The Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education (ISSN: 2633-6537) publishes original research articles from throughout the world in the fields of sciences education and environmental education.

IJESE adopts an Open Access policy complying with the definition laid out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI). Terms and conditions of Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License apply to all published manuscripts.IJESE is now published 4 times a year.

Acceptance rates: 23% (2019), 18% (2020), 23% (2021)



Volume 18, Issue 4, 2022

In Progress

Review Article
Teaching Evolution as the Unifying Theory of Biology via a University Course: Re-Count of a Praxis
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2275,
ABSTRACT: The aim of the presentation is to discuss the findings of a series of research projects that we have been carried out with various groups of students in the University of Athens and concern the teaching of biology by means of evolution through natural selection (THES). In the article it is discussed the conclusions after teaching a biology course based on evolution as the unifying theory, while at the same time more general issues are raised: Is it, for example, a realistic goal to teach biology by means of this kind of teaching? Secondly, what is the usefulness of such a perspective. Which was studied by quantitative and qualitative studies on the conceptual ecology (CE) of the evolution of Greek students. The latter showed the value of this kind of approach in the acceptance and understanding of the THES, as part of students’ CI. Thirdly, ccomparative studies with beginners and advanced students in terms of evolution education showed, that, merely teaching evolution within a course, even if the latter is based on the THES, it is not enough to make someone in-depth connoisseur. It seems that to be acquainted with it to more depth the learners need to go through two stages: in the first, they may move from the stage of owing Aristotelian views of the issue, i.e., from typology, to the early “Darwinian” ones. And they need to go through a second one, where via, in-depth educational training, they might move to the next, namely, the population view of thinking.
Research Article
The Perceptions of Fifth-Graders Following Ecology Service Learning–The Case of the “Lesser Kestrel Day”
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2276,
ABSTRACT: An instrumental case study examined the experiences and emotions of fifth-graders, aged 10-11, following their service-learning, which was designed to help the Lesser Kestrel, an endangered species in Israel. The case study methodology used three research tools that included analyses of drawings and explanations, personal reflections, and focus groups. The research revealed four processes that students went through: emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral. These processes supported the creation of an educational setting that allowed students to develop as independent learners with responsibilities towards their peers and a high level of empathy while experiencing environmental citizenship. In addition, the successful experience generated a positive feeling together with pro-environmental behavior leading towards biodiversity conservation.
Research Article
Importance of a Comparison Group and a Long-Term Follow-Up Test in Evaluating Environmental Education Experiences
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2277,
ABSTRACT: This study evaluated the impacts on environmental literacy after a non-formal science-based program and compared the impacts to a non-formal non-science-based program. Both programs included children in grades six to eleven (ages 11 to 17) from the Syracuse, New York, USA area. Environmental literacy was assessed by administering environmental attitude and environmental knowledge pre-, post-, and follow-up tests to both programs’ participants. Initially, environmental attitude scores were higher for the participants in the science-based program. However, this was not a lasting impact. According to the follow-up test, attitude scores were not elevated for the science-based program. Without the follow-up tests given weeks after the program end, we could have inferred environmental attitudes were increased by the science-based program. Environmental knowledge was higher at the end of the science-based program but also increased in the comparison group. The gains in environmental knowledge were sustained for several weeks, but differences between the two programs did not persist. Without the comparison group we could have inferred that environmental knowledge increased solely due to the science-based program. These results show incorporating both a comparison group and a follow-up assessment are necessary to properly evaluate the effectiveness of increasing environmental literacy from science-based programs.
Research Article
Virtual Coverboarding: Using Local Biodiverity to Engage Science Majors
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2279,
ABSTRACT: There is a current need to develop engaging, informative online activities for science majors and potential future citizen scientists, particularly given the increase in the online teaching environment following COVID-19. Given this potential for online teaching to continue to increase, it becomes ever more essential to provide undergraduate students with methods that allow students to remotely access common methods used for sampling species while still engaging students in learning about local species diversity. This study assessed the potential for an interactive, online course-specific website to connect and inform first-year undergraduate biology majors (pre-health majors to environmental science) on local leaf litter species diversity. The website included species encountered as part of an ongoing on-campus biodiversity monitoring project using coverboards. Students navigated to the website, answered questions on the types of organisms, and completed a short survey. The survey questions reviewed whether the website was engaging and informed students on campus biodiversity of both reptiles and arthropods. Students overwhelmingly responded positively that the website was helpful to advise them on local species and their natural histories and engaged and piqued their interest. Therefore, we recommend incorporating course websites as teaching tools to catalog local species to teach undergraduate biology majors.
