Tom McConnell

Associate Professor of Biology

CL 168A  Phone: 765-285-8840  

Department of Biology

Related Link
Personal Web Site

Academic Info

Postdoctoral Research Associate Fellowship, Michigan State University (2006-2008)
Purdue University, Ph.D., Science Education (2006)
IPFW, M.S., Secondary Education (2000)
Purdue University, B.S., Biology (1987)

Research interests

My research interests are in science teacher professional development and inquiry-based science curriculum development.

Specific Goals: Improving teaching practice and assessing the impact of professional development programs on K-12 science teachers’ practices. The models focus on content learning, inquiry teaching strategies, and curriculum development and implementation. The PD programs focus on practical strategies for inquiry-based teaching of science, and include teacher reflection. Impacts studied include teacher self-efficacy, inquiry practices, and teacher and student learning outcomes.

In my research, I have:

  • Described patterns in teacher learning of science content and process skills.
  • Generated a collection of teacher-generated lesson plans for K-12 science teaching
  • Tested and revised various models of professional development programs, including the Conservation Educator Academy, Engineering STEM Success, and the Problem-Based Learning Project for Teachers.
  • Published a series of books containing lesson plans and comprehensive instructions for implementing Problem-Based Learning for K-12 teachers and professional development planners.


McConnell, T. J., Parker, J. M., & Eberhardt, J. (in press). Problem-Based Learning in the Earth-Space Science Classroom, K-12. Alexandria, VA: NSTA Press. ISBN 978-1-941316-19-1, e-ISBN 978-941316-72-6.

McConnell, T. J., Parker, J. M., & Eberhardt, J. (2016). Problem-Based Learning in the Life Science Classroom, K-12. Alexandria, VA: NSTA Press. ISBN 978-1-941316-20-7, e-ISBN 978-1-941316-69-6.

Stump, S., Bryan, J., & McConnell, T. J. (2016, April). Making STEM connections through inquiry: Acting as quality control engineers and service providers, students collaborate to engage, explore and explain their results. Mathematics Teacher, 109(8), 576-583.

Aurah, C. M., Cassady, J. C., & McConnell, T. J. (2014). Genetics problem solving in high school testing in Kenya: Effects of metacognitive prompting during testing. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 18(8). 2-26.

Aurah, C. M. & McConnell, T. J. (2014). Comparative study on pre-service science teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs of teaching in Kenya and the United States of America. American Journal of Educational Research, 2(4), 23-239.

Aurah, C. M., Cassady, J. C., & McConnell, T. J. (2014). Predicting problem solving ability from the metacognition and self-efficacy beliefs on a cross validated sample. British Journal of Education, 2(1), 49-72.

McConnell, T. J. (2013). Guidelines for successful science fair projects: What do the judges want? Invited manuscript submitted to The Hoosier Science Teacher, 39(2), 5-10..

McConnell, T. J., Parker, J. M., & Eberhardt, J. (2013). Problem-based learning as an effective strategy for science teacher professional development. [Special Issue] The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 86(6), 216-233. DOI: 10.1080/00098655.213.826486.

McConnell, T. J., & Makowski, S. D. (2013). The incredible semipermeable egg: An “inquirized” activity for teaching osmosis. The Hoosier Science Teacher, 38(4), 144-150.

McConnell, T. J., Parker, J. M., & Eberhardt, J. (2013). Assessing teachers’ science content knowledge: A strategy for assessing depth of understanding. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(4), 717-743. DOI: 10.1007/s10972-01309342-3.

McConnell, T. J., Parker, J. M., Eberhardt, J., Koehler, M. J., & Lundeberg, M. A. (2013). Virtual professional learning communities: Videoconferencing as a tool to facilitate teacher learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 22(3), 267-277. DOI: 10.1007/s10956-102-9391-y

Zhang, M., Lundeberg, M., McConnell, T. J., Koehler, M. J., & Eberhardt, J. (2010). Using questioning to facilitate discussion of science teaching problems in teacher professional development. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 4(1), 57-82.

McConnell, T. J., Zhang, M., Koehler, M. J., Lundeberg, M. A., Urban-Lurain, M., Parker, J. M., & Eberhardt, J. (2008). A lesson in teaching, starring you. Journal of Staff Development, 29(4), 39-42.

McConnell, T. J., Eberhardt, J., Lundeberg, M. A., Parker, J. M., Koehler, M. J., Urban-Lurain, M., & Stanaway, J. C. (2008). The PBL Project for Teachers: Using problem-based learning to guide K-12 science teachers’ professional development. MSTA Journal, 53(1), 16-21

McConnell, T. J., Stanaway, J. C., Eberhardt, J., Parker, J. M., Lundeberg, M. A., & Koehler, M. J. (2008). Building a better PBL problem: Lessons learned from the PBL Project for Teachers. MSTA Journal, 53(1), 47-53.

Trommater, P., Farlee, R., Hollinshead, G., Larkins, M., Stanway, J. C., & McConnell, T. J. (2008). Weather across the elementary curriculum. MSTA Journal, 53(1), 32-34.

McConnell, T. J., Lundeberg, M. A., Koehler, M. J., Urban-Lurain, M., & Zhang, T. (2008). Video based teacher reflections: What is the real effect on reflections of in-service teachers. In Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference of the Association of Science Teacher Educators (pp. 1-14).

Lundeberg, M., Koehler, M., Eberhardt, J., Parker, J., Zhang, M., McConnell, T., & Weizman, A. (2007). Preparing science teachers using a problem-based learning framework. Conference proceedings of the International Academic Conference of Preparing Quality Science Teachers for Elementary and Secondary Schools. National Science Council (Taiwan), May 31 – June 2, 2007. Taipei, Taiwan.

Capobianco, B. M., McConnell, T. J., Priddy, M., & Schellenberger, L. (2006). Engaging in collaborative action research as prospective science teacher educators. In P. Brewer & M. Firmin (Eds), Ethnographic and qualitative research in education: Proceedings of the seventh annual conference. Amersham, MA: Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 97-106.

Capobianco, B. M., McConnell, T. J., Priddy, M., & Schellenberger, L. (2006, January). Collaborative action research on becoming science teacher educators. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association of Science Teacher Educators, Portland, OR.

McConnell, T. J. (2006). Defining technology integration in the science classroom: A question of pedagogical reasoning. The Hoosier Science Teacher, 31(4), 102-109.

McConnell, T. J. (2006). Using collaborative reflection to build integration skills among preservice elementary science teachers. [published dissertation]. West Lafayette, Purdue University. ProQuest publication #AAI3251658.