Title page for ETD etd-07062010-105602

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Rieger, Cynthia Rau
Author's Email Address crau@ebrschools.org
URN etd-07062010-105602
Title Effective Lesson Planning: Field Trips in the Science Curriculum
Degree Master of Natural Sciences (M.N.S.)
Department Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cherry, Michael L Committee Chair
Browne, Dana A Committee Member
Watkins, Steven F Committee Member
  • immersive theater
  • science education
  • middle school science
  • field trips
Date of Defense 2010-07-02
Availability unrestricted
Science field trips can positively impact students and motivate them into future studies in various science fields. However, if a field trip is not executed properly, it can result in a loss of valuable educational time and could promote misconceptions in the students. This study was undertaken to determine if a classroom lesson before an out-of-the-classroom activity would affect learner gain more or less than a lesson after the activity. The students were divided into two different groups. The groups differed based on the sequence of activities that they received. The activities involved in this study included visiting an immersive theater to view the movie Earth’s Wild Ride and participating in a teacher-led lesson using guided notes with a Power Point for visual aid. The participants in this study, students in a sixth grade physical science class, were given a pretest to determine prior knowledge of topics covered in the classroom lesson and the movie. The same assessment was also administered after each activity to measure learning gain.

The order of lessons showed no detectable effect on learner outcomes. There were no significant differences between the mean learning gain of the two groups after participating in both activities. Even though the teacher-led lesson produced significant gains independent of the movie, the visit to the immersive theater had a positive effect on the students and increased their interest in learning the material. If executed properly, implementing field trips into the science curriculum will increase learning gain and/or improve attitudes towards the study of science

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