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Sixth Grade Students’ Perceptions of Science and Scientists Following A Field-Based Science Investigation A Prospectus by Terrie L. Kielborn.

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Presentation on theme: "Sixth Grade Students’ Perceptions of Science and Scientists Following A Field-Based Science Investigation A Prospectus by Terrie L. Kielborn."— Presentation transcript:

1 Sixth Grade Students’ Perceptions of Science and Scientists Following A Field-Based Science Investigation A Prospectus by Terrie L. Kielborn

2 Purpose for the Study “Everybody needs some understanding of science, its accomplishments and its limitations, whether or not they are themselves scientists or engineers. Improving that understanding is not a luxury: it is a vital investment in the future well-being of our society” (Royal Society, 1985 as cited in Driver, Leach, Millar & Scott, 1996, p. 10).

3 Learning Science “To be proficient at ‘doing science’ students must be able to ‘think like scientists,’ and engage in scientific inquiry” (Hurd, 1994, p. 105). “For children to learn science, they must learn to see the situation (phenomena) in the same way as scientists” (Shepardson, 1997, p. 883).

4 Using Middle School Students When students responded to the question “Do you like science?”, only 68% of eighth graders answered yes (Baker & Piburn, 1997). Students’ science self-concept can be positively or negatively affected by what happens in middle school and secondary science classes (Chiapetta et al., 1998, p. 65).

5 Using the field The field provides experiences for the student with real objects needed to form primary concepts and such experiences are needed for students of all age levels (Novak, 1976). Don Moses of the Smithsonian said that time spent in the field is apt to generate more excitement than classwork alone (Medrich, Rosen, Rubin & Buckley, 1981).

6 If educators are to truly impact students’ perceptions of scientists in a positive manner, and thus increase the numbers of students entering science programs and careers, then more study on student perceptions is needed (Finson, Beaver, & Cramond, 1995, p. 195).

7 Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study is to understand the perceptions that sixth grade students have regarding science and scientists after they engage in three field- based science investigations.

8 Research Questions 1) How will sixth graders’ perceptions of scientists be influenced by their involvement in three science field-based investigations? 2) How will sixth graders’ perceptions of science be influenced by their involvement in three science field-based investigations?

9 Theoretical Framework Constructivism Constructivism is a theory of knowledge in which we construct or build knowledge based on our prior experiences. Constructivism means that people do not “find” or “discover” knowledge as much as they “construct” or “make it”.

10 Theoretical Framework Inquiry Inquiry is the process by which scientists pose questions about the natural world and seek answers and deeper understanding, rather than knowing by authority or other processes (NRC, 1996).

11 Science as a Culture Learning science in the classroom involves children entering a new community of discourse, a new culture” (Driver, Asoko, Leach, Mortimer & Scott, 1994, p. 11).

12 Science is Influenced by Values When teaching science, we must realize that science is deeply embedded in values and these values may or may not agree with those of the students. Scientists also value their beliefs within their individual paradigms (Kuhn, 1996).

13 Quantitative Methodology Draw-A-Scientist-Test (DAST) (Chambers, 1983) as scored by the DAST-Checklist (DAST-C) (Finson, Beaver, & Cramond, 1995) Modified Attitude Toward Science Inventory (mASTI) (Weinburgh, 1999) Both will use approximately 60 sixth grade students

14 DAST (Chambers, 1983) The DAST was developed by Chambers (1983) The following criteria are indicators of the standard image of a scientist: Laboratory coat Eyeglasses Facial growth of hair Symbols of research Technology Relevant captions

15 mASTI (Weinburgh, 1999) Inventory was modified by Weinburgh (1999) to fit the needs of fifth or sixth grade students from Gogolin & Swartz, 1992 Survey uses 25 questions using a Likert-type scale * Uses a six-point scale ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree

16 Qualitative Methodology Naturalistic Inquiry Design (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Patton, 1980) Such studies take place in the natural environment of the phenomena being observed.

17 Naturalistic Inquiry Use of natural setting Use of human subject (3) Use of qualitative methods Use of inductive data analysis Use of interpretation Use of an emergent design Use of negotiation or member checking as described by Guba & Lincoln (1989)

18 Selection of Participants A sixth grade team at Oak Mountain Middle School in Eagle County School District All 60 will take DAST and mASTI at the beginning and at the conclusion of the study Three students will be selected by the participating teachers to serve as the primary subjects to be interviewed

19 Procedures Sixty students will complete the DAST and the mASTI prior to and at the conclusion of the study Three primary participants will be interviewed by the researcher using the questions approved by FSU and UWG Human Subjects’ Committees prior to study, after each stream investigation, and at the conclusion of the study

20 The researcher will assist in teaching the students about: Using water quality tests Using weather instruments Using identification guides Using science processes

21 Students will first learn what they will need to know and do at the stream site Students will practice in the classroom Students will apply knowledge at the stream site on three different occasions

22 Quantitative Data Analysis The will Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test be used for analyzing the data from the DAST and the mASTI using the Statistical Packet for Social Science (SPSS) Computer program A quick-tally sheet will be used to display responses as well (Henerson, Morris, Fitz-Gibbon, 1987)

23 Wilcoxon Signed-Rank test Compares exactly two groups, such as pre- and post- test Analyzes only the differences between the paired measurements for each subject (http:www.graphpad.com/instatman,1998)

24 Qualitative Data Analysis All interviews will be transcribed The three primary participants will have opportunity for additions or revisions through member checking All qualitative data will be analyzed by the researcher for emerging patterns All qualitative data will be entered onto NUD*IST, a computer program designed for descriptive and interpretative types of research

25 Qualitative Data Personal journal of researcher Observations Reflections Interviews Fieldnotes Artifacts Documents Newsletters Data collected and recorded by students

26 Trustworthiness Criteria Credibility Transferability Dependability Confirmability

27 Credibility Credibility insures that the inquiry was conducted in such a manner that the subjects were accurately identified and described. The researcher should provide an in-depth description of the variables and interactions (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Vignettes will be used as descriptive stories for each of the primary participants

28 Transferability Lincoln and Guba (1985) substitute generalizability with the idea of transferability. Thick descriptions provided by the researcher will enable the reader to determine value of the findings. Thick description is the main tool for transferability (Blanchard, 1998). Readers will have to decide for themselves the value that the descriptive vignettes provide for their situation.

29 Confirmability Confirmability answers the question: Can another confirm the findings of the study? Using a variety of data is the criterion for confirming the general findings (Marshall & Rossman, 1995).

30 Dependability Dependability is accounting for conditions in the phenomenon chosen for study to provide a clearer understanding (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). Fieldnotes, personal reflections, and the multiple interviews with the three students, will be the attempts to provide a clear account for each outing.

31 Reviewing educational research for over 20 years, Cronbach (1975) concluded that social phenomena are too variable and too context-bound to lend themselves to generalization. Interpreting data in context should be emphasized rather than reducing the context to make generalizations.

32 The perspective a reader uses to make generalizations of a particular study is much like looking at a hologram. The appearance of an object in a hologram varies depending on the perspective of the viewer (Lincoln & Guba, 1985).

33 I do not expect my findings to be generalized due to the small sample used and the anticipated complexity of the findings. However, this complexity should have the potential to provide a richer source of information on each participant and serve as a piece of the puzzle for research studies on students’ perceptions of science and scientists as influenced by participation in a field- based science investigation.

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