ERIC Number: ED337328
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Hands-On Science Instruction in the Rural Elementary School: A Strategy To Reduce the High School Dropout Rate.
Hartshorn, Robert L.; Nelson, Ramona L.
A growing body of evidence indicates that activity-based approaches to teaching science are more effective than traditional methods in producing a wide range of desirable student outcomes at all grade levels. The Elementary Science Education Institute (ESEI) was designed to train elementary science teachers in the use of hands-on science methodology. From 1987 to 1989, 27 teams of 4 educators each completed 240 hours of instruction at the University of Tennessee at Martin, followed by a year-long program of science education improvement at their schools. Data on content knowledge and attitudes were collected from 902 students of teachers in the first cycle of training and a comparison group of students whose teachers did not participate in training. After one year of instruction, ESEI students outperformed controls on content knowledge for Grades 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, although fifth grade differences were not significant. For first and second grades, attitudes toward science instruction (as measured by forced-choice questions) improved during the year among ESEI students but became more negative among controls. However, attitudes indicated by open-ended affective questions became more negative for both groups. In Grades 4-6, while attitudes on both types of questions became more negative for both groups, ESEI students had better attitudes than the comparison group in fourth and sixth grade, and controls had better attitudes in fifth grade. (SV)
Descriptors: Attitude Change, Elementary Education, Elementary School Science, Elementary School Students, Experiential Learning, Hands on Science, Higher Education, Inservice Teacher Education, School Attitudes, Science Course Improvement Projects, Science Education, Science Teachers, Student Attitudes, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Tennessee Higher Education Commission, Nashville.; National Science Foundation, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Elementary Science Education Institute
Note: Paper presented at the Rural Education Symposium of the American Council on Rural Special Education and the National Rural and Small Schools Consortium (Tucson, AZ, March 18-22, 1990).