First Advisor

Samuel Henry

Date of Publication

Spring 6-4-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Physics -- Study and teaching (Secondary), Teachers -- Attitudes, Science -- Study and teaching



Physical Description

1 online resource (xiv, 255 pages)


This dissertation is a case study of a school district in the Pacific Northwest that developed three-year high school science curricula using a Physics First course sequence (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), with the crosscutting concept Patterns as the central theme of the courses. The purpose of the study was to examine the impact of the implementation of the 9th grade course, Patterns Physics, on teacher practice and beliefs about science teaching and determine whether this new approach facilitated teacher classroom practices and beliefs congruent with those expressed in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (NRC, 2012) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States, 2013). Results from this study indicate that the implementation of Patterns Physics positively impacted teacher confidence in teaching the NGSS science and engineering practices. Professional development that provided teachers multiple opportunities to engage with the curriculum--in the role of a student, in professional discussions with colleagues, and over several years were critical to support a change in practice consistent with three-dimensional (3D) teaching called for by the Framework and NGSS. Teacher participants viewed the Patterns PCB (Physics, Chemistry, and Biology) sequence as an appropriate course sequence, with strong agreement that a 9th grade physics course needs to be tailored to the needs of students, such as added support for students with minimal mathematics skills. The NGSS, with an emphasis on 3D learning (science content knowledge, crosscutting concepts, and science and engineering practices), had a significant positive impact on instructional practice.


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