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Research in Science Education

Biophilia and its impact on academic achievement

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Clay Waterbury Clay Waterbury 20 Points

Hello, I am doing undergraduate research at Wartburg College with another secondary science education major. We are studying biophilia, the natural attraction towards living things, and its impact on academic achievement, retention, and motivation in the middle school classroom. Currently, we are teaching physics lessons to three different middle schools in Northeast, Iowa. We are teaching forces using cockroaches and energy using earthworms and then comparing test scores to students who were taught the same lesson without live animals. Data will begin to be examined soon to test for significant changes in score increase from pretest to posttest. Interest and feedback is welcome and appreciated.  Thanks! Clay Waterbury, clay.waterbury@wartburg.edu Kimberly Conner, kimberly.conner@wartburg.edu

Elizabeth Manning Elizabeth Manning 520 Points

I am interested in your results. It's also interesting to me that you are judging the impact of biophilia by using creatures that cause revulsion in much of the population. I personally love cockroaches and worms, but i have seen students be put off by them. I wonder if using "cute" vs. "gross" animals would make a difference! Good luck on our research and I'd love to hear more.

Emily Faulconer Emily Faulconer 5215 Points

Does the control group also get a lesson with a real-world example? 

Erik Lucas Erik Lucas 695 Points

Definitely interested in your findings!

Jeremy Goforth Jeremy Goforth 1416 Points

Does this have anything to do with the complexity of the organism? For example, an earthworm versus a fuzzy kitten.

Maura Purcell Maura Purcell 1250 Points

To follow up on Jeramy's comment, does the overall appeal or "cuteness" of the animal get factored in? It's hard to fit into a physics lesson, and I'm not sure if hey are allowed at all schools, but it seems a more complex and cute animal like a beared dragon or a hampster would get a lot more buy-in then cockroaches. 

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