Research Article
A Conceptual Model of Teaching Efficacy and Beliefs, Teaching Outcome Expectancy, Student Technology Use, Student Engagement, and 21st-Century Learning Attitudes: A STEM Education Study
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2282,
ABSTRACT: The need to train and equip students in science and mathematics integrated with technology, according to contemporary professions, has gained a lot of attention. Careers in this field demand that students do not just explore single subjects working independently, but rather look at how they can be integrated for application in real-world problems, provide solutions and help us take such an approach in STEM education. The use of technology enhances students’ learning and acts as an effective strategy for engaging a student in a science and mathematics classroom session. For implementing a meaningful STEM class, the teachers’ efficacy and beliefs, their perceptions of effective technological use by students to improve learning, their teaching outcome and expectancy, student engagement and 21st-century learning attitudes inculcated in students need to be looked into. The present study is a correlational one investigating the effect of teaching efficacy and beliefs, teaching outcome expectancy and 21st-century learning on student engagement. The results of the study show that students’ use of technology has a mediating effect on the relationship between teaching efficacy and beliefs and student engagement, whereas 21st-century learning attitudes do not have any mediating effect. Both student technology uses and 21st-century learning attitudes have a mediating effect on the relationship between teaching outcome expectancy and student engagement.
Research Article
Hands-On, Virtual, Environmental Science Modules: Using Stable Carbon Isotopes as Forensic Tools for Students to Understand Environmental Chemistry From Their Homes
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2283,
ABSTRACT: Engagement with the natural world is imperative to student learning in the geo- and environmental sciences. Immersion in the environment is particularly useful for complicated subjects like nutrient cycling and biogeochemistry. However, access to the outdoors is not ubiquitous, and often students living in urban and/or remote locations are unable to access geo-, bio- and environmental activities, and demonstrations, and this inaccessibility was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We created a remote learning activity to teach the carbon cycle to high school students enrolled in the University of Michigan’s Earth Camp (summer 2020). These high school students were admitted to this summer program to facilitate their access to and inquiry of the natural world. Likewise, this program is designed to enable and encourage students from underrepresented minority groups to engage in STEM, and in particular, earth sciences. Students conducted at-home bio-centric experiments and collected hair from their pets and their pets’ foods (and for students without pets, favorite snack foods) and sent it to the University of Michigan for isotope analyses. Students recorded ingredients in their specimens and hypothesized what isotope values their specimens should have, based on C3/C4 plant distribution. The students’ results allowed them to examine how the Earth’s carbon cycle is reflected by common plants and animals living in their homes and to collect physical observations and analyze their own data. This activity received positive evaluations from students, and students felt their knowledge of isotopes and the chemistry behind their food increased from this exercise. Although Earth Camp recruitment was unrelated to student’s desired major, almost ~20% of the participants in this activity listed earth sciences as a desired major upon application to college. We have attached this activity in the supplement for future use by other earth science educators in an adapted version that does not require the ability to measure stable isotopes.
Research Article
The Potential and Limitations of the Wadden Sea in University, School, and Out-Of-School Contexts From the Perspective of Biology Education
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2286,
ABSTRACT: This study explores the potential and the limitations of the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea in terms of its relevance for teacher training in higher education and for teaching in schools and as an out-of-school place of learning. Interviews with experts from these three areas were conducted. The analysis was performed through qualitative content analysis. Within this framework, various factors were identified that should be considered in further biology didactics studies. The findings indicate that out-of-school learning receives too little emphasis in teacher education and that the Wadden Sea offers opportunities to address this deficit. In addition, clear limits were set for school lessons on this ecosystem in contrast to practical explorations of the Wadden Sea. Nevertheless, incorporating Wadden Sea content in the classroom makes sense since diverse topics can be vividly explored. Out-of-school learning at the Wadden Sea was found to have an immense potential in education for sustainable development and in environmental education. One obstacle is the students’ reported disgust towards the Wadden Sea. Based on the results, conclusions are drawn for all three areas considered in this study, providing concrete implications for related studies with a focus on biological education on the Wadden Sea.
