Graduation Date

5-2010

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program

Education

Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, Ed.D.

Abstract

Skilled scientists in all fields of study are critically needed to begin resolving ecological problems resulting from human impact. Time is an essential element in creating a proper conceptual foundation and training should begin early in a student’s education. As of 2010, the California State Standards for Science for grades six through eight do not sufficiently address the importance of inquiry-based studies, limiting the scope of possibilities in public education. Studies show that middle school students build a deeper understanding of conceptual science and its application if they have opportunities to apply their knowledge through empirical activities. Multiple benefits, both academic and social, arise when lab activities reinforce scientific principles. A student survey in a Marin County, California public middle school revealed that students learn science concepts best, and prefer experiential activities, to other teaching methods.

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