Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This embedded mixed methods study investigates the development of rural elementary students’ conceptual understanding of force and motion as a result of the implementation of robotics instruction immersed within a 5E Learning Cycle Model lessons. Three treatment groups and one controlled comparison group (n=96) participated in pretests and posttests (Science Series Assessment 1, Russell and McGuigan, 2001) the day the activities were completed as well as one week after the completion of the treatment, 5E Learning Cycle Model lessons and draw and tell interviews. Prior to the intervention, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills stanine scores were grouped into three levels: high, medium and low, and provided a sample size of 36, three from each ability level from each experimental and control groups. These participants were pulled three at a time and participated individually in the draw and tell activity before the intervention, during and one week following the close of the intervention. Observations, field notes, coded interviews and quantitative data were used for meta-inference. The data suggests that with respect to long term retention of accurate understanding of concepts related to force and motion, participants who utilize robotics instruction immersed within 5E Learning Cycle Model lessons are more likely to successfully retain correct concepts of force and motion (p>.05). According to the findings from this study, participants who did not utilize robotics instruction were less likely to have accurate long term retention of concepts related to force and motion and were more likely to return to their original misunderstandings of said topic. With regards to ability level, low ability participants who utilized the robotics component were more likely to retain knowledge on topics related to force and motion; whereas only one participant in the control group identified as low ability could do the same. This study addresses a gap in the literature by providing the quantitative and qualitative data that supports the importance of immersing robotics into 5E Learning Cycle Model lessons as a means to assist students of various ability levels in addressing their understandings of physics concepts.



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Committee Chair

Blanchard, Pamela



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Education Commons