ERIC Number: ED436352
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-May
Improving Students' Knowledge and Attitudes of Science through the Use of Hands-On Activities.
Fisher, Nancy; Gerdes, Karen; Logue, Teresa; Smith, Lorna; Zimmerman, Inge
This report documents a program for improving science knowledge, attitudes, and higher order thinking skills through experiential science. The hands-on approach used successfully in the program is described, and evidence of student improvement is also presented. The targeted population consisted of students in the first, third, and fourth grades in a single unit district in two rural, middle class communities, located in central Illinois. The problems addressed were evidenced by teacher observation, test scores, anecdotal records, and student surveys. Analysis of probable causes through research literature revealed a lack of teacher training in experiential science, current testing tools not coordinating with teaching methods, and teachers not being given necessary time to plan and prepare appropriate science activities. In addition, teachers, administrators, and community were unwilling to change from content-oriented teaching to hands-on methods, as well as content-oriented textbooks and curriculum not offering hands-on activities to substantiate experiential learning. Also, constraints on supplies and money hindered implementation of hands-on science. Furthermore, technology required to implement hands-on science activities was still in its infancy. Test scores, teacher observations, and anecdotal records indicated a lack of scientific knowledge and procedures, and limited enthusiasm for the subject area. A review of solution strategies suggested by literature, combined with an analysis of the problem, resulted in the selection of the intervention: a program implementing a hands-on science approach. Post intervention data indicated an increase in students' knowledge and the use of higher order thinking skills. Researchers also noted an improved attitude toward science. Appendices include surveys and tests used by the researchers and classroom materials. (Contains 25 references.) (Author/WRM)
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Master's Action Research Project, Saint Xavier University & IRI/Skylight.