Physics show and tell and elementary science education

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Publication Type honors thesis
School or College College of Science
Department Physics & Astronomy
Faculty Mentor Dave Kieda
Creator Hales, Laurel
Title Physics show and tell and elementary science education
Year graduated 2014
Date 2014-05
Description It is a well-known fact that American children are performing below their peers in international science and mathematics examinations, leading to what is commonly called the STEM education crisis. This project was created in an attempt to resolve this crisis by improving elementary school science education by providing teachers with a series of video tutorials designed to help them create specific classroom demonstrations that can be used in elementary school classrooms. Previous research has shown university students respond well to the use of classroom demonstrations, and although the subject has not been thoroughly studied with elementary school aged children, it is generally assumed that they also respond better to interactive science education, as compared to the standard lecture model. Unfortunately, many elementary school teachers are lacking a sufficient knowledge of physics to be able to create this type of hands-on learning environment. We created a series of online video tutorials teaching educators how to make useful classroom demonstrations. We tested the effectiveness of the demonstrations by presenting quizzes to students before and after they had seen one of the demonstrations. The results of these quizzes suggest that elementary students react in a similar way to the use of demonstrations as has been seen in older student groups. Although not conclusive, our data indicate that the use of demonstrations may be useful in improving students' understanding of the topics and test scores. We used surveys to find out more about the challenges that teachers face in teaching science in elementary school, as well as test their opinions of the videos as a useful resource. The initial results suggested that while teachers might be interested in the new resource they were still concerned about what they considered to be the main challenges in science education: insufficient resources and time both in and out of the classroom. A general lack of response to our surveys also indicates that perhaps another problem is linked to the fact that many elementary school teachers are focused on other subjects, leading to a low prioritization of science instruction which may be seen in a lack of motivation in improving science teaching techniques. There may be some very interesting patterns that will become more visible with further investigation into this topic.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Science - Study and teaching (Elementary) - United States
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Laurel Hales
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 3,168,221 bytes
Permissions Reference URL
ARK ark:/87278/s62g0xsf
Setname ir_htoa
Date Created 2016-11-10
Date Modified 2019-07-10
ID 205927
Reference URL