Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Relations of Cognitive and Motivational Variables with Students' Human Circulatory System Achievement in Traditional and Learning Cycle Classrooms*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Relations of Cognitive and Motivational Variables with Students' Human Circulatory System Achievement in Traditional and Learning Cycle Classrooms*

Article excerpt

Özlem SADIa

Research offers alternative strategies to improve meaningful learning in science. To promote meaningful learning, students can be encouraged to transfer theoretical knowledge into practical applications and to make connections between their pre-knowledge and new knowledge (Ausubel, 1963; Novak, 2002). The inquiry-based learning model has had a great influence on students' meaningful learning, and the model is one of the active learning models which includes not only asking question but also investigating, analyzing, and discussing subjects.

The inquiry process encourages students to be active learners. Otherwise, rote learning occurs and several units and concepts can become unfamiliar and difficult to remember for students. Researchers state that rote learning leads to less understanding of scientific concepts and also generates misconceptions concerning those concepts (Williams & Cavallo, 1995). Especially in biology, the topics or concepts in each unit are closely related with each other, the human circulatory system being among such topics. According to the research, major concepts of the circulatory system which students do not fully understand are the structure and function of the human cardiovascular system, pumping mechanism of the heart, circulatory/respiratory relationships, systemic/ pulmonary circulation, closed circulation, type of blood vessels, homeostasis, and the blood flow rate (Alkhawaldeh, 2007; Arnaudin & Mintzes, 1985; Kwen, 2005; Sungur, Tekkaya & Geban, 2001; Windschitl, 2001; Yip, 1998). Students should connect each circulatory system concept with each other in a meaningful way in order to recognize better other biological concepts such as the digestive system, immune system and respiratory system (Alkhawaldeh, 2007).

Research on the Learning Cycle

Over the years, most of the educational research studies have presented different learning approaches to support meaningful learning in science. One of them is the learning cycle, an inquiry-based teaching strategy derived from Piaget's model of mental functioning. The learning cycle can be defined as an instructional model based on constructivist epistemology that promotes conceptual change.

There have been many studies carried out to assess the effectiveness of the learning cycle (Atay & Tekkaya, 2008; Balci, Cakiroglu & Tekkaya, 2006; Lee, 2003; Ates, 2005; Temel, Yilmaz, & Özgür, 2013; Yadav & Mishra, 2013). The results of these studies revealed that the learning cycle addresses students' developmental progress by using suitable investigations that students have employed in the science learning process. For example, Marek, Cowan, and Cavallo (1994) reported that the learning cycle instruction was more effective than expository instruction in promoting high school students' understanding of diffusion. Likewise, Balci et al. (2006) investigated the effects of the 5E learning cycle, conceptual change text, and traditional instructions on 8th grade students' understanding of photosynthesis and respiration. They reported that students who were instructed with the 5E learning cycle and conceptual change text instruction had better scores on the post-test than the students who were instructed using traditional instruction. In addition to the research studies which are related to the effectiveness of the learning cycle in students' understanding of scientific concepts, science education researchers have attempted to investigate certain variables which may contribute to students' science achievement. Cognitive and motivational variables have been found to be related to students' understanding of scientific concepts, and it is shown that those factors have an effect on students' scientific achievement (Araz & Sungur, 2007). Therefore, cognitive and motivational variables should be taken into consideration while planning, developing and applying instructional strategies.

Research on Cognitive Variables

Science education researchers stress the importance of cognitive variables influencing student achievement in science. …

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