Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Uldis Smidchens

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Donald Thompson


The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of Michigan Operation Physics (MOP) on the teaching and learning of basic physics concepts in the elementary classroom as perceived by both the teachers and principals of those teachers. In addition, the study sought to identify the teachers' and principals' perceptions of the principal's role in promoting science at the elementary level.

The method used for this study was survey research. Questionnaires were mailed to Michigan Operation Physics participants, non- Michigan Operation Physics participants, and the principals of those teachers in southwestern Michigan.

Findings of this study were that teachers' and principals' perceptions of the impact of Michigan Operation Physics on the teaching of elementary science were positive. Teachers (82.4% ) perceived their attitudes toward science and the teaching of science were more positive due to participation in Michigan Operation Physics. Michigan Operation Physics participants (97.3% ) revealed hands-on, inquiry based science instruction was modeled as a teaching strategy. Findings of this study indicate that 85.7% of MOP participants are "confident" or "moderately comfortable" with physical science concepts. This compares favorably to the same perception held by 72.8% of principals.

Principals perceived they demonstrate leadership in elementary science by discussing science with their teachers, visiting classrooms when science lessons are being taught, and insisting that science is taught a specified amount of time. The study revealed that 90.9% of principals felt science should be taught everyday for a period of 20 to 40 minutes. Over 80% of principals indicated local funds were provided for the support of school science. The perceptions held by teachers regarding the principal's leadership role were not consistent with those of principals. The limited scope of this study precludes the adoption of any definitive position.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access