Thesis

Feeling empowered to make a difference: a study of problem-based learning and students' increase of interest in science and awareness of environmental issues

This study was conducted to establish the effectiveness of utilizing problem-based learning (PBL) strategies in increasing students' increase understanding,
 awareness and interest to empower them to take active part in improving environmental conditions in community. The purpose of this study was to measure
 the growth of middle school science students in overall interest, awareness, and content knowledge regarding environmental issues, while applying problem-based learning methods. The data analyzed were student responses to a survey conducted in two GATE middle school physical science classes. The survey was conducted as a pretest and a posttest to both groups. The survey was designed to measure student responses to the application of PBL strategies and the significant changes between the pre and post surveys. Open-ended questions were included in the posttest to better understand any
 changes in student perceptions of PBL strategies. Results of this study demonstrated that the application of PBL strategies did have positive impact in increasing students' understanding of how science relates to their everyday lives as well as empowering them to be an active role in improving
 environmental conditions locally an globally. In additions, students enjoyed the ownership they felt toward their learning in cooperative and collaborative group discussions. The result of the study also indicated students' growth in knowledge and awareness toward renewable sources of energy and how they can be used to reduce human footprint in global climate change.

Thesis (M.A., Education (Curriculum and Instruction))--California State University, Sacramento, 2015.

This study was conducted to establish the effectiveness of utilizing problem-based learning (PBL) strategies in increasing students' increase understanding, awareness and interest to empower them to take active part in improving environmental conditions in community. The purpose of this study was to measure the growth of middle school science students in overall interest, awareness, and content knowledge regarding environmental issues, while applying problem-based learning methods. The data analyzed were student responses to a survey conducted in two GATE middle school physical science classes. The survey was conducted as a pretest and a posttest to both groups. The survey was designed to measure student responses to the application of PBL strategies and the significant changes between the pre and post surveys. Open-ended questions were included in the posttest to better understand any changes in student perceptions of PBL strategies. Results of this study demonstrated that the application of PBL strategies did have positive impact in increasing students' understanding of how science relates to their everyday lives as well as empowering them to be an active role in improving environmental conditions locally an globally. In additions, students enjoyed the ownership they felt toward their learning in cooperative and collaborative group discussions. The result of the study also indicated students' growth in knowledge and awareness toward renewable sources of energy and how they can be used to reduce human footprint in global climate change.

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