Title

Using Children's Literature to Enhance Views of Nature of Science and Scientific Attitude in Fourth Graders

Date of Award

2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Center for Science and Math Education

First Advisor

Sherry Herron

Advisor Department

Center for Science and Math Education

Abstract

This project was an effort to study the effect of integrating children's trade books into the fourth grade science curriculum on the students' views of the nature of science and their scientific attitude. The effect on the students' reading and language achievement, and science content knowledge was also analyzed. This was done by comparing the nature of science views and scientific attitudes, reading and language achievement scores, and the science grades of the treatment group, prior to and immediately following the intervention period, with the control group which did not participate in the integration of children's books. The science teacher's views on the nature of science and her attitude towards teaching science were also evaluated prior to and after the intervention. The selected trade books were evaluated for their coverage of nature of science aspects. Three intact classes of fourth grade students from a local elementary school were involved in the study along with their science and reading teacher. Two of the classes made up the experimental group and the remaining class served as the control group. All students were assessed prior to the intervention phase on their views of the nature of science and scientific attitudes. The experimental group was engaged in reading selected science trade books during their science class and study hall over a semester period. The results of the study showed a significant difference in the groups' initial reading and language achievement, which may have affected the lack of an effect from the intervention. The instrument selected to assess the student's views on the nature of science and scientific attitude (SAI II) was not reliable with this group. There was no significant difference on the students' science content knowledge as measured by their semester grade averages. The results from the teacher's response on the STAS II did indicate slight changes on her views on the nature of science. Sixty-nine of the eighty-three children's trade books selected had one or more aspects of the nature of science included.