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ERIC Number: ED515531
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 155
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1096-7715-7
Field Experience in Science for Fifth Grade Students--A Mixed Methods Study of Learning Environments
Patterson, Barbara E.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Colorado State University
The purpose of this research is to compare students' perceptions of the learning environment in a traditional science classroom and a field study classroom. This mixed methods study used a sequential explanatory design. Phase one was the quantitative phase using two survey tools. A modified version of the "What is happening in this Classroom Survey" (WIHIC) (Fraser et al., 1996) and the "Test of Science Related Attitudes" (TOSRA) (Fraser, 1982) was administered to 60 fifth grade students from one school. Data was then disaggregated by socioeconomic class and ethnicity. Results from Phase one showed that students prefer the classroom for investigation and prefer the field environment for enjoyment of science. Differences in ethnicity and class were small but Hispanic students prefer the field for investigation and equity. Students that are low socio-economic class rank cooperation in the field higher than the classroom and students that do not qualify for free or reduced lunch prefer the field environment for enjoyment of science. Finally, there are strong correlations for the variables of cooperation, investigation, equity and enjoyment of science in both the classroom and the field environment. Questions raised from the analysis of the survey data were further explored through qualitative data collection methods in phase two. Student responses to three questions were coded using template analysis to provide answers to the "how and why" field experience effects students' attitudes toward science. Three themes emerged from the coding of the results. These results showed that students are physically engaged, develop a sense of place and learn skills in the field that reinforce concepts learned in the classroom. This information will help teachers in developing quality and meaningful experiences for all students. "Closing the gaps among minority groups while improving achievement of all students constitutes the dual goals of education in the nation" (Lee et al., 2004, p. 827) and the incorporation of field experience for science education can meet this goal. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A