The impact of infusing science poetry into the biology curriculum
As concrete as science is, it is a subject matter that is often difficult to understand because of the multifaceted concepts and technical vocabulary that is deeply rooted in the essence of the subject matter. Frequently, advanced science is studied in a closed environment where access to experiences is limited. This lack of accessibility forces a need for a more tangible means to help learners develop and anchor theoretical constructs. The use of poetry in the science classroom may be one such way to inform, engage and enhance students' understanding of abstract and complex scientific concepts. The descriptive techniques that are shared by science and poetry allow for creative, critical, and metaphoric thinking. Public high school honors biology students from Morristown High School were enrolled as participants in this study. This study was two-fold; Part I focused on determining the impact of infusing science poetry into the biology curriculum. Results were analyzed using a Two-Tailed Independent t-Test at alpha=.05. Part II focused on the use of scientific poetic response as a summative assessment method to replace the traditional essay assessment. Results were assessed using a study-specific rubric and a Two-tailed Dependent t-Test for Paired Samples that compared each student's mean essay scores to their mean poetry scores at alpha=.05. Also, Pearson's Correlation Coefficient (r) was utilized to establish any relationship between essays and poetic response assessments. This research demonstrated that there are some intersections and interactions across science and poetry that may assist students in comprehension of difficult abstract scientific material. Science poetry appears to be a tangible means to help learners develop and anchor theoretical constructs. The use of poetry in the biology classroom can inform, engage and enhance some students' understanding of abstract/complex scientific theories, concepts, and technical vocabulary. Offering learners an opportunity to reveal their understanding of complex biological concepts through scientific poetic response may just in fact be the much-needed scientific conceptual metacognitive summative assessment that many students and teachers have come to need. It is recommended that future research be conducted with a larger and more diverse population to further confirm affirmation of this study.