Solar System: an Interactive Learning Supplement for Sixth Grade Science Students




Clair, Brett

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The goal of this project was to measure the effectiveness of digital applications as an avenue of learning among sixth grade science students. Through the development and production of an interactive module focused on teaching students the components of the solar system, the developed interactive learning application was evaluated as an effective learning supplement in addition to traditional classroom teaching methods. The interactive module consists of an exploratory 3D learning environment that can be navigated nonlinearly, interspersed with quizzing sections that test knowledge of the material covered. Users were evaluated at two different segments of the module, and depending on their quiz score, were either allowed to continue to the next segment of the module, or forced to revisit the previous section in order to gain the knowledge needed to advance.

The application was evaluated by Jamie Sammis, on of WPA's sixth grade science teachers, Angela Diehl, M.A. of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center's Biomedical Communications program, as well as 85 sixth grade science students. During this evaluation, students were given a custom-designed interactive application and their comprehension of its content was monitored. In addition, students were asked to evaluate the application and their interest in taking advantage of similar digital supplemental learning applications in the future. To gauge efficacy, students were given a 20-question pretest before the implementation of the application, which was then re-administered as a post-test the following week. At the end of the evaluation, it was determined that the designed learning application produced marked improvement in content retention among students. In addition, students showed overwhelming preference to learning through digital interactive learning applications. Due to the structure of the classrooms participating in this evaluation, it was also possible to compare test and survey results between classes of all male or all female students and classes with both male and female students. At the end of the application's implementation, it was determined that students who used it in conjunction with normal classroom learning methods scored an average of 13.3% higher on TEKS-based evaluations.