Envirothon teaching methods : how do they impact learning in the traditional biology classroom?

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Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


My Action Research Project connects the Envirothon contest with a traditional biology classroom. In the Envirothon, a national environmental contest, teams of high school students work together outdoors, solving site-based natural resource questions and problems in aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current environmental issue. During this competition, teams rotate from Station to Station, working on a variety of "hands on" tasks specific to each environmental area; the students are also tested on sets of questions that cover a very wide range of information for each topic. "Envirothon Teaching Methods" typically used to successfully prepare teams for this competition involve bringing in knowledgeable professionals to help students learn about each of these environmental areas. The lessons, presented by local natural resource people with expertise and experience, usually focus on providing students with "real world" information. Students typically learn in an outdoor setting and/or use local materials and resources. "Hands on" authentic activities are emphasized as an important way to increase student comprehension of environmental subject matter. In this Action Research Project, I incorporated the same teaching methods commonly used to train students for Envirothon contests into my high school College Biology course. When used by an entire class of students within a traditional school day setting, Envirothon teaching methods had positive impacts on students' comprehension of environmental topics.




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