ERIC Number: EJ1039211
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 100
Elementary Science Indoors and Out: Teachers, Time, and Testing
Carrier, Sarah J.; Tugurian, Linda P.; Thomson, Margareta M.
Research in Science Education, v43 n5 p2059-2083 Oct 2013
In this article, we present the results from a mixed-methods research study aimed to document indoor and outdoor fifth grade science experiences in one school in the USA in the context of accountability and standardized testing. We used quantitative measures to explore students' science knowledge, environmental attitudes, and outdoor comfort levels, and via qualitative measures, we examined views on science education and environmental issues from multiple sources, including the school's principal, teachers, and students. Students' science knowledge in each of the four objectives specified for grade 5 significantly improved during the school year. Qualitative data collected through interviews and observations found limited impressions of outdoor science. Findings revealed that, despite best intentions and a school culture that supported outdoor learning, it was very difficult in practice for teachers to supplement their classroom science instruction with outdoor activities. They felt constrained by time and heavy content demands and decided that the most efficient way of delivering science instruction was through traditional methods. Researchers discuss potentials and obstacles for the science community to consider in supporting teachers and preparing elementary school teachers to provide students with authentic experiential learning opportunities. We further confront teachers' and students' perceptions that science is always best and most efficiently learned inside the classroom through traditional text-driven instruction.
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Mixed Methods Research, Outdoor Education, Grade 5, Elementary School Science, Accountability, Standardized Tests, Knowledge Level, Student Attitudes, Environmental Education, Scientific Attitudes, Principals, Elementary School Teachers, Interviews, Observation, School Culture, Teaching Conditions, Teacher Attitudes, Administrator Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A