Asee peer logo

The Impact of a Problem-based Learning Launcher Unit on Eighth Grade Students’ Motivation and Interest in Science

Download Paper |

Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Middle School Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

25.1306.1 - 25.1306.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22063

Download Count

61

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Cher C. Hendricks Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Cher Hendricks is a Research Scientist II at Georgia Institute of Technology. The focus of her work is on K-12 STEM programs. Prior to her work at Georgia Tech, she was an Associate Professor of educational research at the University of West Georgia (1998-2010) and a special education teacher. In addition to her STEM research, Hendricks is author of the textbook Improving Schools through Action Research: A Reflective Practice Approach. The third edition was released in February.

visit author page

biography

Barbara Burks Fasse Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology

visit author page

Barbara Burks Fasse is a Senior Research Scientist in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at Georgia Tech. Fasse studies the efficacy and value of student-centered learning initiatives, specifically problem-based and project-based learning, in classrooms, instructional labs, and undergraduate research experiences. She joined the BME faculty in 2007, following 10 years in Georgia Tech's College of Computing where she was a member of the NSF-funded Learning By Design problem-based learning curriculum development and research project. She also conducted an NSF-funded ethnographic study of learning in a problem-driven, project-based bio-robotics research lab at Georgia Tech. In addition to her duties in BME, she is a member of the interdisciplinary research team conducting the Science Learning: Integrating Design, Engineering, and Robotics (SLIDER) project.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

The Impact of a Problem-Based Learning Launcher Unit on Eighth Grade Students’ Motivation and Interest in ScienceAxxxx Bxxxx: Cxxxx Dxxxx, Exxxx, and Fxxxx (ABCDEF) is a five year NSF-funded researchproject that involves collaboration between K-12 educators, university faculty, and educationaloutreach specialists. The project’s objective is to design and implement a Problem-basedLearning (PBL) curriculum using engineering design and LEGO robotics as the context forteaching eighth grade physical science content and process skills while encouraging criticalthinking. In addition to studying the curriculum’s impact on student learning, we are alsoexamining its impact on student motivation and interest in science. In this second year of ourproject, participating teachers at one of our school sites are implementing a 4-week LauncherUnit that focuses on engaging students in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Our purposeis to examine ways in which student motivation and interest in science are affected by engagingwith the ABCDEF PBL curriculum.This research report utilizes a pretest-posttest design using subjects as their own controls inwhich all participating students (n=350) complete 3 short questionnaires (Likert and open-endeditems) at the beginning of the curriculum intervention and after the completion of theintervention. The questionnaires measure students’ (1) science self-efficacy, (2) interest inscience activities outside of school, (3) attitude toward science in society, (4) science anxiety,and (5) attitude toward science class. These instruments were created using existing scales (IsScience Me and the Modified Attitudes toward Science Inventory) and were pilot tested last yearwith 611 students in order to validate them via confirmatory factor analysis. The final factorsevaluated on the questionnaires had reliability coefficients ranging from .80 to .92. Using ourvalidated, reliable measures, we intend to report pre-post differences in student motivation andinterest in science when instructed using the ABCDEF PBL Launcher Unit curriculum.

Hendricks, C. C., & Fasse, B. B. (2012, June), The Impact of a Problem-based Learning Launcher Unit on Eighth Grade Students’ Motivation and Interest in Science Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/22063

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015