Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Heidi Mills


Gordon Wells (2001) stated that policy makers and educational planners believe there is a crisis in public education. These individuals talk about improving the “delivery of a standardized education” (p. 172) and creating nation-wide assessments that ensure particular outcomes. On the other hand, Wells (2001) discussed academic researchers who are interested in students achieving “depth of understanding” by emphasizing the importance of inquiry, construction of knowledge, and collaboration. Unfortunately, Wells (2001) also believed that the daily practice of classroom teachers lies somewhere between these two perspectives, meaning their teaching practices may not always align with their teaching philosophy. This research is my admittance that my practices did not always live up to my beliefs. By participating in an apprenticeship experience, working alongside scientists collecting climate change data, I recognized the importance of teaching in ways that reflect my beliefs. This study demonstrates when teachers put the assumptions that underlie their beliefs to the test (Harste, Woodward, & Burke, 1984), through belief maintenance (Schreiber & Moss, 2002), they deliberately position themselves to grow new beliefs and practices.

The purpose of this study was to identify features of an apprenticeship model that promoted authentic learning while working along-side scientists investigating the intertidal zone of the Oregon Coast in order to approximate those conditions when creating curriculum in my fourth grade classroom. As a teacher researcher (Cochran- Smith & Lytle, 1993; Herr & Anderson, 2005; Hubbard & Power, 2012), I employed qualitative research methods (Marshall & Rossman, 2006) to study how we constructed knowledge in Oregon to apprentice my students through a unit of study on climate change.