Research Article
A Gender-based Investigation of Indian Senior Secondary Students’ Misconceptions about Plant Reproduction through Concept Inventory
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2287,
ABSTRACT: The central objective of this study was to unveil the misconceptions and their sources through the responses of Indian senior secondary (n=102; 54 boys and 48 girls) students about plant reproduction. A concept inventory with correct and incorrect statements was designed to elicit the misconceptions among class XII students. A semi-structured interview of selected students followed this exercise to report the sources of misconceptions from students’ perspectives. Descriptive statistics like mean and percentages determined the extent of misconceptions through frequencies of incorrect responses–overall, 40.392% of students bore misconceptions in this sub-concept with statements like “no difference between vegetative propagation and vegetative reproduction” getting a higher frequency of incorrect responses. Gender-based differences were investigated through inferential statistics like Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests, more misconceptions were observed in boys than girls in plant reproduction. Qualitative analysis of the interview responses revealed the ambiguities in everyday classroom transactions and textbook explanations as to the major sources behind misconceptions. The study concluded with suggestive measures–and possible pedagogical tools–to help teachers identify and eradicate student misconceptions.
Research Article
Examining Students’ Spatial Ability and Its Impact on the Learning of Stereochemistry
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2288,
ABSTRACT: The subject of stereochemistry in considered a difficult concept in organic chemistry because of its dependence on spatial ability. The challenges that students face in learning about stereochemistry can lead to poor performance and alternative conceptions, which in turn might hinder their progresses in various science and engineering academic careers. Development of successful conceptual understanding to solve stereochemistry related problems requires that students have a thorough understanding of the various types of spatial abilities in stereochemistry such as mental rotation and visualization of three-dimensional chemical molecules. This research project of the City College of New York (a minority serving, public, urban, and commuter institution) investigates some of the challenges that students face and approaches that students rely on to solve stereochemistry related problems and the role of spatial ability in the learning process. Likert-type surveys, spatial ability tests, and various open-ended questions were used to assess the understandings of 86 participants. The data indicated that one of barriers to learning about stereochemistry is the students’ inabilities to mentally rotate and visualize three-dimensional molecular structures by looking at their chemical formulae, assigning priority functional groups, determining configurations, and remembering the various rules that are necessary for solving stereochemistry related questions. Spatial ability was found to be one of the factors for success in stereochemistry, and majority of the students believe that with practice and the use of three-dimensional molecular modeling kits, they can improve their spatial abilities in stereochemistry.
Research Article
Investigating Pre-Service Teachers’ Understanding of Nature of Science: Contributions of An Assessment Tool Based on the Reconceptualized Family Resemblance Approach
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2290,
ABSTRACT: Several literature sources discuss the importance of nature of science (NOS) understanding and how having an understanding is central to being a scientifically literate citizen. As a result, developing NOS understanding is one of the most commonly stated objectives for science education. Acquiring views on NOS has been a prominent feature of research in this area since the 1960s. The following article provides a proof of concept for the transformation of a theoretical framework into a practical assessment tool (worksheet). The reconceptualized family resemblance approach to NOS is a theoretical framing of NOS which describes components of science in terms of categories subsumed under epistemic, cognitive and social systems. The aim is to explore its potential for use in science education and demonstrate its functionality so as to collect data on pre-service teachers’ understanding of NOS and substantiate what can be achieved through its application. The designed assessment tool has many purposes and in this case it was used in a pre-, post-, and delayed-post methodology to investigate pre-service teachers’ understanding of NOS following participation in NOS themed workshops. Implications for science teacher education will be discussed.
Research Article
Investigating Pre-Service Science Teachers’ Self-Efficacy Beliefs for Teaching Science Through Engineering Design Processes
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2291,
ABSTRACT: The school system in Oman faces a problem in educating students in integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics activities. This statement, in part, stems from science teachers’ preparation programs. This study was aimed to close a research gap in Oman by investigating science pre-service (trainee/student) teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs for teaching science by using engineering design processes. A self-efficacy beliefs for teaching as engineering design questionnaire was developed and utilized for measuring science trainee teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs for teaching science by engineering design methods. A descriptive approach with quantitative data collection was used as a design of the study. A sample of 73 students at Sultan Qaboos University participated voluntarily. The results showed that student teachers believed themselves to be highly successful in teaching science. BSc program trainee teachers had higher perceptions of themselves as highly successful in teaching science with regard to personal self-efficacy beliefs and in two scales in outcome expectations for science teaching in the new manner than did trainee teachers with a teacher qualification diploma. Regarding gender and major, there was no statistically significant difference in trainee teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs. Contributions to research and future perspectives of the study findings on improving science teaching and learning are discussed.
