The Impact of an Integrated Curriculum on Student Attitudes about Science and Learning of Electricity Concepts

Year: 2007

Author: Rennie, Leonie, Sheffield, Rachel, Venville, Grady

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Integrated curricula have been promoted as being able to provide the three-way benefit of improving students’ conceptual understanding of science, the application of science understanding to real-world contexts, and students’ attitudes to science. However, little research has been conducted about the impact of an integrated curriculum on all three of these factors. The purpose of this research was to examine the implementation of an integrated project and evaluate students’ conceptual understanding of electrical circuits, links made to the real world, and student attitudes to their learning. The exploratory case study was conducted in a Year 8 academic extension class and students were required to research, plan, design and build a small-scale house with a working electrical lighting system. The project also included activities from all other subjects including mathematics, English, computing and society and environment. Data collection included pre and post project student interviews and surveys about conceptual understanding of electricity and attitudes and classroom observation and teacher interviews. The results indicated that student learning about electricity was evident, that students were able to apply their knowledge to the house building, integrate knowledge from other sources besides school, and their attitudes to science were positive.