Transdisciplinary Instruction: Implementing and Evaluating a Primary-School STEM Teaching Model

Rekha Koul, Barry Fraser, Henny Nastiti

Abstract


This article reports the implementation of a series of innovative STEM lessons, which were integrated into primary-school students’ teaching and learning programs, and their evaluation using a mixed-methods approach. We provided 1095 grade 4-7 students in 36 classes from 10 schools with a series of STEM lessons modified from Tryengineering to fit local needs. Effectiveness was evaluated by administering a questionnaire to students before (pretest) and after (posttest) the STEM lessons. The questionnaire included two scales assessing student perceptions of their learning environment (Cooperation and Involvement), two scales assessing student attitudes (Enjoyment of Lessons and Career Interest in STEM) and two scales assessing student understanding of the work undertaken by people employed in engineering and technology. Also our evaluation involved qualitative information based on classroom observations and interviews. Statistically-significant improvements between pretest and posttest in career interest in STEM (0.70 standard deviations), understanding of engineering (0.81 standard deviations) and understanding of technology (0.74 standard deviations) supported the efficacy of the instructional activities, while lessons observations and student interviews further supported, explained and clarified the quantitative findings.

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