Close Menu

Judith S. Lederman

Judith S. Lederman Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Director of Teacher Education






IGT Building (South), Suite 4009 3424 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60616


B.A. Biology and Secondary Education, Rhode Island College
M.S. Natural Sciences, Worcester Polytechnic Insitute
Ph.D. Science Education, Curtain University of Technology, Perth, Australia

Research & Accomplishments 

Judith Sweeney Lederman is currently the Director of Teacher Education in the Department of Mathematics and Science Education at Illinois Institute of Technology. Prior to her appointment at IIT, Dr. Lederman was a science teacher educator at Oregon State University, the University of Rhode Island and Providence College. She has been the Curator of Education at the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium in Providence, Rhode Island, and Science Director of a science and mathematics professional development center where she supervised K-8 science education for 10 Rhode Island school districts. She taught secondary level physics and biology for 20 years, as well as bilingual elementary science.

Judith Sweeney Lederman has over 600 national and international presentations/publications on the teaching and learning of Scientific Inquiry and Nature of Science in both formal and informal settings. She also has co-authored an elementary science teaching methods text. She has presented in Taiwan, Australia, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Spain, China and South Africa. She has served on the Board of Directors of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and is past president of the Council for Elementary Science International (CESI). She chaired the Association of Science Teacher Educators (ASTE) Committee on Informal Science Education and was member of the Equity committees for National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) and ASTE. Other recognitions include Rhode Island State Teacher of the Year, Milken Foundation National Educators Award, state Presidential Award, Christa McAuliffe Fellowship, and the Toyota TAPESTRY Award.


  • Project Way2Go - Illinois Institute of Technology - Western Michigan University Collaboration "A current, 5 year NSF joint project with Western Michigan Univeristy. The project goals are to investigate the relative value of inquiry-oriented and "direct" instruction."
  • International Investigation of Inquiry and Direct Instruction "A collaborative research project between MSED and the University of Stockholm. This is a systematic investigation of the relative effectiveness of direct and indirect instruction in Stockholm, Sweden and Chicago."
  • NOS/Inquiry Instrument Development "This collaborative project with University of Duisberg-Essen, in Germany is developing a competency based assessment instrucment for nature of science and scientific inquiry."
  • Perceptions of Inquiry "An international collaboration with University of Hong, Beijing Normal University, and IIT. This is a cross-cultural investigation of physics’ teachers’ perceptions of inquiry-oriented instruction."
  • Development of Instructional Skills for Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry "Investigation of the parallel development of knowledge of nature of science and knowledge about inquiry and instructional practice."
  • Development of Assessment Protocol for Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry "This project, in collaboration with Ancona School, is attempting to develop an assessment protocol for nature of science and scientific inquiry for use with students who are too young to write or read."
  • Development of Assessment Protocol for Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry "This project, in collaboration with Ancona School, is attempting to develop an assessment protocol for nature of science and scientific inquiry for use with students who are too young to write or read."
  • Perspectives- IIT Mathematics and Science Academy "MSED will serve as the Math and Science partner for Perspectives Charter Schools’ newly approved Mathematics and Science Academy (grades 6-12). The school is scheduled to open Fall, 2008."
  • High School Transformation Project "A three-year (with opportunity to renew for two additional two-year periods) curriculum and professional development project funded by the Gates Foundation and Chicago Public Schools. MSED provides new science curricula (biology, chemistry and physics) and professional development for all science faculty in 11 Chicago high schools. Additional high schools are added each year."
  • Operation Biotechnology "A three-year FIPSE grant in collaboration with the Biotechnology Institute. This project develops and implements biotechnology instructional modules, as well as prepares lead teachers for subsequent professional development dissemination."
  • Math/Science Leadership Cohort "A professional development leadership program for inservice teachers that leads to a Masters degree in science or mathematics education. Those who complete the program serve as mentor teachers for their districts as well as supervisors in model sites for future teachers. We are currently in our fourth year and recruitment for cohort #5 will begin in the spring."
  • Chicago Public Schools – Science Cohort "A project designed to assist science teachers from representative Chicago high schools implement newly adopted science curriculum. Twenty-five teachers typically participate in year-long professional development in Glencoe-based earth science, chemistry and biology."
  • Young People’s Project "Curriculum implementation project targeting grades 3-6 students, high school tutors, and college tutors. IIT serves as external evaluator for this project."
  • Project RECRUIT "An alternative certification program funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign. IIT is the external evaluator."
  • Taiwan Academic Cultural Exchange "For the fifth consecutive year, MSED will host a group of 30 middle school students from Taiwan. Students experience advanced science instruction and stay in IIT dorms for 10 days each June or July


