The impact of manipulative models on student understanding of, engagement in, and confidence in abstract biological processes

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Montana State University - Bozeman, Graduate School


The purpose of this action research project was to investigate the efficacy of the use of hands on manipulative models in order to teach abstract biochemical processes. Students utilized enactive, hands-on modeling of photosynthesis, cellular respiration, cell division, DNA replication, and protein synthesis in order to advance to symbolic understanding of these subjects. In these activities, students acted out these processes with Students were assessed in order to see if confidence, engagement and understanding were improved. When monitored by a passive observer, increases in student engagement were observed.. Students reported that they were more confident in their ability to learn science material. Students also performed better on exams and showed longitudinal retention of material from the treatment lessons.




Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.