Faculty Publications

Title

Building Student Understanding of the Cause of Day and Night: A Study of Literacy- and Spatial Thinking-Integrated Activities Compared to a Commercial Curriculum

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Day and night, Movable books, Research study, Science–literacy integration, Shadows, Spatial thinking skills

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Early Childhood Education Journal

Volume

43

Issue

3

First Page

191

Last Page

200

Abstract

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.

Original Publication Date

5-1-2015

DOI of published version

10.1007/s10643-014-0668-z

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