Many of the scientific topics that students encounter during their K-12 learning experience require them to grapple with very abstract and conceptually challenging ideas. This is because the phenomena involved may occur on scales that are either too large or too small to be readily observed, occur at rates that are either too fast or too slow to be witnessed, or occur in hidden or concealed situations. It is the job of classroom teachers to find ways to make these conceptually challenging scientific ideas accessible to students. Our research team has documented experienced teachers’ abilities to facilitate engaging, inquiry-focused classroom discussions in order to foster students’ abilities to construct, evaluate, and revise workable explanatory models for the concepts they are learning. For our team, the next step is applying the results of this research in the development of courses and learning modules in which pre-service teachers can acquire and practice these discussion-leading skills. This paper provides an overview of one of the classroom discourse investigations that our research team has carried out over the past few years and explains the process that we have developed to share what we are learning with pre-service science teachers.










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