An analysis of preservice elementary teachers' attempts to determine factors influencing the period of a simple pendulm [i.e. pendulum]

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Gwinn, Joy Elaine
Bryan, Joel A.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Physics and Astronomy
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Future elementary school educators are often ill-prepared to teach science in their classroom, yet because of state standards many will be required to do so. Teacher educators endeavor to find meaningful topics that will aid these future teachers while teaching science. Classic physics labs, such as the pendulum lab, can serve to act as a measuring tool that assesses the background knowledge of per-service elementary education majors. This investigation hopes to gain insight into these processes through a two day investigation that requires students to use their current abilities to work as a team on an inquiry-based assignment dealing with pendulums. A set of three inquiry questions along with a Confidence Rating Index (CRI) will be given to the students, both as individuals and groups, a total of four times. Students will be required to design a lab in which they must determine which variables will affect the period of a simple pendulum. Effort has been made to ensure that students come to a realization about the importance of good data collecting through their own efforts and with class discussion, rather than through a straight lecture format.