pencil questionnaire were used to collect data from teacher participants who use the project on a regular basis. A phenomenological lens was used to examine data. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze data. Research findings reveal teachers initiated use because: the project provided opportunities for teaching and learning that otherwise were inaccessible, the project was perceived as user friendly and easy to access, the project embedded professional development provided the support needed to encourage initial use, and the project resources were perceived as a means to facilitate teaching and learning goals and beliefs held by this group of teachers. Reasons for continued use included the project was found to be user friendly and the project maintained a variety of equipment, and updated labs and equipment on a regular basis. In addition, teachers were given an opportunity to have a voice in the project, selecting labs and materials as the project expanded over the years, which gave teachers a sense of ownership and empowerment. Assertions about this group of teachers were also developed. These teachers were found to be reflective about their teaching practices, and resourceful problem-solvers. They also maintain strong professional attitudes, and value life-long learning. The research participants believe maintaining a dynamic curriculum and continued professional growth keep the teaching processes exciting for themselves, which then sparks student interest excitement and motivation to learn.
Spuck, Karen M., "Building an Understanding: What Motivates Teachers to use Science in Motion" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6706.