Grade Level

Gr. 3;

Document Type

Teaching and Learning Strategies


Birds, study and teaching (Elementary); Curriculum evaluation;


Integration of subject areas with technology and thinking skills is a way to help teachers cope with today’s overloaded curriculum and to help students see the connectedness of different curriculum areas. This study compares three authentic approaches to teaching a science unit on bird adaptations for habitat that integrate thinking skills and technology skills: a problem-based learning approach utilizing the CoRT Breadth thinking skills (de Bono, 2000); a thematic approach integrating several subject areas using Talents Unlimited thinking skills (Schlichter & Palmer, 1993); and a process skill-focused approach using object boxes (Rule, Barrera, & Stewart, 2004). Three third grade classes of students (N=60) of mixed ability and Spanish/English proficiency from a western rural community participated in this pretest- interventionposttest study. Posttest scores showed all classes gained in knowledge of bird facts and adaptations, descriptive vocabulary, curiosity, technology self-efficacy, and knowledge of computer applications. Problem-based learning students showed the most curiosity (measured by questions generated for a topic-related image); thematic unit students excelled in computer application knowledge; while object box students showed largest gains in science knowledge, vocabulary, and computer self-efficacy. Integration of thinking skills allowed teachers to structure and scaffold learning in all three approaches. All three authentic approaches exhibited strengths along with challenges and are recommended. [67 references, 12 tables]


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

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