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evolution creationism intelligent design preservice elementary teachers

Distinguishing Science from Non-Science: Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Perspectives on Evolution, Creationism, and Intelligent Design

Ian C. Binns , Mark A. Bloom

Biological evolution stands out as critically important content for K-12 education as it is considered a cornerstone of the biological sciences. Yet, .


Biological evolution stands out as critically important content for K-12 education as it is considered a cornerstone of the biological sciences. Yet, it remains one of the most socially controversial topics related to science education. In this exploratory study, we are seeking to understand the ways elementary preservice teachers (PSTs) use their views of science to justify including or excluding alternative explanations to evolution in the science curriculum. This investigation included 76 PSTs who were enrolled in an elementary science methods course. Data came from an activity designed by the authors entitled “Science in the Public Schools – School Board Scenario.” The scenario proposed that the local school board was considering a motion to alter the science curriculum by introducing creationism and intelligent design (ID) to the unit on biological evolution and the PSTs had to offer their informed recommendations. The two researchers independently read and coded the data using an inductive, constant comparative approach. Findings revealed that 32 would not add creationism or ID, 26 would add both, 9 would add creationism, 6 would add ID, and 3 would only mention them. PSTs came up with diverse explanations for their decision on if to include alternative explanations when teaching evolution. Common rationales emerged within each group and are further explored.

Keywords: Evolution, creationism, intelligent design, preservice elementary teachers

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