Research Article
Green Schools: An Examination of Practices and Possibilities in Alabama
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2292,
ABSTRACT: Green schools are schools that reduce environmental effects, improve the health and performance of students, and increase sustainability literacy. Green schools reinforce optimal learning aligned with resource efficiency and minimal pollution. This study implemented a descriptive survey research design to assess the extent to which green school practices are being applied in a three-county region of central Alabama. Survey results revealed inconsistent availability of green school practices at participating schools. Survey implications point to a need for more focused emphasis on green school practices and collaboration between schools, school faculties, and local education agencies.
Research Article
Adding Relevancy to STEM Interest Through Adventure Education: A Mixed Methods Study
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2294,
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this mixed methods concurrent triangulation study was to assess the vocational relevancy of adventure STEM for sixth grade students attending the Science Adventure School (SAS), a residential, informal education program focused on delivering adventure STEM education to low-income, rural students. Specifically, this study sought to research any changes in STEM attitudes, including science interest (Eccles, 2007; Gilmartin et al., 2007) and science career interest (Sadler et al., 2011) as a result of participating in SAS. In the quantitative phase of the study, curriculum relevancy and STEM attitudes were assessed with a pre- and post- adventure STEM experience survey. The qualitative portion of the study consisted of semi-structured in-person interviews with 14 students and eight teachers shortly after their SAS experience to gain additional insights into the results of the statistical analysis and identify how students and teachers see the relevancy of adventure STEM curriculum. This study’s findings add to the body of adventure STEM literature and lends support to the positive benefits of engaging youth in adventure STEM programming.
Research Article
Metacognitive Regulation of Essentialism in the Teaching of Evolution
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2295,
ABSTRACT: Essentialism is a way of reasoning that implies assuming that the members of a group share an immutable essence, and that the variation among the members of the group is negligible. Although this way of reasoning is useful for people in their everyday lives, it may pose difficulties in the learning of scientific models, particularly those of evolutionary biology. Essentialism, understood as an epistemological obstacle, requires some didactic work encouraging the development of metacognitive vigilance, in other words, the awareness and regulation of this way of thinking. In this article, we will characterize the processes of metacognitive regulation of essentialism that took place during a didactic sequence to teach evolution. The sequence was implemented in a secondary school in Argentina with 80 students. We will present some of the possibilities and difficulties of carrying out metacognitive regulation of essentialism in biology classrooms. From the use of thematic analysis, we have found that students seem to regulate essentialism in an implicit way during discussions with their classmates, at both the individual and social levels. Moreover, in the case of evolution learning, we distinguished two types of specific regulations: the regulation of ‘typologism’ and that of ‘noise’. In this sense, we consider that essentialism is not regulated as a whole, but instead through some of its assumptions. This work will allow further thinking about the possibilities of promoting the metacognitive regulation of epistemological obstacles in biology classes.
Research Article
Bayesian Versus Frequentist Estimation for Item Response Theory Models of Interdisciplinary Science Assessment
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2297,
ABSTRACT: Along with the trend emphasizing ID learning, ID assessments to measure students’ ID understanding have been developed by several scholars. The interdisciplinary science assessment for carbon cycling (ISACC) was developed to assess ID understanding among high school and college students in integrating knowledge from different science disciplines to explain a scientific phenomenon, global carbon cycling. The ISACC’s construct validity was checked using traditional item response theory (IRT) models in 2021. The current study was motivated by the desire to reveal the difference in IRT analysis results of the ISACC using a Bayesian approach in comparison with the results using the traditional approach. The Bayesian approach has several strengths over the traditional IRT. The results of the study imply the need for additional research for the development and validation of interdisciplinary science assessments through strong psychometric properties.
Research Article
Bonding Nature of Science (NOS) and Nature of the Sciences (NOTSs) with Conceptual Knowledge: Introducing NOS and NOTSs Learning Objectives into the Teaching of ‘Homeostasis’
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2298,
ABSTRACT: The present study aims to design an instruction that engages nature of science (NOS) and nature of the sciences (NOTSs) learning objectives with the teaching and learning of a core biological concept or ‘big’ idea, namely homeostasis. The design process involves choices regarding what NOS and NOTSs aspects are to be taught, while the formulation of these aspects is in accordance with science-content learning objectives, such as the understanding of definitional features of homeostasis and human thermoregulatory mechanisms, and difficulties that students face in accomplishing these objectives. Through NOS and NOTSs learning objectives, students are expected to be informed of (a) the theory-laden character of scientific knowledge, (b) the hierarchical organization of primary ontological levels, (c) a model focusing on aspects of biological causality (d) definitional and accompanying features of the notion of mechanism, and (e) how to search for finding mechanisms including the interrelation of structure and function. Moreover, students are instructed in elaborating on their causal reasoning through a model and a metaphor (e.g., air-condition) when considering human thermoregulatory mechanisms. The potential benefits of the teaching of all these items to students’ understanding of homeostasis are also discussed.
