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At-risk children's use of reflection and revision in hands-on experimental activities
DISSERTATION

, Vanderbilt University, United States

Vanderbilt University . Awarded

Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate the effects of incorporating opportunities for reflection and revision in hands-on science instruction which emphasized experimentation using model rockets. The participants were low achieving sixth grade summer school students (n = 23) designated as at-risk for school failure by their district. The group was asked a series of interview questions based on work by Schauble et al. (1995) relating to experimentation. The interviews took place over three distinct time points corresponding to a "hands-on only" condition, a "hands-on with reflection and revision" condition and a "hands-on with repeated reflection and revision" condition. A Friedman's Two-Way Analysis of Variance by Ranks indicate students score low at first with traditional hands-on instruction but improve significantly with opportunities to reflect and revise their experiments.

In addition, a sociocultural analysis was conducted during the summer school session to assess the model rocket activity as an apprenticeship, as guided participation and as participatory appropriation using a framework established by Rogoff (1994).

Finally, a survey (the Classroom Environment Survey) was administered to the students measuring five constructs consistent with a constructivist classroom: participation, autonomy, relevance, commitment to learning and disruptions to learning. Analysis indicate students in the summer school model rocket intervention experienced a greater sense of constructivist principles during the activity than a similar comparison group utilizing reform minded instruction but not including opportunities for reflection and revision cycles.

This research provides important evidence that, like scientists, students in school can learn effectively from extended practice in a varied context. Importantly, the data indicate that hands-on instruction is best utilized when opportunities for reflection and revision are made explicit. Implications are discussed related to designing instruction, the incorporation of computer supported scaffolding and implications for future research.

Citation

Petrosino, A.J.J. At-risk children's use of reflection and revision in hands-on experimental activities. Ph.D. thesis, Vanderbilt University. Retrieved July 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

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