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Research in science education has identified conceptual change teaching strategies that may enhance pre-service teachers’ understanding of scientific concepts and processes. These strategies, supported by constructivist learning theory in the social and cognitive sciences, include the use of discrepant events to engage students’ prior knowledge, the learning cycle, and collaborative learning. Science educators have used these strategies to challenge alternative conceptions of pre-service K-8 teachers in methods courses in an effort to facilitate learning scientific concepts. Pre-service K-8 teachers, motivated to explore scientific phenomena and clarify their own understandings, gain confidence in their ability to learn science and are better prepared to use similar strategies with children. In redesigning innovative courses for pre-service teachers in university science departments, scientists and science educators would benefit from a mutual collaboration to develop instructional strategies informed by constructivist learning theory. In this partnership, scientists, experts in content and scientific research, would work with science educators to develop curriculum in both science and science methods courses that challenges pre-service teachers’ existing knowledge and facilitates more authentic understandings of science. A more seamless transition would thus be possible between science courses and science methods courses.





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