Effects of storytelling on students' beliefs and attitudes about the nature of science and doing science
The purpose of this study was to investigate how storytelling, combined with opportunities for dialogue and inquiry, would impact middle school students' beliefs and attitudes about the nature of science and doing science. Specifically, the study sought to determine if storytelling sessions, involving science mysteries and historical narratives about scientists and their discoveries, would be effective instructional aids for helping students understand the way science is conducted. The study involved thirty-one sixth graders in two sections of a life science class. The storytelling sessions and related inquiry activities were implemented on a bi-weekly basis during a three month period. Pre and post-treatment surveys and interviews, periodic questionnaires, and daily observations were used to assess students' perspectives and reactions. The results of this study showed that storytelling combined with dialogue and inquiry improved students' attitudes about doing science and generated fresh depth and breadth of perception about the nature of science. The historical narratives were well suited to making science facts more meaningful and memorable, while the science mysteries were more effective in helping students generate investigative questions.