Date of Award

Fall 12-8-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Younkyeong Nam

Abstract

One of the biggest challenges for science teachers today is teaching a challenging science curriculum to an extremely diverse population of students in terms of abilities, interests, backgrounds, and learning styles. Making this task even more difficult is the timeframe in which teachers have to teach all students the entire science curriculum. The pressure teachers currently face to complete this task may result in the replacement of the quality of instruction for the quantity of instruction. This thesis aims to provide teachers a way to offer quality science instruction to a diverse group of learners through a hybrid approach of direct and guided instruction and project-based learning (PBL). The purpose of implementing these different instructional approaches is to provide all learners with an opportunity to learn the required science curriculum by providing a similar foundation of knowledge from which all learners can build off through PBL activities. Similarly, utilizing the opposing instructional approaches allows students of differing learning styles to learn the content in differing ways, while also providing skill building opportunities in the areas of communication, problem-solving, teamwork, and time management. The sample unit plans provided in this project demonstrate the transition students make in becoming more independent learners through the utilization of scaffolding provided throughout the unit. The goal is to provide teachers with a framework of hands-on, engaging instruction that is suitable for all learners and also provides them with the skills needed to be college and career ready.

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