Understanding Elementary Teacher’s Use of Science Teaching TIme: Lessons From The Big Sky Science Partnership

The Big Sky Science Partnership (BSSP) serves grades K-8 science teachers in schools near three American Indian reservations in Montana. The BSSP is led by Salish Kootenai College, in partnership with Montana State University of Montana, and numerous school districts. The main idea of this project is to know how much time teachers in the Partnership had available to teach science, and how the time was distributed and used.

This project showed the first full year of professional development activities in the Partnership, 2007-2008, it was apparent that some teachers in the program allocated little time to science instruction. How could teachers who diligently attended science workshops and many of them joined master’s program reported having very limited tijme for science instruction? Speculation abounded, and the issues such as the imbalance that has increased since the federal No Child Left Behind legislation took effect in 2002, lack of resources to teach science in certain Partnership schools has affected teachers’ level of preparation and confidence to teach science.

This project reflects on the key influences on teachers’ decisions regarding science teaching time.

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