Enhancing fifth graders understanding of complex ecosystems through a model-based approach utilizing stagecast creator
Constantinou, Constantinos P.
Zacharia, Zacharias C.
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We report a study in which we designed and implemented a curriculum within the context of ecosystems aimed at fostering scientific modelling skills and enhancing conceptual understanding among fifth graders through the use of Stagecast CreatorTM. We describe how activities supported students to improve and expand their models by adding new information collected from observations and personal knowledge about real-life ecosystems. Paper-and-pencil tests were used both before and after the study to evaluate students’ modelling skills and understanding of concepts related to ecosystems. The data analysis followed both qualitative and quantitative methods. The results indicated the importance of the synergy of the study’s goals: to learn about marine ecosystems and develop modelling skills. We found significant differences between students’ pre- and post-test scores, suggesting that our approach facilitated the development of both modelling skills and enhanced conceptual understanding of marine ecosystems of fifth graders.