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Lynn Bryan

Department of Physics
Department of Curriculum & Instruction


Professor Bryan's research program and scholarship focus on teacher thinking in the process of learning to teach science. She uses case study and interpretive methods to conduct in-depth, longitudinal studies of teacher thinking (beliefs and knowledge) as it relates to classroom actions. Professor Bryan's scholarship draws on a coordinated cognitive and sociocultural perspective. Specifically, her research may be characterized by the contexts in which her work takes place: (a) instructionally innovative settings involving novel curriculum reform and technology-enhanced environments, and (b) culturally and linguistically diverse settings.

  • Science teacher thinking in instructionally innovative settings: Nanoscale science education. Professor Bryan's research in nanoscale science education focuses on teachers' development of knowledge for teaching nanoscale science in middle and high school classrooms. Specifically, her research group is investigating middle and high school teachers' knowledge of concepts, causal networks, and explanatory structures of nanoscale phenomena including size and scale, structure of matter, size-dependent properties, forces and interactions, self-assembly, models and simulations and tools and instrumentation.
  • Science teacher thinking in instructionally innovative settings: Physics curriculum reform. This project involves research on the large scale, multi-institutional implementation of a revolutionary course, Matter and Interactions (M&I), in the undergraduate physics curriculum.
  • Science teacher thinking in instructionally innovative settings: Technology enhanced environments. Professor Bryan is interested in using novel technologies to enhance not only teachers' reflective thinking but also student learning. For example, in her recent work with M&I physics TA's, Professor Bryan is infusing a Web-based video analysis tool, VAT (, into the TA preparation experiences at Purdue. Professor Bryan also has conducted research on the use of this tool to promote reflective thinking in preservice teacher education courses.
  • Science teacher thinking in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. Professor Bryan has collaborated with faculty from the University of Georgia, Benemérita Escuela Normal Veracruzana, and rural schools in Veracruz, Mexico. Her research in rural Mexican classrooms predominantly has focused on teachers' knowledge for promoting social discourse practices in their classrooms that mediate their students' transitions between science, school, and community contexts. Currently, Dr. Bryan is collaborating with the Jiangsu Institute of Education in Nanjing, China to conduct research and engagement activities in the rural schools of Wuxi, China. With funding from a Purdue University Asian Initiative Grant, Professor Bryan and faculty at JIE established the Sino-American Center for Science Education Research and Engagement at the Jiangsu Institute of Education in Nanjing, China in November 2006.

Appointments on National/International Organizations

  • President-elect 
    National Association for Research in Science Teaching
  • Co-editor
    Journal of Science Teacher Education


Ph.D.    Purdue University, 1997, Science Education
M.S. Indiana University, 1992, Secondary Education
B.S. Georgia Institute of Technology, 1986, Chemistry

Selected Publications

  • Bryan, L. A. (in press). Science education research on teacher beliefs.  In B. Fraser, K. Tobin, & C. McRobbie (Eds.), International Handbook of Science Education (2nd Ed.).
  • Bryan, L. A., Sederberg, D., Daly, S. R., Sears, D. A., & Giordano, N. R. (in press). Facilitating teachers’ development of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology content knowledge.  Nanotechnology Reviews, 1 (1).
  • Mueller, M., Tippins, D., & Bryan, L. (in press). The future of citizen science. Democracy & Education, 3.
  • Seung, E., Bryan, L. A, & Haugan, M. P. (in press). Examining physics graduate teaching assistants’ pedagogical content knowledge for teaching a new physics curriculum.  Journal of Science Teacher Education.
  • Daly, S., & Bryan, L. (2011).  Model use choices of secondary teachers in nanoscale science and engineering education.  Journal of Nano Education, 2, 1-15.   
  • Hutchinson, K., Bodner, G., & Bryan, L. (2011). A qualitative analysis of factors influencing students’ interests in nanoscale science. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education, 1(1), 30-39.
  • Seung, E., & Bryan, L. A. (2010). Physics TA's knowledge development for teaching a novel physics curriculum. Research in Science Education, 40, 675-698.
  • Sederberg, D., & Bryan, L. A. (2009). Tracing a prospective learning progression for magnetism with implications at the nanoscale. Proceedings of the Learning Progressions in Science (LeaPS) Conference, June 25-26, ( Iowa City, IA: Learning Progressions in Science.
  • Seung, E., Bryan, L. A., & Butler, M. M. (2009). Improving preservice middle school science teachers' understanding of the nature of science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 20, 155-177.
  • Seung, E., Bryan, L. A., & Nam, J. (2009). Korean pre-service teachers' understanding about nature of science. Journal of the Korean Association for Research in Science Education, 29, 314-328.
  • Bryan, L., & Allexsaht, Snider, M. (2008). Community contexts for understanding nature and naturally occurring events in rural schools in Mexico. L1: Educational Studies in Language and Literature [special issue on Language, Culture, Ontological Assumptions, Epistemological Beliefs and Knowledge about Nature and Naturally Occurring Events], 8(1), 43-68.
  • Kim, M., Hannafin, M., & Bryan, L. (2007). Technology-enhanced inquiry tools in science education: An emerging pedagogical framework. Science Education, 91, 1010-1030.
  • Bryan, L., & Recesso, A. (2006). Promoting reflection among science student teachers using a Web-based video analysis tool, Journal of Computing in Teacher Education, 23, 31-39.
  • Bryan, L., & McLaughlin, H. J. (2005). Teaching and learning in rural Mexico: A portrait of student responsibility in everyday school life. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21, 33-48.
  • Bryan, L. A. (2003). The nestedness of beliefs: Examining a prospective elementary teacher's belief system about science teaching and learning. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 40, 835-868.
  • Bryan, L. A., & Atwater, M. M. (2002). Teacher beliefs and cultural models: A challenge for teacher preparation programs. Science Education, 86, 821-839.
  • Keys, C., & Bryan, L. A. (2001). Co-constructing inquiry-based science with teachers: Essential research for lasting reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 631-645.
  • Bryan, L. A., & Abell, S. K. (1999). The development of professional knowledge in learning to teach elementary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36, 121-140.


2008-present               Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction and Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2005-2008 Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
2003-2005 Associate Professor, Department of Science and Mathematics Education (2004-2005), Department of Science Education (2003-2004), The University of Georgia
1997-2003 Assistant Professor, Department of Science Education, The University of Georgia
1994-1997 Research Assistant, Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
1992-1996 Graduate Instructor, Department of Physics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
1989-1992 Teacher: Physics, Independent Scientific Research, Environmental Science, Park Tudor School, Indianapolis, IN
1987-1988 Assistant Pharmacologist, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN


EDCI 49000/ PHYS29000   Science Teaching Service Learning
EDCI 49800W Supervised Teaching Physics Education
EDCI 51800 The Nature of Science in Science Teaching
EDCI 59100A Teaching and Learning Nanoscale Science in Grades 7-12
EDCI 62200 Special Topics: International Scholarship in Science Education
EDCI 69500 STEM Goes Rural Student Teaching Supervision
GRAD 59000G       Nature of the Middle School Learner and Implications for Teaching Science
PHYS 49000 Physics Education Independent Research
PHYS 59000 Physics Reading and Research (Physics Education)