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Action Research     13

world” (p. 6).  Thus, PBL’s social interaction and varied requirements authentically prepares students for future scientific careers.

Blumenfield, Krajcik, and Tal (2006), found that when 78 students participated in a project on force and motion students average achievement experienced significant gains as demonstrated by pre and post-tests.  They found similar positive results among the 755 students’ results after a water quality project.    On another project based learning assignment on the East Coast researchers Donohue, Kenney, and Militana (2003) found teachers to be impressed with student results following PBL:

     Teachers commented on gains in student knowledge that they observed in the classroom.      Students were able to retain information, that they learned outside and use it in the classroom.  According to the teachers, the lessons tapped into the different learning styles that students have and also required the students to use higher level thinking skills (p. 5).

The Buck Institute (2002) similarly finds that PBL augments the quality of learning and leads to the development of higher-level thinking through students' interaction with multifarious and original problems faced within projects.

Barnet, Chavez, and Deni (2006) reported that after students participated in an outdoor project based learning environment they scored higher than the control group (non PBL) in three of the four areas tested.  Those three areas were desire to be a scientist, ecological awareness, and knowledge of scientific methodology.  They also found that teachers observed that students' self-confidence inside the science classroom increased as a result of their participation in outdoor project based learning.  This indicates that fieldwork could be a desired component of PBL projects.

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