An Experimental Study Of The Effectiveness Of The Planetarium In Teaching Selected Science Concepts In The Middle School
The purpose of this study was to determine whether learning science concepts in the planetarium was superior to using other learning environments with middle-school students. Using participatory activities in each of three treatments— classroom, planetarium, and classroom - planetarlum combination— the investigator attempted to assess the relationship of these environments and the learning and retention of the science concepts of rotation, revolution, and phases of the moon. These areas were then related to that of a fifth-grade child's cognitive level of development.
The research design employed was the pretest, immediate posttest, and delayed posttest. The subjects were 135fifth - grade students from a rural middleschool in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Classes were randomly assigned to one of the three treatment groups and each group received six Instructional sessions presented by the Investigator. All students were first assessed for their cognitive developmental level with a Piagetian pencil-and-paper test, then pretested for their initial knowledge of astronomy concepts using the Concepts in Astronomy Test
(CAT) developed in a previous study.
Following the treatment, all groups were tested using the CAT to
determine the achievement of the selected science concepts. At this time a science-planetarium attitude test was given to those students receiving any treatment in the planetarium. After a two-week non- instructlonal period, students were again assessed for retention of the astronomy concepts.