In recent years there has been an increasing emphasis on the integration of multiple disciplines in order to help prepare more students to better address the complex challenges they will face in the 21st century. Exposing students to an integrated and multidisciplinary approach will help them to better understand the connections between subjects instead of as individual and separate subjects. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Integration has been suggested as an approach that would model a multidisciplinary approach while also offering authentic and meaningful learning experiences to students. However, there is limited research on STEM integration in the elementary classroom and additional research is needed to better define and explore the effects of this integration for both students and science educators. With the recent recommendations for teaching both science and engineering in elementary classrooms (NRC, 2012), two common models include teaching science through inquiry and teaching science through engineering-design pedagogies. This study will explore both of these models as it seeks to better understand one piece of the larger issue of STEM and STEM integration by examining how the integration of science, engineering, and nonfiction literature affects students learning in elementary classrooms. This study employed an embedded mixed methods design to measure the effects of this integration on student learning in four fifth grade classrooms from the same elementary school. The findings revealed that the students who participated in the nonfiction reading instruction that was integrated with their science instruction showed a greater increase in all measures of student learning in both science and reading when compared to the control students. The findings from the integrated science, engineering and nonfiction literature revealed similar findings with the treatment students showing a greater increase in the measures of student learning in all three of the content areas. These results suggest that integrating nonfiction literature with science or science and engineering instruction can be an effective strategy in improving student learning in elementary classrooms.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2014. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisors:Bhaskar Upadhyay
Tamara J. Moore. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 287 pages.
Tank, Kristina Maruyama.
Examining the effects of integrated science, engineering, and nonfiction literature on student learning in elementary classrooms.
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