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Developing positive student attitudes through the use of field trips in the science classroom

1 July 1998


As teachers we are always looking for ways to motivate our students. This research focuses on using field trips to increase students' attitudes and motivation. The purpose of this study was to look at how different types of experiential field trips affect students' attitudes toward science. I was also interested in how and why teachers are using field trips in the secondary biology classroom. This study was based on others done by Kern (1986) and Orion and Hofstein (1994 & 1991). The study took place in the spring semester 1998 at an urban high school in the Pacific Northwest. The study consisted of interviews with three different teachers, as well as surveys and observations of 70 students from those three classrooms. The study looks at how teachers can use field trips to provide authentic activities for students and improve students' attitudes toward science. The results of this study are consistent with others. The results indicate, students' who take a number of field trips have a better attitude toward science provided the field trips provide opportunities for experiential learning. Experiential learning occurs when students have the opportunity to explore and learn through hands-on, authentic activities. This research shows how these typed of trips affect students attitudes, and suggests ways for implementing these types of trips in the classroom.


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