Title page for ETD etd-07052012-101705

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Font, Laurie
URN etd-07052012-101705
Title Impact of Teaching Style on Student Learning of Evolution
Degree Master of Natural Sciences (M.N.S.)
Department Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dana Browne Committee Chair
Cyrill Slezak Committee Member
Michael Cherry Committee Member
  • high school
  • natural selection
  • inquiry
Date of Defense 2012-06-06
Availability unrestricted
Natural selection is a topic that is laden with misconceptions. These misconceptions are often not addressed, and students can leave a biology classroom with the same incorrect ideas that they entered with. These misconceptions can be identified and addressed by using the Concept Inventory of Natural Selection (CINS). Furthermore, by teaching using methods that encourage hands-on, inquiry based techniques, students are more apt to reconcile these misconceptions and have a deeper understanding of the natural selection process.

The goal of my research was to show a positive correlation between reduction in student misconceptions about natural selection and inquiry based activities. Five classes of students (145 total students) completed the CINS twice; once as a pre-test, and again as a post-test. Three classes had the natural selection unit delivered in a lecture-based format with no hands-on activities. Two classes had the unit delivered with no lectures, but instead with inquiry activities that utilized methods and practices from the Reformed Teacher Observation Protocol (RTOP). Data was collected from both classes and compared. If teaching method plays a significant role in decreasing student misconceptions, there would be a statistically significant difference in gains between the teaching styles, which there was.

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