Experimentation Critique in Higher and Lower Achieving Classrooms
In a Kentucky school district 36 fourth-grade classes were taught control variables for designing experiments. The premise of the study was to determine if higher and lower achieving classrooms could equally learn two separate scientific theories using three separate teaching techniques. The results of the knowledge gained were the same, however the higher achieving classrooms scored higher on the pretest and posttest.
The three techniques are the independent variables. In the “instruction condition” children were taught in an instructional format and were not given the opportunity to complete hands on experiments. They were not given a pretest or a posttest of the experiment because they did not observe the results. The “manipulate condition” removed the interactive instruction of the teacher and encouraged the students to work in groups to design and run the experiment. They were not given directions on how to build a ramp they were only told they needed to determine how far a ball could roll using a ramp. To make up for the instruction time that was not provided, students worked on more variations of the experiment. In the “both condition” students were lectured in an interactive format as well as in groups to design and run the experiment. After the pretest the interactive instruction provided information on how to conduct the experiment. After the experiments and lectures a posttest was immediately given to determine the student’s level of understanding.
Within each school if three fourth-grade classes were available triplet teams were formed. One would have the manipulate condition, the both condition, and the instructional condition. If there were not enough fourth-grade classrooms in a particular school, multiple schools with roughly the same instructional teaching and atmosphere would form a triplet. To ensure the data was not skewed the same two female graduate...