Teaching Middle School Science Through Project Based Learning Public
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The focus on technology is becoming increasingly critical to our society today. In 2013, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released. These standards list focused on the importance of how the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) should be taught in a “hands on way” versus with facts and memorization. With this, the goal of the NGSS is to prioritize restructuring pK-12th grade STEM courses, in that it focuses more on career readiness while also tailoring to all different types of students and learning styles. This Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP), “Teaching Middle School Science Through Project Based Learning (PBL)” hopes to adapt the Project Based Learning principals WPI has undertaken, to a middle school setting, while also determining the effectiveness of PBL and the students’ attitudes in relation to STEM. This IQP’s goal is to formulate lessons in regard to the principals of PBL and determine how effective the correlating project is with incorporating these principals. A major note was during the employment of this IQP, the COVID-19 pandemic was at large and as a result, the PBL unit was deployed in a hybrid classroom environment. To evaluate the PBL unit, an anonymous Pre- and Post-Assessment were administered to the students on the topics of physical forces, such as electric force, gravity, and magnetism. These lessons were implemented in one class, which was further split into two cohorts. It was found that there was a substantial improvement to the students’ scores in the two cohorts, with the lesson plans given utilizing group work and activities to demonstrate the topics given, which finally led to the final project of observing a car race. The final race car project designed encouraged students and engaged them to learn and improved their attitudes towards STEM. To learn and obtain a better understanding of how the students felt towards STEM, an anonymous Pre- and Post-Assessment was given at the beginning of the lessons implementations and at the end once all the lessons were completed. It was concluded that the project, which utilized PBL, was valuable for the students and benefited them. The hope for this project is to be utilized and implemented in the future, in classrooms everywhere. With hopes to help the future generations of scientists and engineers become more readily prepared to enter the workforce.
- This report represents the work of one or more WPI undergraduate students submitted to the faculty as evidence of completion of a degree requirement. WPI routinely publishes these reports on its website without editorial or peer review.
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Permanent link to this page: https://digital.wpi.edu/show/q811kn788