Research Article
A Case Study of Elementary Pre-Service Teachers Experiencing an STS-Based Science Methods Course
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2299,
ABSTRACT: Incorporating STS-based instruction in K-12, particularly, elementary classrooms, is contingent upon proper preparation of a teaching force that understands STS issues and is well equipped to focus instruction on such issues. It is, therefore, imperative that teacher beliefs, attitude, and understanding of STS issues and STS-focused instruction are considered and addressed during teacher education programs and particularly methods courses. The purpose of the current case study was to examine a small group of elementary pre-service teachers’ experiences and reflection on the STS component of a science methods course, pre and post environmental literacy, views and attitude toward STS issues and instruction, and how their experiences influenced their views and attitudes. The results of this study are promising and allow us to examine the experiences and perceptions of individual students. All five participants who began the course with minimal knowledge of STS issues and little to no confidence or willingness to teach about STS issues, ended the course with a greater understanding of STS issues, skills to deal with and teach STS issues, and willingness to take action and incorporate STS-based instruction. The study’s participants suggested that multiple aspects of the exploratory and STS-focused course allowed for them to rethink some of their previous ideas, gain a deep understanding of STS issues, and become equipped to take action and also incorporate STS-based instruction into their future classrooms.
Research Article
Growing Seeds, Minds, and Community: A Case Study Evaluation of the Green Thumb Project’s Youth Internship Program
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2300,
ABSTRACT: Urban community gardens are often home to a variety of environmental education programs. One such program centered in a community garden is the Youth Internship Program created by The Green Thumb Project. Through mixed methods techniques and a case study approach, the Youth Internship Program’s immediate outcomes were evaluated by assessing 12 participants’ changes in career preparedness skills, healthy living attitudes, and content knowledge after participating in the eight-week long curriculum. Outcomes were assessed through the lens of situated learning theory and its relation to place-based environmental education. Through analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data, results indicated that the Youth Internship Program was effective in positively changing all interns’ skills, attitudes, and knowledge. Linear regressions showed that skills, attitudes, and knowledge had significant positive relationships with one another. This finding indicated that the themes were interconnected and that learning gains in one area helped interns experience gains in another area. Overall, the data demonstrated that the program was effective in helping interns grow personally, professionally, and academically.
Research Article
Experiencing Tightly and Loosely Structured Research Groups: The Influence on Preservice Science Teachers’ Abilities to Engage in Science Practices
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2301,
ABSTRACT: There have been recent calls for students to not only learn the content of science, but also its practices. If teachers are to teach their students how to engage in those practice, then they need to have at least had some experience engaging in them. The US NSF research experiences for the teachers (RET) programs provide opportunities for the teachers to engage in those practices. In those programs, the teachers work in research groups that vary in the ways in which they are structured. This suggests they might gain different experiences depending on their research groups even if the teachers participate in the same program. Because of this reason, in this study we aimed to find out how participating in differently structured research groups influence preservice teachers’ abilities to engage in science practices. By using a comparative case study approach, we compared two preservice science teachers’ experiences and abilities in an RET program that required teachers to engage in research projects. Analysis of data from preservice teacher and graduate student mentor surveys and interviews, and observation notes indicated that the preservice teacher who participated in a loosely structured research group did not have the opportunity to improve in most of the practices and left the program as a novice researcher. On the other hand, the preservice teacher who participated in a tightly structured research group improved in most of the practices and to being a proficient technician.
Research Article
The Impact of the Environmental Excellence Program on the Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors of 4th Grade Students Towards Waste Management
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2302,
ABSTRACT: Environmental education is a key factor in helping individuals become eco-friendly, particularly in terms of how to deal with the waste they produce. Therefore, the main aim of the study is to examine the effectiveness of the environmental excellence program (EEP) in improving fourth-grade students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors towards waste management.
The EEP adopted a one-group quasi-experimental design using pre-post application. The study was performed with a sample of 187 students (83 males and 104 females) selected from three schools from one Educational Governorate in the Sultanate of Oman. The knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the students towards the waste management scale (SKABWMS) were used for data collection.
Study findings revealed that there are significant differences between pre and post applications of the SKABWMS in students’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors in favor of post-application. In addition, the results showed that female students developed better behaviors than male students after taking part in the EEP. In light of these results, suggestions and recommendations were made in this study to improve the EEP implementation in schools, in its latest version.