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Abstract

A review of the stated goals for education reveals a consistent emphasis on problem solving. Problem solving is compatible with the investigative nature of science and with higher order thinking. Consequently, a problem solving strategy was developed to improve the achievement of eighth grade students enrolled in earth science. The sample consisted of 287 eighth grade students randomly assigned to fourteen sections taught by four teachers. This resulted in seven control sections and seven experimental sections. The students in the treatment groups received approximately six weeks of instruction with the experimental groups receiving a variety of problem solving activities. A forty item posttest consisting of four subtests was administered to all students. The results indicate that the problem solving approach was useful in improving the overall achievement of students. It was particular effective in facilitating application of earth science subject matter. This problem solving approach appears to be a feasible strategy to use in most secondary science classrooms.