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The purpose of this study is to determine if teaching authentic lessons to sixth grade students at Alexander Graham (A.G.) Middle School will improve their scores on the enjoyment of science lessons and their attitudes towards science by using the TOSRA (Test of Science-Related Attitudes).

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´╗┐ED 534 Running head: DO AUTHENTIC SCIENCE LESSONS Do Authentic Science Lessons Change Students? Attitudes Towards Science? Abstract The purpose of this study is to determine if teaching authentic lessons to sixth grade students at Alexander Graham (A.G.) Middle School will improve their scores on the enjoyment of science lessons and their attitudes towards science by using the TOSRA (Test of Science-Related Attitudes). We will utilize a quantitative study by following a quasi-experimental design that will measure the attitudes of students at an urban school within a large district in North Carolina. We believe that if students are able to participate in an authentic ecology unit, this will increase their attitude towards science classes. This study will take place at A. G. Middle School in two sixth grade Academic Enrichment classes that have students with similar demographics, 5th grade EOG scores of level III and IV, and class size. The researchers will have the experimental group complete the authentic ecology unit and the control group will complete the traditional instruction ecology unit with the same objectives. This study will be conducted by two 6th grade science teachers, one of the researchers will be embedded in the process of conducting the study. The results will show that students who participate in the authentic ecology unit will have a more positive attitude toward science and find it more enjoyable. The two science classes that will participate in this study will both receive the same information within the same nine week quarter. Introduction It can be challenging when teaching science to sixth grade middle school students who have little prior knowledge and lack of positive experiences. This situation can lead to students struggling and deciding at an early age that science is too difficult and begin to find it irrelevant to their lives. ?For some time, science educators in many countries have expressed concerns that current provision in schools (especially at age 14-16 years) ...read more.


It will be made clear that regardless of student?s participation in the TOSRA test, they will all be participating in the ecology workshop with Discovery Place. The ecology unit will be taught to both the experimental and control group over a six week period. Students in the experimental group will follow the outline below. They will role play as scientist by collecting real data from their campus and surroundings while using tools that scientist utilize in the field. Activities such as observing the air quality around campus and testing the water quality will be implemented. The Raptor Center will also come in with a variety of wildlife to help students understand the importance of habitats in our community and what we can do to protect them. The control group will do the same objectives but instead of students being actively engaged participants, the lessons will all be teacher-centered. Students will read about how scientists conduct water testing, soil testing, and air quality test to better understand the relevancy of these issues in relations to their communities. Students will look at pictures of animals that the teacher brings into the classroom. These pictures will consist of animals that are endangered or have become extinct. They will use the McDougal Little 6th grade textbook to learn the terminology by coping definitions and related lessons. Ecology Unit for Experimental Group Week One: The Hydrosphere Water Testing- students test their water samples for impurities using dissolved Oxygen, nitrates, phosphates, and Coliform Bacteria tests. Macroinvertebrate Study- students collect, identify and study macroinvertebrates for the purpose of monitoring overall stream health and water quality. Week Two: The Lithosphere Soil Sampling- students learn the proper techniques for soil collecting and sample for pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (or potash). Students then learn what the indicators mean and what those indicators tell us about soil quality and it?s ability to support plant life. ...read more.


Participation in this paper and pencil survey poses no risk to you. The survey has been designed to protect your privacy. You will not put your names on the survey. You will not be mentioned by name in the reported results. You can skip any question that you do not wish to answer. You may stop participating in the survey at any point without penalty. We would like for all students to take part in the survey, but the survey is voluntary and participation is anonymous. I have read this form and know what the survey is about. I consent to participate in this survey. For Researcher?s Information Only Participant?s name: ___________________________________ Participant?s signature: ___________________________________ Date: ________ Survey Information Sheet Q. Why is the survey being done? A. The survey results will help measure the effectiveness of a particular unit of study within the Earth and Environmental Science course. The survey results may also be used to make decisions about how to make science classes more interesting for students. Q. Do students have to answer every survey question? A. No. Students may choose to leave any answer blank on the answer sheet. Q. Will students? names be used or linked to the surveys? A. No. The survey has been designed to protect each student?s privacy. Students do not put their name on the survey. When students finish the survey, they place the survey in an envelope and seal it shut. The envelopes are then placed in a big box and will be stored in a locked cabinet in the office of the researcher. Only the principal investigator and his research staff will have access to the raw data. Q. Do students take the survey more than once to see how their behaviors change? A. Yes. By taking the survey at the beginning of a specific unit of study and again at the end of that unit, student responses can assist in measuring the effectiveness of this unit of study. ...read more.

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