Increasing mental muscle with engaging bell ringers in a science classroom

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


My study utilized bell ringers, which required higher order thinking, would result in increased engagement. Engagement in learning is key for success in scientific literacy, critical thinking and teaching students to be stewards of the environment and bell ringers can be instruments to help build mental muscle. Forty students in two freshman ninth-grade science classes at Lowell High School were studied using a variety of different bell ringers such as misconception probes, bell ringer activities and readings. I measured these gains in pre and post assessments, student surveys, and my own reflections. My treatment groups were two units in which I used bell ringers, which required higher order thinking and my control group had bell ringers which were simple recall of science knowledge. Students in both classes made significant gains in content knowledge in both the control and treatment groups, but the two treatment groups made greater gains. Likert surveys showed that the study resulted little change in student engagement. Student surveys showed students both enjoyed the varied bell ringers and found them helpful in learning material as well as the application of science to real life.




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