Journal of STEM Teacher Education


Current mathematics and science standards, namely the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics (CCSSM) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), emphasize engaging students in mathematical and scientific practices. This review article is driven by the question: How can we expect science and mathematics teachers to appropriately engage students in the practices of the scientific and mathematical disciplines, when most teachers themselves lack experience practicing as scientists and mathematicians? To address this question, we review the literature on teachers’ understanding of their discipline’s practices, disciplinary practices as means to engage in inquiry, and how preservice teacher engagement in undergraduate research experiences may contribute to fostering desirable understandings of their disciplines’ practices. We further posit that the communities of practice framework allows teacher educators to conceptualize how undergraduate research can foster understandings of inquiry through engagement in science and mathematical practices, thereby enabling science and mathematics teachers to construct communities of scientific and mathematical practice, respectively, in their own classrooms. We conclude with a call to both provide undergraduate research experiences to preservice science and mathematics teachers as well as an exploration of research that is needed to fully conceptualize the benefits of undergraduate research for preservice science and mathematics teachers.