Micro Pedagogies: Implementing a Micro-Spiral Science Curriculum for Middle School Children

By Edith G. Davis.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Any deficit in science education programs would hinder the progress of the country, yet national and international science achievement data show that the United States of America’s students lag behind other nations’ students in their understanding of science once they enter high school (National Science Board, 1977). The science curricula in the nation’s middle schools have been considered one of the weaker links to the advancement of a scientifically literate society (Forgione, 1999). Science education and scientific literacy are essential to the success of the nation. A scientifically literate nation can help assure a free and democratic society, an economically viable society, and a healthy society. The study of the effects of an experimental micro spiral physics curriculum is embedded within the backdrop of some of the political influences on science education in the United States and shows the importance that recent presidents and government agencies have placed on science education and science education standards. The purpose of the complete study was to compare the effectiveness of using an experimental micro-spiral physics curriculum and traditional linear physics curriculum with sixth graders only; seventh and eighth graders were dropped in the complete study. The study also surveyed students’ parents, teachers, and principals about students/ academic history and background as well as identified resilient children’s attributes for academic success. Both the experimental micro-spiral physics curriculum and the traditional linear physics curriculum increased physics achievement; however it is important to note that the majority of the subgroups studied did show statistically significant differences in effectiveness for the experimental micro-spiral physics curriculum compared to the traditional linear physics curriculum. The Grounded Theory analysis of resilient student characteristics resulted in categories for future studies including the empathy factor (“E” factor), the tenacity factor (“T” factor), the relational factor (“R” factor) and the spiritual factor (“S” factor).

Keywords: Experimental, Spiral Physics Curriculum, Solomon Four Group Design, Grounded Theory, Grounded Theory Analysis of Resilient Student Characteristics, Categories

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 868.560KB).

Dr. Edith G. Davis

Assistant Professor, Secondary & Foundations, Science Education, College of Education, Florida A & M University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

The researcher’s academic background consists of a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in geology and minor in mathematics along with several courses in physics, chemistry, biology, and marine science from the University of Miami, a Master of Science degree in geophysics from Stanford University. Upon graduating from Stanford University Dr. Davis became the 1st African American female Geophysicist in the United States of America. Dr. Davis also has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas. The researcher received her doctorate in Education Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis Science Education and Research at Baylor University. The researcher was the educational liaison for the Baylor University CASPER Project, as well as a member of CASPER’s outreach program. The researcher was a graduate research assistant to the Baylor summer math program. The researcher developed and implemented science curriculum for Upward Bound programs at the University of Miami and Pennsylvania State University’s Science program for girls. The researcher utilized her various academic and professional experiences in the development of the research design.