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Improving the Acquisition and Retention of Science Material by Fifth Grade Students through the Use of Imagery Interventions


ISAIJLS Volume 40, Number 6, ISSN 0020-4277


This study examined the effect of imagery interventions for the presentation of novel science vocabulary to fifth grade learners. Eighty-nine students from two schools in Long Island participated in this study and were randomly assigned to four different instructional interventions: a Picture Presentation method, in which a word was paired with a picture; an Image Creation--No Picture method, in which the participants were told to create an image of the word and draw it on paper; an Image Creation--Picture method, in which the students were presented with the picture and then told to draw it; and a Word Only method, which involved the simple verbal presentation of the word. Results demonstrated that students in the imagery intervention groups (Picture Presentation, Image Creation--No Picture, and Image Creation--Picture) scored higher on the outcome measures at both immediate and delayed recall. It was also shown that the deeper the students processed the "to be learned" vocabulary words, the higher they scored on the outcome measures. Based on the mean outcome measure scores at both time points, students in the Image Creation--Picture intervention scored the highest, followed by the students in the Image Creation--No Picture intervention, those in the Picture Presentation intervention, and finally the Word Only intervention students. Such a study has implications as to the most effective way to integrate science and literacy and successfully present novel concepts in the classroom.


Cohen, M.T. & Johnson, H.L. (2012). Improving the Acquisition and Retention of Science Material by Fifth Grade Students through the Use of Imagery Interventions. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 40(6), 925-955. Retrieved December 14, 2019 from .

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