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Action Research     4

The Effects of Best Practices Field Work On Student Achievement and Engagement in Science

Action Research Thesis

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION

My interest in science was inspired by nature.  I would almost always rather be outside observing, exercising, photographing, experimenting, or simply just pondering the infinite intricacies of the natural world.  This interest in “the field” led me to want to teach science and to this exploration of fieldwork.  Many of my students lacked in the areas of achievement and motivation/engagement.  Through my credentialing program, master’s program, and professional development I researched best practices in the teaching of science.  Those practices included constructivism, inquiry, authentic tasks, and project based learning.  Thus, I decided to perform action research on my own students to find out if the aforementioned best practices could be combined with the very thing that inspired me to get into science could inspire higher achievement and motivation.

A major purpose of school is learning.  A major purpose of learning is for our students to create meaningful, authentic, and useful knowledge while gaining valuable thinking and process skills. Most schools aim to create a structure by which students find their experiences there enriching and applicable to the real world.  How do we create classroom environments and curricula that are authentic to the students, to the real world, and to the professionals they will become?  The issue at this point starts to become less clear.  This is a key question in all schools and classes including those in the sciences.

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