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Abstract

This paper presents results from a study aimed at helping preservice elementary and middle school teachers incorporate model-centered scientific inquiry into their science teaching practices. Specifically, the authors studied the effect of using a guided inquiry and modeling instructional framework (EIMA) and accompanying science methods instruction on preservice elementary teachers' science lesson design skills, scientific model use, and teaching orientations. Analysis of preservice teachers' pre–posttests, classroom artifacts, peer interviews, and lesson plans throughout the semester indicates that the framework successfully built on preservice teachers' prior instructional ideas, and that the majority of preservice teachers learned and used the framework in their lesson plans and teaching. Additionally, analysis of pre–posttest differences indicates an increase in posttest lesson plans that focused on engaging students in scientific inquiry using several kinds of models. Most importantly, the framework and accompanying instruction enabled two thirds of the class to move their teaching orientations away from discovery or didactic approaches toward reform-based approaches such as conceptual change, inquiry, and guided inquiry. Results from this study show that using instructional frameworks such as EIMA can enable preservice teachers to socially construct, synthesize, and apply their knowledge for enacting reform-oriented science teaching approaches such as model-centered scientific inquiry. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed91:158–186, 2007