Action Research 5
For many science teachers the answer to this question may lie in the integration of research proven methods such as experiments, labs, authentic assessments, project based-learning, the scientific method, and other constructivist activities all while teaching students about the nature of science and engaging them in inquiry (Ahlgren & Rutherford, 1990; Baker & White, 2003; Barnet, Chavez, Deni, et. al., 2006; Bednarz, 2000; Blumenfield, Krajcik, & Tal, 2006; Czerniak, Haney, Lumpe, 2003; Donohue, Kenney, & Militana, 2003;Dexter, 1958; Feynman, 1995; Gurian, 2001; Lehrer & Schauble, 1999; Orion & Holfstein, 1994; Tobias, 1990). But what about integrating those key elements of science education along with a field study component? Could this integration increase achievement and/or motivation in the science classroom? Could this method increase awareness of the nature of science? Research on the topic of field work dates back to the pre-atomic era (Stevenson, 1940); in fact, positive literature promoting field work by high school students dates back to before the moon landing (Dexter, 1958).
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of integrating science education’s best practices with fieldwork in relation to student achievement and motivation in the secondary science classroom.
The specific research questions are…
Does best practices fieldwork increase student achievement in the secondary science classroom?
Does best practices fieldwork increase student motivation to learn in the science classroom?