Primary literature in the science classroom
Apedaile, Lily Anne
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Currently, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees and career pathways are seeing a declining number of people entering these fields. Because of this decline in interest and preparation in these fields, there is a shift in focus in science education to pedagogy methods that are more student-centered and allow students to engage in more authentic scientific practices. Along with declining interest, many students do not have the abstract scientific reasoning skills to be successful in upper-level coursework necessary for these fields. In order to better prepare students and keep them engaged in science coursework, methods that are both scientific inquiry based and can help students develop their scientific reasoning skills are needed. A group of students at Frenchtown High School used a scaffolded reading technique, called the CREATE method, to interpret and understand two scientific primary literature articles, and were compared to students that did not engage in the reading activities. Both groups of students took pre and posttests that measured their understanding of scientific inquiry and scientific reasoning, the treatment group's concept maps were also assessed for reading comprehension. The treatment group saw increased understanding in several areas of scientific inquiry, increased abstract thinking skills, and better reading comprehension from the first article to the second article. These results suggest that this modified CREATE method could be used as a pedagogical tool in the science classroom that would help students better understand how scientists carry out scientific inquiry and increase scientific reasoning skills.