This quasi-experimental study investigates how media reports of science can be embedded into the teaching of science and examines what effects they have on students’ understanding about science concepts and nature of science (NOS). Four eight grade classes, 130 students in total, participated in this study over a 6-week period, during which the topics related to solar system and the nature of matter were covered as a part of the Science Framework for California Public Schools. The classes were from the same public middle school in San Francisco. Two different modes of treatment were used. Students in the control groups (2 CGs) were exposed to the school’s normal program of teaching, whereas students in a similar group, the experimental groups (2 EGs), were instructed by using six science-related media reports as a complimentary material. Students’ views of NOS were assessed by the administration of the nature of science test (NoST) and the quality of their arguments was assessed by the science-related media reports test (News-Test). To assess students’ understanding of the concepts related to solar system and the nature of matter, two questionnaires were used. These questions were developed by the teacher who had been teaching both classes and she used these questions last year with the previous cohorts as well. Before the intervention, there was not a significant difference between these two groups in response to the NoST and News-Tests. However, the results showed that students in the experimental groups had significant gains in most of the NOS aspects from the pre-test to the post-test compared to the students in the control groups. After the intervention, there was not a statistically significant difference between these two groups in relation to their achievement scores on the concepts related to the solar system and the nature of matter; however, students in the experimental groups performed better than the control groups in response to the questions related to the concepts associated with the solar system. This study suggests that using science-related media reports in the classroom has potential to improve students’ understanding of science concepts and NOS. Some possible implications for teaching and further research are discussed.

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Using science-related media reports for developing students’ understanding about science and nature of science

Gultekin Cakmakci   Hacettepe University, Turkey

Jonathan Osborne   Stanford University, United States

This quasi-experimental study investigates how media reports of science can be embedded into the teaching of science and examines what effects they have on students’ understanding about science concepts and nature of science (NOS). Four eight grade classes, 130 students in total, participated in this study over a 6-week period, during which the topics related to solar system and the nature of matter were covered as a part of the Science Framework for California Public Schools. The classes were from the same public middle school in San Francisco. Two different modes of treatment were used. Students in the control groups (2 CGs) were exposed to the school’s normal program of teaching, whereas students in a similar group, the experimental groups (2 EGs), were instructed by using six science-related media reports as a complimentary material. Students’ views of NOS were assessed by the administration of the nature of science test (NoST) and the quality of their arguments was assessed by the science-related media reports test (News-Test). To assess students’ understanding of the concepts related to solar system and the nature of matter, two questionnaires were used. These questions were developed by the teacher who had been teaching both classes and she used these questions last year with the previous cohorts as well. Before the intervention, there was not a significant difference between these two groups in response to the NoST and News-Tests. However, the results showed that students in the experimental groups had significant gains in most of the NOS aspects from the pre-test to the post-test compared to the students in the control groups. After the intervention, there was not a statistically significant difference between these two groups in relation to their achievement scores on the concepts related to the solar system and the nature of matter; however, students in the experimental groups performed better than the control groups in response to the questions related to the concepts associated with the solar system. This study suggests that using science-related media reports in the classroom has potential to improve students’ understanding of science concepts and NOS. Some possible implications for teaching and further research are discussed.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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