Increasing student motivation and content knowledge through inquiry based teaching in biology

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


In this investigation a variety of inquiry activities and labs were implemented in two different units of instruction, and compared to two traditionally taught units with the purpose of improving biology content knowledge and student motivation. Student attitude and motivation was measured using a student survey, student notebook reflections, and teacher observations. Biology content knowledge was measured using pre- and post-tests, and state standardized test scores. An improvement in student attitude and motivation was observed during the inquiry activities, but no statistical difference in student content knowledge was observed between the traditional units and inquiry units on classroom tests. Students showed significant improvement on the state standardized test. Most noticeable was the improvement in the students who had previously failed to meet the state standards, with a large gain in their application of science practices.




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