  • Fulbright Fellowship, 2008, South Africa
  • Milken Family Foundation National Educators Award, 1993
  • Rhode Island State Teacher of the Year, 1992
  • Rhode Island College Alumni?Award, 1992
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Outstanding Science Teacher Award, 1992
  • Christa McAuliffe Fellowship, US State Department of Education, 1991-1992


  • Lederman, N.G., Sweeney, J.K., & Bell, R.L. (2004) Constructing science in elementary classrooms.?New York: Allyn and Bacon.


Sweeney, J.K., (1995)
A Formal Consideration of Informal Science. The Science Teacher, National Science Teachers Association Press, Washington, DC  62(5), 10.

Sweeney, J.K., (1996)
Adaptive Inquiry Based Instruction for Visually Impaired High School Physics Students. Proceedings of the Third National Working Conference on Science for Persons with Disabilities, 51-54.

Sweeney, J.K.. (2000)
How Informal should Informal Education be?  In T.R. Koballa, Jr. & D.J. Tippins (Eds.), Cases in Elementary science education: The Promises and Dilemmas (pp. 157-162). Upper Saddle Ridge, NJ: Merrill/Prentice-Hall.

Sweeney, J. S.,  Lynds, S. E.. (2001).
Reforms and Museums: Enhancing Science Education in Formal and Informal Settings in  J.Rhoton & P. Bowers (Eds.), Professional Development Leadership and the Diverse Learner(pp. 125- 131).   Washington, D.C.: National Science Teachers Association Press.

Lederman, J. S., Stefanich, G. (2004)
Addressing Disabilities in the Context of Inquiry and Nature of Science Instruction  in L. Flick &  N.G. Lederman (Editors),  Scientific Inquiry and Nature of Science: Implications for Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Kluwer.

Lederman, N.G., & Lederman, J.S. (2004)
Nature of science and scientific inquiry. In G. Venville & V. Dawson ( Editors), The Art of Teaching Science in Australian Schools. Australia: Allen &Unwin Publishers.

Lederman, N.G., & Lederman, J.S. (2004).  Revising instruction to teach nature of science.
The Science Teacher, 71(9), 36-39.

Crowther, D.T., Lederman ,N.G., Lederman, J.S. (2005). Understanding the true meaning of nature of science. Science and Children, 43(2), 50-52.

Lederman, J.S., & Lederman, N.G. (2005). Nature of Science is…. Science and Children, 43(2), 53-54.

Lederman, N.G., Lederman, J.S., & Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2006).  Alternative certification: Aspirations and realities. In J. Rhoton & P. Shane (Editors) Teaching science in the 21stCentury (pp. 257-274). Arlington, VA: NSTA Press.

Cannon, J.R, Lederman, J.S., Colucci, M., & Smith, M. (2006). Science beyond classroom walls in Fathman, A.K & Crowther, D.T. (Editors), Science for English Language Learners. Virginia: NSTA Press.

Lederman, N.G., Lederman, J.S., & Abd-El-Khalick, F. (2006). Alternative certification: Aspirations and realities. NSTA Reports 18(2), 6-8.

Lederman, N.G., Lederrman, J.S. (2007) .Standards for science education in the United States: Necessary Evil? in Waddington, D., Nentwig, P., & Schanze, S. (Editors), Making it comparable: Standards in Science Education. , Germany: Waxmann Publishing Co.

Professional Societies