Science teachers learning about the nature of science and scientific inquiry by doing astronomical research: The Binary Star Project
"The researcher investigated how participating in a scientific research project changed science teachers' views of scientific inquiry and the nature of science. The Binary Star Project was designed so that science teachers could gain experience doing astronomical research. Throughout this project an astronomer, who had experience in observing and measuring binary stars, guided the teachers in binary star research. The astronomical goals of the project were for the teachers to observe and update the separations and position angles of several binary stars and to submit this new knowledge to an internationally recognized astronomical database.
The researcher attempted to find out about two questions: (a) What effects does participation on a scientific research team have on science teachers' views of the nature of science and scientific inquiry? (b) What other effects occurred to science teachers by participating on a scientific research team? Data sources included interviews, participants written responses to open-ended questions about the nature of science and science inquiry, responses to reflective questions, participant artifacts, and the researcher's participant observations. The binary star data collected by these teachers were submitted to the United States Naval Observatory and were included in the Washington Double Star Catalog. The results of this research did show that changes do occur in these science teachers' views of the nature of science and scientific inquiry. Other results included the teachers' learning some new science inquiry skills, experiencing work as part of a scientific team, and experiencing some enculturation. There may have only been a minimal change in their pedagogy as a result of having this experience doing binary star research. The Binary Star Project did provide these teachers a motivational experience doing scientific research. Several of them felt more empowered to do scientific inquiry with their middle and secondary school students as described in the National Science Education Standards and Project 2061."
Wilson, J. W. (2003). Science teachers learning about the nature of science and scientific inquiry by doing astronomical research: The Binary Star Project. Doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia