To What Extent will Integrating the Curriculum around Environmental Themes of Air Quality, Water, Land Use and Energy for Eighth Grade Students on Team R.O.C.K. (Recognizing Outrageously Cook Kids) at Marinette Middle School Improve Their Understanding and Retention of Content Taught in Science?
Herness, Michelle L.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources
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The purpose of this project was to measure the difference in understanding and retention of science content objectives when taught through an integrated curriculum centered on environmental themes of air quality, water, land use and energy. The study consisted of 66 eighth grade students from Team R.O.C.K. at Marinette Middle School and their teachers. All five teachers from Team R.O.C.K. were administered a pre survey to see if they would be willing to participate and receive training. All teachers on the team were willing to be part of the project and participate in all four environmental themes as well as receive training. Two science units, Know Your Watershed and Earth's Matter were integrated with English, math and social studies/history. The environmental themes of air quality, water and land use were included in the Know Your Watershed unit, while the environmental theme of energy was included with the Earth's Matter unit. A third unit, Plate Tectonics was used as the control. A multiple-choice survey of30 questions was administered to the students at the completion of each of the three science units. The paired differences test was used to determine if there were significant differences in the integrated units versus the non-integrated unit. The results of the t-test indicated a significant improvement in scores on the integrated units compared to the non-integrated unit. Teachers were also given a post survey to determine if they felt the project was effective and to give recommendations for improvement. All teachers responded to the survey and felt the process was effective. Recommendations given included providing more training and background information on the environmental topics including guest speakers. Block scheduling was also suggested to make the process more effective.