Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


Students in elementary classrooms are not receiving science instruction that is engaging and challenging. The review of the literature indicates that the way that the information is presented has more of an impact on the students than simply whether they comprehend the information. Studies show that hands-on science instruction allows success beyond the classroom, hands-on activities excite students about leaning and science in general, and that the hands-on activities create confidence in the children. Research also indicates that students who receive textbook based lessons earn scores similar to students who learn through hands-on lessons. This study explores the effects of different instructional strategies on student engagement in science instruction. Findings indicated that teachers felt science is taught only in limited fashion, as a result of high stakes testing with its focus on language arts and mathematics improvement. Teachers, even with limited instructional time for science instruction, reported that hands-on and inquiry based science methods had positive effects on child engagement in learning. Appended are: (1) Entering the Redwood Forest: A Curriculum for Third Grade Students.