Science Vocabulary Action Research

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Information about Science Vocabulary Action Research

Published on March 29, 2014

Author: ullnevercme



This presentation presents the results of an action research project investigating the impact of concept mapping and multiple exposures on fifth grade students' science vocabulary achievement compared to traditional definition-based instruction.

Examining the Impact of Concept Mapping and Multiple Exposures on Fifth Grade Students' Science Vocabulary Achievement Stephanie Woolard MAEd Reading East Carolina University March 31, 2014

Academic Vocabulary • The Common Core Standards, adopted by North Carolina in 2012, include literacy strands interwoven into the content areas compelling teachers to increase their focus on vocabulary instruction

What Works • Extensive practice with words, breadth of knowledge about words including both definitional and contextual knowledge, and active student engagement. • Direct instruction of Tier 2 and Tier 3 academic vocabulary

What Doesn’t • Unfortunately, vocabulary instruction in many content area classrooms still consists of outdated methods such as copying definitions from the glossary and writing them in a sentence.

Purpose • The purpose of this research project was to investigate the impact of concept definition mapping and multiple exposures on fifth grade students’ science vocabulary achievement compared to traditional vocabulary instruction.

Methodology Independent Variable: Vocabulary Instruction Dependent Variable Treatment Group: Semantic Mapping, Multiple Exposures Comparison Group: Traditional Definition-Based Instruction Vocabulary Achievement -Vocabulary Pre/Posttest -Knowledge Rating Survey -Researcher Log -Vocabulary Pre/Posttest

Concept of Definition Map The intervention consisted of a concept definition map based on techniques that teachers use to clarify word meanings for students: synonyms, brief descriptions, examples and non- examples, context, asso ciations, and unique expression.

Intervention Implementation Timeline Date Intervention Instruction January 13 - 17 Pretest of unit vocabulary, Introduction to semantic map and jigsaw strategy. January 22-24 Week 1 Vocabulary Terms: Infection, Nutrients, Sternum, Stethoscope, Pulmonary, Cardiac, Heart Rate, Aorta Circulatory SystemJanuary 27-31 Week 2 Vocabulary Terms: Abdomen, Cells, Cranium, Lumbar, Membrane, Organs, Spinal Cord, Thoracic February 3-7 Week 3 Vocabulary Terms: Flexible, Fuse, Allergic, Dander, Energy, Exhaust, Flu, Germs February 10-14 Week 4 Vocabulary Terms: Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Lobes, Bronchial, Bolus, Chyme, Dissolve, Gastric Digestive SystemFebruary 18-21 Week 5 Vocabulary Terms: Saliva, Stool, Urine, Villi, Peristalsis, Alimentary Canal, Fiber, Digest March 3 Posttest of unit vocabulary

Multiple Exposures Concentration Word Sorts Aorta The largest blood vessel in the human body. Infection The attack on healthy parts of your body by germs. Pneumonia Chyme Gastric Bronchitis Saliva Stomach Emphysema Bolus Digest

Vocabulary Mean Gain Scores 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Pre/Posttest Subset Treatment Comparison Pre/Posttest Mean Gain Treatment 7.7 Comparison 3.6 Two-tailed p .0021 20 Item Subset Mean Gain Treatment 5.6 Comparison 2.6 Two-tailed p .0001 Notes: Treatment N=21; Comparison N-20

Knowledge Rating Survey

Vocabulary Knowledge Rating 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 Pre Post Mean Pre-Survey 97.7 Post-Survey 138.8 Two-tailed p < .0001

Researcher Log • Theme 1: Students benefitted from purposeful talk in collaborative groups. • Theme 2: Students demonstrated inquiry and engagement with high order questions.

Purposeful Talk in Groups Holly: “My mom likes to eat those fiber bars, I wonder if that is the same thing as our vocabulary word.” Jane: “The definition says it is a substance found in food, so it could be the same thing.” Holly: “And the book says that it is a good-for- you nutrient. That makes sense because my mom is always trying to eat healthy.”

High Order Thinking Bronchitis Non-Examples Pneumonia Flu • Brock explained the reasoning of his group, “Pneumonia and flu are in the same category as bronchitis because they are all illnesses, but they are different types.”

Discussion The results are clear, active engagement with words through concept mapping and multiple exposures is more effective for promoting knowledge and retention of content vocabulary than traditional definition- based instruction.


Questions or Comments? Stephanie Woolard ECU MAEd Reading

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