ISSN 1087-3430 Vol. 9 - No. 4 - June 2005
Thank you for your interest in the Electronic Journal of Science Education, the first electronic journal of its kind devoted to the timely sharing of science education issues via the World Wide Web. The editors and review board hope you find the enclosed articles academically and professionally valuable.
John R. Cannon, Editor and Publisher
David T. Crowther, Associate Editor and Publisher
University of Nevada, Reno
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Action research implemented to improve Zoology laboratory activities in a freshman biology majors course
Jennifer Leigh Myka, Ph.D.
Thomas More College
Dianne Raubenheimer, PhD.
North Carolina State University
Action research was used to explore student impressions of both learning and enjoyment associated with specific laboratory exercises in two semesters of a Zoology laboratory. The initial laboratories had primarily included observations of slides, preserved and living specimens, and group dissections of preserved animals, all lower cognitive levels according to our analysis using Bloom's taxonomy. Four laboratory activities (Annelids, Molluscs, Arthropods, and Echinoderms) were altered to include higher levels of intellectual challenge, as reflected in an increase in the use of verbs associated with higher levels according to Bloom's taxonomy. Improved and expanded animal behavior experiments, a dichotomous key activity, tables of structures and function, classification exercises, and a model building activity were added to the traditional laboratory observation and dissections. A survey was given at the end of the semester in both 2002 and 2003 to assay student reactions to the new activities, as well as to compare both student learning and student enjoyment for each type of activity done in the laboratory throughout the semester to determine if student enjoyment and student learning were correlated. In addition, the results of the survey were compared with results of a lab practical exam for one semester to determine if student impressions of learning correlated with performance. The results of this study will be used to further adjust Zoology laboratory activities to maximize both student enjoyment and student learning. In addition, a closer look at dissections as an intellectually challenging learning experience learning tool will be implemented in following semesters.
Evaluative Case Study of a Summer Academy Program
Southwestern Oklahoma State University
Jon E. Pedersen
University of Oklahoma
The demands for technological workers have prompted a national effort to encourage all sectors of the population to consider careers in mathematics and science (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM, 1989; NSF, 1988; Task Force, 1989). Yet students are not electing to enroll in science in school. One possible solution to increase interest in science is through summer programs. The Summer Academy in Plant Biology and Transgenics hosted by the Western Oklahoma State College, the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is an intervention program in science for talented students and, in particular minorities and girls. This program is informed by the current research, employs a reformed curriculum and involves students working alongside practicing scientists in a highly interactive science experience and appears to have many positive aspects that enable it to reach its goals.
The Effects of Learning Cycle on College Students' Understanding of Different Aspects in Resistive DC Circuits
Izzet Baysal University
The present study investigated the effectiveness of learning cycle method on college students' understandings of different aspects involve in dc circuits. Participants were 152 freshmen (Female=69 and Male=83) from four intact classes. The intact classes were randomly assigned into one of two treatment groups. After the groups were formed, all students were administered a test called Determining and Interpreting Resistive Electric Circuits Concepts Test (DIRECT) to measure students' pre understanding of a variety of dc circuits' concepts and aspects. Then, one group completed a simple dc circuits unit with learning cycle approach (n1=79), while the other completed a simple dc circuits unit with traditional approach (n2=73). Finally, all students were administered the DIRECT again as posttest. ANCOVA results revealed a significant treatment effect. Students who experienced the learning cycle activities had higher achievement on the post DIRECT when compared with students experiencing the non-learning cycle activities. The effects of learning cycle method were found to be statistically significant on teaching most of the concepts and the aspects involve in circuits, but not on teaching conservation of current and explaining the microscopic aspects of current flow in a circuit.
Special Section: Resources and Programs in Higher Education
compiled by David T. Crowther, Associate Editor, EJSE
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