Master of Natural Sciences (MNS)


Natural Sciences (Interdepartmental Program)

Document Type



This study was undertaken to test if the use of self-explanation to a peer would affect learning outcomes in the classroom. The outcomes of classes taught using the self-explanation technique were compared to outcomes from traditional lecture courses in lessons of comparable content. Great Scholars and traditional students in a sixth grade physical science classroom setting were given pre-and post-tests in two units of study, matter and waves. In the matter unit, students participated in a lesson on density using traditional lecture and a lesson on changes in matter using self-explanation. In the waves unit, students utilized lecture instruction for a lesson on electromagnetic waves and self-explanation instruction for a lesson on sound waves. Pre-test scores, post-test scores, and learning gains were analyzed for each lesson across instructional treatments and class types. After the unit on waves students were given an opinion survey to determine which instructional method they preferred using. Self-explanation had a significantly positive impact on learning gains for the Great Scholars students in the first unit of study. No detectible differences in gains for the second unit of study were found in either group of students. However, the opinion survey given after the second unit of study suggests that students experience greater enjoyment when using the self-explanation instructional technique. Larger sample sizes and experiments in other science disciplines may lead to a better understanding of how self-explanation to a peer impacts student learning.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Siebenaller, Joseph