Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Biological Sciences

Document Type



Graphic organizers have been used in the classroom since the late 1960’s. Several studies have been published on the effects of graphic organizers on cognitive learning and yet the traditional method of teaching in the science classroom still remains strongly focused on traditional lecture and note taking. This study shows that relative to traditional methods graphic organizers maintain equivalent learning gains, but increase excitement and engagement among the students. The purpose of this study was to assess traditional lecture vs. traditional lecture with the addition of concept maps to determine if concept maps affect learning gains in the high school science classroom. The study used 86 traditional Biology students. The students were given both a pre-test and post-test on two separate units in the Biology curriculum. The first unit covered Charles Darwin and the theory of natural selection, while the second unit covered the muscular and skeletal systems. Although there was a slight increase in learning gains when concept maps were used, statistical analysis determined that this small increase was not significant for this sample size. There was a statistically significant difference in learning gains between the two units however. An attitudinal survey given at the end of the course showed that students preferred using the concept maps in addition to traditional lecture over traditional lecture alone.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

LiCata, Vincent