The effects of laboratory-based activities on student attitudes toward science
Townsend, Lizabeth Ann
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The purpose of this action research was to study the effects of laboratory-based activities on student attitudes toward science. For the purpose of this study, fifth grade students were taught science over a five month period which included the regular science curriculum for the school district, labs from the science series, and additional labs corresponding to the topics in the curriculum that were developed by the teacher or other professionals. Students were given questionnaires and surveys at the beginning and end of the five month period. Surveys and questionnaires included questions about favorite subjects, what was best about science, and how the student understands science. Comments on what kind of lab/activity was most beneficial to increase understanding and what type of lab or activity was preferred were examined. Pre and post data were compared to determine whether or not student attitude toward science changed after the five month period. Although students entered this fifth grade classroom with a good attitude toward science, there was a noticeable increase in science attitude in regard to favorite subject and understanding of science at the end of the time period. The importance of using labs/activities to inspire and increase understanding of science in fifth grade was evident not only in survey results but from statements students made as well.