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Patricia Friedrichsen

Associate Professor with Joint Appointment of Biological Sciences
PhD, 2002 The Pennsylvania State University

Office: 115 Tucker Hall
Phone: 573-882-0446
Additional: Website
Headshot of Patricia Friedrichsen


Research summary

Science teaching and learning

Research description

I have a joint appointment in the Division of Biological Sciences and the Department of Learning, Teaching & Curriculum. My research is in the area of science teaching and learning (K-16), with emphases in secondary science teacher preparation and biology education. As an educational researcher, I primarily use qualitative research methods. Within the area of teacher learning, I use pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) as a theoretical framework. This framework outlines components of a specialized knowledge base for teaching, which includes knowledge and beliefs about (a) science curricula, (b) students’ understandings of science, (c) instructional strategies, (d) assessment, and (e) science teaching orientations. I am particularly interested in the science teaching orientation component, as teachers’ beliefs influence their teaching practice.

Currently, I am a Co-PI on a five year NSF-funded project, “Re-SMAR2T: Researching Science and Mathematics Teacher Learning in Alternative Certification.” This research project examines teacher learning in the context of an alternative certification program (designed for individuals with baccalaureate degrees in science or mathematics) that employs two different models of field-based preparation. In one model, participants are full-time teachers working under emergency certification (independent internship). In the second model, participants work under the direct supervision of a mentor teacher (guided internship). To examine the development of teacher knowledge in these two models, we are collecting longitudinal data from participants at five transition points in their programs using a data collection cycle that includes lesson planning, classroom observations, stimulated recall, and reflection. The findings of this study will inform the design of alternative certification programs.

Prior to this project, I’ve conducted a number of studies on teacher learning. In one study, we examined the formation of teacher identity in an alternative certification program for mathematics and science teachers. The development of a strong teacher identity has been linked to teacher retention. In another study related to teacher retention, we examined the perceived challenges faced by beginning mathematics and science teachers and the support systems they utilize. This study has implications for designing more effective support structures for beginning teachers. In a third study, our research group examined prospective secondary biology teachers’ beliefs about the nature of science, their knowledge of evolution, and their intentions to teach evolution. Although the prospective teachers felt prepared to teach evolution, they indicated their decision whether or not to teach evolution would be based on the context of their future school. This study indicates the need for continued mentoring during the induction years to support teachers learning to teach evolution.

Select Publications

Select Publications

Berry, A., Friedrichsen, P., Loughran, J. Preface. Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, 2015, pp. ix-x.

Berry, A., Friedrichsen, P., Loughran, J. Re-examining pedagogical content knowledge in science education. Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, 2015, pp. 1-269.

Friedrichsen, P., Berry, A. Science teacher PCK learning progressions: Promises and challenges. Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, 2015, pp. 214-228.

Friedrichsen, P. My PCK research trajectory: A purple book prompts new questions. Re-examining Pedagogical Content Knowledge in Science Education, 2015, pp. 147-161.

Barnett, E., Friedrichsen, P.J. Educative Mentoring: How a Mentor Supported a Preservice Biology Teacher’s Pedagogical Content Knowledge Development (2015) Journal of Science Teacher Education, 26 (7), pp. 647-668.

Worsham, H.M., Friedrichsen, P., Soucie, M., Barnett, E., Akiba, M. Recruiting Science Majors into Secondary Science Teaching: Paid Internships in Informal Science Settings. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 2014: 25(1): 53-77.

Aydin, S., Friedrichsen, P.M., Boz, Y., Hanuscin, D.L. Examination of the topic-specific nature of pedagogical content knowledge in teaching electrochemical cells and nuclear reactions. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 2014;15(4): 658-674.

Brown, P., Friedrichsen, P. & Abell, S. (2012). The development of secondary biology teachers PCK. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(1):133-155.

Sickel, A. & Friedrichsen, P. (2013). Examining the evolution education literature with a focus on teachers: major findings, goals for teacher preparation, and directions for future research. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 2013, 6:23.

Hutchins, K.L., Friedrichsen, P.J. Science Faculty Belief Systems in a Professional Development Program: Inquiry in College Laboratories. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 2012, 23(8):867-887.

Lankford, D., Friedrichsen, P. Red onions, Elodea, or decalcified chicken eggs? Selecting & sequencing representations for teaching diffusion & osmosis. American Biology Teacher, 2012, 74(6):392-399.

Sickel, A.J., Friedrichsen, P.J. Using the FAR guide to teach simulations: An example with natural selection. American Biology Teacher, 2012, 74(1):47-51.

Brown, P., & Friedrichsen, P. Teaching Bernoulli’s principle through demos. Science Activities, 2011, 48(2):65-70.

Friedrichsen, P., Driel, J.H.V., Abell, S.K. Taking a closer look at science teaching orientations. Science Education, 2011, 95(2):358-376.

Honors & Awards

Selected honors and awards

Honorary Alumni Award, College of Education 2016

Graduate Faculty Mentor Award - University of Missouri Graduate School 2010

Distinguished Service to Science Award - Science Teachers of Missouri 2009

Gold Chalk Award for Excellence in Teaching - University of Missouri Graduate Professional Council 2009

Professor of the Year - Lambda Chi Alpha 2007

Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers Award - Association for Science Teacher Education 2005

Innovation in Teaching Science Teachers Award - Association for Science Teacher Education 2003