Drawn to Science Education: Studying Science Teaching and Learning through Drawings

Action Research Examples in Education

Examples of Action Research: Teacher in using a flip-chart to describe the parts of a flower.

Ms. S, a fourth grade teacher, was pursuing her Master's in education. Action research was a large part of the requirement for a course in her program. For her action research project, she decided to study her students' experiences with science outside of the classroom. She had noticed that some students would discuss trips to museums, parks, and after-school science programs. Ms. S wondered how common these experiences were and which students were involved.

Ms. S thought this information would be valuable in connecting her students' experiences to classroom instruction. In addition, it would allow her to encourage students to contribute to discussions and activities. She also hoped that by understanding what her students were doing outside of school she could offer suggestions to parents and encourage science learning.

Action Research Question

After discussing her research with her professor and peers she decided to investigate the research questions, "What experiences outside of the classroom during the summer break do my students self-identify as associated with learning science? How do they compare what and how they learn science in the differing environments (formal science classrooms and informal science settings)? How can I use that information to enhance my science instruction?" Since Ms. S planned to collect data at the beginning of the school year she wanted to focus on what took place over summer vacation. This information would then be useful for the rest of the year and help her get to know her students at the beginning of the school year.

Research Plan

After visiting www.DrawnToScience.org, Ms. S thought drawings might be a useful and non-threatening way to collect data from her students, especially early in the school year. In order to collect data, Ms. S planned to use a modified version of the drawing prompt used on this website. The revised prompt would ask students to "draw the science-related activities you did over the summer." Students would also be asked to write a description of the activity on the back of the drawing.

Ms. S conducted a review of the literature in order to understand what research had already been done, and for ideas on conducting her action research project. Based on what she found she then developed a plan to collect and analyze data. To analyze the data she planned to develop her own scoring rubric for the drawings using the rubric on this website as a model and from information found in her literature review.

At the end of the semester, Ms. S planned to turn in the final paper on her research to her professor and give a presentation. She also was considering submitting a proposal to present at a local education conference.

Return to Action Research Examples
Next Section: Action Research Topics and Questions
Return to Action Research Home