Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


William F. McComas

Committee Member

Stephen R. Burgin

Second Committee Member

Cathy Wissehr


COVID-19 Pandemic, Elementary Science Instruction, Remote Learning, Public Schools, Teachers' Experiences


Teachers across the United States and worldwide found themselves in unprecedented educational situations during the early response period to the COVID-19 pandemic in spring of 2020. Efforts to quarantine and provide social distancing to prevent the spread of the disease brought mandated school closures throughout the United States, and teachers were required to pivot from their traditional, in-person instructional methods and deliver instruction remotely. This phenomenological multiple-case study explored the experiences of 10 elementary teachers with remote learning during the early response period and sought to understand the delivery of science instruction in the remote learning experience. Weekly interviews were conducted with each teacher over the nine-week remote learning period during the spring of 2020 to focus on their experiences each week in delivering and modifying instruction, engaging students in learning, communicating with parents and students throughout the process, and their perceptions of the involved conditions, situations, or issues of the week. A follow-up interview was conducted in September 2020 to capture the experiences of their transitions back to the classroom while still facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Case studies describing the experiences of the participants were written to capture the essence of what each teacher experienced and the factors that influenced their experiences, and a cross-case synthesis was conducted to draw conclusions and make comparisons across the experiences. Results indicated that literacy and mathematics were the focus of instruction during this remote learning period, giving students minimal opportunities to engage in science content. Teachers delivered instruction through a variety of methods, using digital tools that were often new and unfamiliar. Guidelines and expectations were lacking and did not adequately support teachers. Academic disparities were brought to the forefront due to inadequate access to internet, limited understanding of delivering instruction via remote methods, and the perception of students and parents was that the remote learning experience was optional and unimportant. This study demonstrates the resiliency and efforts of teachers during times of crisis and provides evidence for district and state level leaders needed to support teachers, parents, and students with similar situations in the future.