Marcum-Dietrich, N., L. Marquez, S.E. Gill, and C. Medved. 2011. Journal of Geoscience Education 59(1):1–4.
It is ironic that although children often form lasting decisions, at a young age, about their aptitude for and interest in science we are least successful at preparing elementary teachers to nurture their students’ science interests. This is despite the fact that most elementary teachers teach in contained classrooms where they are responsible for science content at this critical, developmental stage for their students. Science preparation for preservice, elementary teachers is traditionally relegated to large, general-education lecture courses. Even when these courses have laboratories, they tend to depend on cook-book style exercises where procedures are given and the outcomes are known. This leaves many pre-service, elementary teachers not only ill-prepared, but also fearful of the science content that they must teach. We here advocate a change in the way science is taught to preservice, elementary teachers. By developing hands-on field learning and teaching experiences for these future teachers, we believe that elementary Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education can better encourage more children to become scientists and to encourage all students to become the next generation of informed citizens.