Determining effects on fifth grade students' achievement and curiosity when a technology education activity is integrated with a unit in science

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of the study was to explore the effect of integrating technological activities with science instruction. The researcher examined whether fifth-grade students' achievement and curiosity relative to the science unit were related to their participation in classes where the experimental treatment was employed. A secondary focus of the study was to determine whether students' curiosity about the unit prior to studying it was related to their achievement.

The researcher used a quasi-experimental,pretest/post test design for the study. The researcher developed and field tested two instruments for use in the study: a measure of curiosity and a measure of students' science knowledge and comprehension relative to the unit studied on changing forms of energy.

The sample (n=l23) was drawn from a population of fifth-grade students in Staunton and Augusta County, Virginia. Classrooms were randomly assigned as treatment and control. Treatment group teachers taught the unit by having students participate in two technological activities that corresponded with the science unit. Control group teachers used traditional science methods (i.e., primarily teacher demonstrations of science experiments) to teach the unit.

Pretest and posttest data were analyzed using correlation analysis and analysis of covariance procedures. The researcher reported a significant difference between treatment group students' and control group students' curiosity, favoring the treatment group. No significant differences were found between groups in science achievement and no significant relationship between students' curiosity and achievement was reported.

The researcher concluded that the integration of technological activities with science instruction may positively affect fifth-grade students' curiosity but may not enhance or deter from their science achievement. Hence, the science-technology linkage shows promise as a useful method of promoting greater student curiosity without negatively affecting their achievement.