The effects of methodological science process skill training in environmental science on intermediate student creative productivity

Date of Completion

January 1992


Education, Elementary|Education, Special|Education, Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Numerous professionals in science and gifted education suggest that elementary teachers should offer interest-based experiences, teach methodological skills, and provide students with the opportunity to engage in research, as promising methods to nurture scientific talent. This study compared the effect of three instructional methods in environmental science (Type I exploratory activities, Type II methodological training, and combined Type I/Type II activities) and the influence of grade level, gender, achievement scores, attitude toward science, and self-efficacy for creative productivity on the initiation of scientific investigations. In addition, these variables and assignment to treatment group were investigated for their effect on post-treatment attitudes toward science and post-treatment self-efficacy for creative productivity.^ A quasi-experimental, nonequivalent control group pretest-posttest design was used to examine the effects of the variables during the ten weeks of the study, and grade level and pre-treatment self-efficacy for creative productivity scores were covaried for all analyses. The subjects were 342 above-average 4th, 5th and 6th grade students in 11 states.^ The discriminant function equation used to investigate the effects of variables upon investigation initiation was significant (chi square = 31.53, 5 df, $p<.00001),$ with five variables accounting for 9 percent of the variance. Participation in the Type 1 group was the most powerful predictor of student decisions to initiate investigations.^ The stepwise multiple regression used to investigate self-efficacy accounted for 7 percent of the variance, beyond the 37 percent accounted for by the covariates. Participation in the Type II group was the most powerful predictor of posttest self-efficacy.^ The stepwise multiple regression used to investigate science attitude accounted for 21 percent of the variance, beyond the 10 percent accounted for by the covariates of grade, pre-treatment self-efficacy, and pre-treatment attitude. Participation in the Type I group and the Type I/Type II group were the most powerful predictors of posttest attitude toward science. ^