Engaging Secondary School Students in Authentic Research Projects Based on Environmental Science Theme

Project Number
OER 15/13 TLT

Project Duration
January 2014 - January 2017

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
Project Based Learning (PBL) is an effective pedagogical approach to learning that teaches a range of skills essential for success in the 21st century. Research on PBL reports positive student learning outcomes, including retention of content knowledge, collaborative skills, engagement, motivation, and problem-solving skills. This proposed study investigates the effectiveness of using authentic Environmental Science PBL upon learning outcomes in secondary 3 school students. These learning outcomes include concepts on nature of science, scientific inquiry, and science concepts. The design of this study employs a structured PBL program consisting of a students' workshop on environmental toxicology and participating in authentic research projects. Upon learning of relevant content and experimental skills, such as performing of ecotoxicology bioassays, from the workshop, students will be guided by scientists in conceptualizing and executing of research projects. Teacher-scientist partnership is also initiated in this study to understand issues and challenges pertaining to the use of authentic PBL in classrooms. Secondary school science teachers will be engaged through participation in a professional development program in the form of a teachers' workshop aimed to increase teachers' confidence and competence in implementing PBL and knowledge transfer of skills and content related to ecotoxicology. Teachers will also aid in facilitating of students' research projects to gain experience. This partnership is intended to be long term with the main objective on increase use of effective authentic PBL in schools. Qualitative and quantitative methods will be employed to gather research data. Questionnaires, focus group interviews, video observations, and reflections will be used to obtain feedbacks from teachers. To assess student learning outcomes, data from pre- and post-questionnaires and 2-tier MCQs, journals, video observations, students' research reports, and oral presentations will be analyzed. Collected data will be analyzed using content analysis and statistical methods.

Funding Source
NIE

Related Links
ReEd Vol 16 (2014): Scientists in the Making

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