Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Sherry Herron

Committee Chair Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Member 2

Christopher Sirola

Committee Member 2 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 3

Khin Maung Maung

Committee Member 3 Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 4

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine if the use of active-learning activities to teach weak force and strong force to students enrolled in various courses at The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg campus and Gulf Park campus at different class times would increase their knowledge. There were eighty-six students that took part in this study. The study was conducted in the lab classes of an introductory astronomy survey course (AST 111), an introductory algebra-based physics course (PHY 112), and an introductory calculus-based physics course (PHY 202) during fall semester 2014. Each class was randomly assigned as active-learning or direct instruction. A pretest followed by lecture was administered to all groups. The active-learning group performed four activities whereas the direct group watched a video irrelevant to the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the same post-test was given to all groups. Various statistical methods were used to analyze the differences in mean pretest and posttest scores. Overall results show that the mean posttest scores were higher than the mean pretest scores. Findings support the use of active-learning activities work to the small number of students or the equal number of students in a group. The mean posttest scores of the direct instruction classes were higher than those of the active-learning groups.