This paper describes a major reform effort of an elementary science curriculum called the Science: Parents, Activities, and Literature (Science PALs) Project. The goal of the project was to move teachers towards an interactive-constructivist model of teaching and learning that assumes a middle-of-the-road interpretation of constructivism where hands-on activities are used selectively and purposefully to challenge students' ideas, promote deep processing, and achieve conceptual change. The program also enriches the cross-curricular connections of the science units and promotes meaningful parental involvement. A broad question was raised as to whether or not students really notice. This study explored elementary school students' perceptions of and attitudes toward interactive-constructivist science teaching and learning occurring in classrooms of teachers who were or were not participating in the Science PALs project. The sample consisted of 664 females and 651 males in Grades 1 through 6. Students' perceptions and attitudes were generally higher for science teaching and learning in classrooms of teachers with two or more years of Science PALs experience than in the classrooms of teachers with little to no experience with PALs. A survey of parent participants in the project revealed overwhelming support. An appendix contains descriptive statistics and summary analysis of variance tables.
Shymansky, James; Yore, Larry; Dunkhase, John; and Hand, Brian, "Do Students Really Notice? A Study of the Impact of a Local Systemic Reform." (1998). Educator Preparation & Leadership Faculty Works. 18.
Available at: https://irl.umsl.edu/epir/18