A mixed methods analysis of the effects of an integrative geobiological study of petrified wood in introductory college geology classrooms

Authors

  • Renee M. Clary,

    Corresponding author
    1. Mississippi State University, Department of Geosciences, Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448
    • Mississippi State University, Department of Geosciences, Box 5448, Mississippi State, MS 39762-5448.
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  • James H. Wandersee

    1. Louisiana State University, Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice, Room 223-F Peabody Hall, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
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Abstract

Mixed methods research conducted across three semesters in introductory college geology classes (n = 187, 190, 138) attempted to ascertain whether integrated study of petrified wood could serve as a portal to improved student geobiological understanding of fossilization, geologic time, and evolution. The Petrified Wood Survey™ was administered as a preinstructional and postinstructional assessment in control and experimental classes; the experimental class received integrated petrified wood instruction. Paired t tests of differences in students' pre- and postinstructional scores for control and experimental groups revealed significance (α = 0.05, effect size = 0.79, confidence interval 0.56–1.01). The students with integrative study showed greater knowledge gains about petrified wood's abundance, properties, nature, location, and geologic time. However, understanding of fossilization geochemistry remained problematic for both groups. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 44: 1011–1035, 2007

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