Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Sherry S. Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Dr. Deborah Booth

Committee Member 2 Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Member 3

Dr. Douglas Masterson

Committee Member 3 Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Committee Member 4

Dr. Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Research and Administration

Committee Member 5

Dr. Sarah E. Morgan

Committee Member 5 Department

Polymers and High Performance Materials

Abstract

For decades science educators and educational institutions have been concerned with the status of science content being taught in K-12 schools and the delivery of the content. Thus, educational reformers in the United States continue to strive to solve the problem on how to best teach science for optimal success in learning. The constructivist movement has been at the forefront of this effort. With mandatory testing nationwide and an increase in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs with little workforce to fulfill these needs, the question of what to teach and how to teach science remains a concern among educators and all stakeholders. The purpose of this research was to determine if students’ chemistry knowledge and interest can be increased by using the 5E learning cycle in a middle school with a high population of English language learners. The participants were eighth-grade middle school students in a large metropolitan area. Students participated in a month-long chemistry unit. The study was a quantitative, quasi-experimental design with a control group using a traditional lecture-style teaching strategy and an experimental group using the 5E learning cycle. Students completed a pre-and post-student attitude in science surveys, a pretest/posttest for each mini-unit taught, and completed daily exit tickets using the Expert Science Teaching Educational Evaluation Model (ESTEEM) instrument to measure daily student outcomes in main idea, student inquiry, and relevancy.

Analysis of the data showed that there was no statistical difference between the two groups overall, and all students experienced a gain in content knowledge overall. All students demonstrated a statistically significant difference in their interest in science class, activities in science class, and outside of school. Data also showed that scores in writing the main idea and writing inquiry questions about the content increased over time.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0003-2347-0155

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