This paper reports on a longitudinal study on how science student teachers’ reasoning about a
complex environmental issue developed through a teacher education programme in mathematics
and science for grades 1–7 (ages 7–13). Of special interest was to follow the ways in which student
teachers used scientific knowledge in their reasoning. The issue was taken from a newspaper article
discussing the use of surplus heat from a crematorium for district heating. A group of 14 student
teachers were followed through 21/2 years of a teacher education programme, during which they
were interviewed three times. The results showed that the student teachers drew upon scientific
knowledge only to a limited degree when they were asked to clarify the situation in the article,
quickly taking standpoints based upon emotional arguments. Several student teachers experienced
a contradiction between science and their emotions. It was also shown that there was a conceptual
problem, which could be important for how the student teachers understood the issue, and thereby
influenced their decision-making.
2005. Vol. 11, no 5, 557-573 p.