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Melissa Luna, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Science Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies, WVU College of Education and Human Services
After earning a BS in Elementary Education from Valparaiso University, I became a 4th grade teacher. My interest in elementary science teacher thinking and learning stems from my own experience teaching science to my 4th graders early in my teaching career. During this time, I attended professional development in which I was introduced to a different way of teaching and learning science—one that started with students’ ideas in order to support students constructing deeper understanding of phenomena in the world. Subsequently, as I tried out and shared this new way of teaching and learning science with my students and fellow teachers, I became increasingly curious about how teachers think about science teaching and learning and about how to support teachers in learning to teach science differently. Addressing this has become my passion and has fueled my desire to become a science education scholar. I therefore returned to my studies earning an M.S. in Environmental Education from Lesley University and a PhD in the Learning Sciences from Northwestern University.
I am currently an assistant professor of science education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at West Virginia University. My research interests include elementary teachers’ noticing and sense-making of students’ scientific thinking and elementary teacher preparation and professional development in science.
Elementary Teachers’ Noticing of Students’ Thinking in Science
I utilize different technologies and research methodologies to both examine and support elementary teacher noticing and learning to notice students’ ideas and thinking in science. My research activities involve empirical investigations of teachers’ noticing of students’ thinking in science, theory building around teachers’ knowledge of noticing students’ thinking in science, and design-based research to develop instructional materials supporting teachers’ knowledge construction around noticing students’ thinking in science.