Zebrafish as a theme for an inquiry-based life science content course for prospective teachers.
According to state and national standards, elementary teachers are to plan and conduct experiments with the students in their classrooms. Our college students who are prospective teachers do this by selecting from among two basic investigative approaches: (1) Experimental: "I wonder what happens if. . .?" When variables can be manipulated; experiments; discover conditions that can change properties - AND (2) Non-experimental: "I wonder whether. . ." When manipulating variables isn't possible or desirable; nonexperimental, observational; grouping, ordering, describing, measuring, comparing properties. (Adapted from "Helping Children Plan Investigations" in Harlen, W. and Symington, D. Taking the Plunge. Portland, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.) We are now using zebrafish for guided inquiry to provide future teachers with experience planning activities to meet the California and National Science Education Standards.
One obstacle to using vertebrates in an undergraduate course for future teachers is the need to get Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) approval. This URL shows the approved California State University Fullerton ANIMAL CARE AND USE approval of zebrafish in an inquiry-based course for future teachers. The protocol details a variety of experimental procedures that are appropriate to investigate in undergraduate classes (In accordance with the Animal Welfare Act).
SCED453 Life Science Concepts for K-6 Teachers
College General Ed,
California Commission on Teacher Credential (CCTC) goals for Multiple Subject Teacher Candidates (K-8 teachers)
Domain 2: Life Science and
CCTC Part II: Subject Matter Skills and Abilities Applicable to the Content Domains in Science. Activities using zebrafish with prospective teachers are also mapped to the National Research Council (1996) National Science Education Standards (NSES). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Text of Learning Exercise:
Most of the work is outlined in the IACUC protocol. However, additional resources are available on our BlackBoard web. We would like to collaborate with classroom teachers who actually carry some of these projects into the classroom, so please contact Nancy Pelaez at email@example.com if you would like to gain access to additional resources. One plan is to build an extensive family tree of zebrafish traits that can be used for studies of Mendelian patterns of inheritance.