Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 2004


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Barbara M. Manner

Committee Member

Derek Whordley

Committee Member

Paula Calabrese


inquiry, professional development, teaching science through inquiry


The purpose of this study was to examine the role professional development takes in fostering change in the pedagogical practices of K-5 classroom teachers, specifically in teaching science through inquiry. Michael Fullan's three elements essential for change: curriculum, instruction, and philosophy, were used as the lens through which to observe and analyze the impact of an intervention for changing teaching practices in K-5 classrooms. The intervention that assisted in creating an environment for change in behaviors was a morphed version of the Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry, the ASSET Institute for Inquiry, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During a three year period 208 teachers attended the five day Institute. It modeled the pedagogy, philosophy and related curriculum strategies indigenous to teaching science through inquiry. Each teacher was sent a questionnaire. The questionnaire was a compilation of Horizon Research, National Science Education Standards, and the National Science Education Inquiry Standard. The analysis of the statistical relationships between the Institute and change in the use of curriculum, instruction, or beliefs in action was done. The results indicate a statistically significant relationship between the Institute for Inquiry and change in teaching practices. There was an increase in the use and implementation of hands-on inquiry-based curricula: STC, FOSS, and INSIGHTS. There was an increase in those instructional strategies and classroom practices supportive of science through inquiry. There was a statistical relationship between the intervention and the NSES indicators of inquiry in practice. Further research was done with regard to teaching experience (i.e., number of years teaching), time interval between completion of the intervention and implementation of the philosophy and strategies indigenous to inquiry, and the relationship a resource teacher (e.g., teacher teaching teacher) develops with classroom teachers and the practice of teaching science through inquiry. Using the Pearson r, the analysis indicates there is no statistically significant relationship how long a teacher has been teaching, the interval of time between intervention and implementation, or the use of a resource teacher. The research concluded with the next research steps: examination of the impact of teaching science through inquiry and student learning.