Making the connection: Model-based learning in primary education
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This paper examines whether model-based lessons in 6th grade can increase understanding and attitudes towards science. It draws on a model-based lesson series on the topic of soap, which was specially designed for the research. The lesson series was evaluated with the use of a pre- and post-test given to 38 students divided over two 6th grade classes. The pre- and post-test tested attitudes and understanding of science. The understanding of science was divided between knowledge on models and knowledge on soap. The soap knowledge questions’ answers were elaborated with the use of a focus group of 5 students per class after post-test. Analysis of the pre- and post-test shows that the attitude of students towards scientists becomes more positive, after the intervention. Also the general understanding of the purpose of models improves during model-based lessons. The understanding of the students was also measured according to Grünkorn’s (2014) framework and this indicated that the 6th grade students have their understanding of the purpose of models in level I. Finally students’ knowledge about soap increased because of the model-based lessons. So, Model-based lessons can therefore increase understanding and attitudes towards science in 6th grade education.