Date of Award

Fall 2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Peteo Veronesé

Second Advisor

Not legible

Abstract

In the present era of standardized testing, laboratory activities designed towards the test fail to engage students in the wonders of science. Inquiry investigations implemented in earth science classrooms can allow students to more closely mirror actual scientific endeavors. The use of science notebooks, in which students could record their observations and reflections on their investigations, can provide students with a sense of ownership of their work while also giving them experience of the scientific process. This study examines whether the use of science notebooks and the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH) throughout inquiry investigations change students’ scientific beliefs and their attitudes towards the use of writing in science. Three earth science classes in Massachusetts were selected to take part in the study. Students were given pre- and post-test SWH surveys to understand their views towards science writing while the Views of Nature of Science – Form B (VNOS-B) assessment tool was used to measure their beliefs about science. The survey revealed that creating questions and sharing ideas were the only aspects of science writing that increased students’ interest level. Collecting evidence and analyzing it showed decreased levels of interest. The VNOS-B form showed mixed results in students’ understandings of the nature of science. While students understood that scientific theories change over time and that creativity is important for the scientific process, they generally had a rigid understanding of the structure of scientific research. By having students focus on only certain aspects of the SWH for different investigations, teachers can help them understand the whole template and address the issues of data collection and analysis.

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