Building Student Understanding of the Cause of Day and Night: A Study of Literacy- and Spatial Thinking-Integrated Activities Compared to a Commercial Curriculum
Day and night, Movable books, Research study, Science–literacy integration, Shadows, Spatial thinking skills
Early Childhood Education Journal
The cause of day and night is a difficult concept to master without concrete foundational skills of understanding shadows, rotation, changing point of view, and relative positions of objects in the sky. This pretest–posttest experimental-control group study examined student learning in a science–literacy–spatial skills integrated unit with concrete, kinesthetic, and model-making experiences compared to a typical commercial curriculum formerly used at the school. The 23 2nd graders in the experimental group from a low socio-economic district in Iowa were matched to 23 2nd graders in other classrooms at the same school on pretest scores to form the control group. Although both groups gained knowledge from pretest to posttest, the experimental group evidenced a very large effect size overall compared to a medium effect size for the control group. Differences between groups on posttest scores favored the experimental group with a very large effect size. The integrated lessons, greeted with enthusiasm, included experimenting with flashlights, reading relevant books, photographing shadows and making books with written explanations, participating in kinesthetic rotation activities, developing new time of day vocabulary, creating books with movable pages, composing play scripts about diverse space or time-related scientists, making shadow puppets, and presenting the shadow plays.
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
Original Publication Date
DOI of published version
Rule, Audrey C. and Webb, Angela Naomi, "Building Student Understanding of the Cause of Day and Night: A Study of Literacy- and Spatial Thinking-Integrated Activities Compared to a Commercial Curriculum" (2015). Faculty Publications. 1249.