Volume 51(4) - 2010 - DOI: 10.5032/jae.2010.04010
Students' experiences with science integrated into agriscience courses contribute to their developing epistemologies of science. The purpose of this case study was to gain insight into the implementation of scientific inquiry in an agriscience classroom. Also of interest was how the tenets of the nature of science were reflected in the students' experiments. Participants included an agriscience teacher and her fifteen students who were conducting plant experiments to gain insight into the role of a gene disabled by scientists. Data sources included classroom observations, conversations with students, face–to–face interviews with the teacher, and students' work. Analysis of the data indicated that the teacher viewed scientific inquiry as a mechanical process with little emphasis on the reasoning that typifies scientific inquiry. Students' participation in their experiments also centered on the procedural aspects of inquiry with little attention to scientific reasoning. There was no explicit attention to the nature of science during the experiments, but the practice implied correct, incorrect, and underdeveloped conceptions of the nature of science. Evidence from the study suggests a need for collaboration between agriscience and science teacher educators to design and conduct professional development focused on scientific inquiry and nature of science for preservice and practicing teachers.