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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-529
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Science Teacher Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2012


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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