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Fifth-grade students' perspectives of learning through a constructivist approach

Frederick Jibran Harling, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to examine elementary students' perspectives of a constructivist approach to enhance their knowledge about stress. Participants were fifth grade students in an elementary school in the northeast. Data collection included a pretest-posttest, teacher reflective journal and student interviews. A multiple choice pre-test was administered to students to obtain information about students' knowledge of stress. The pre-test was followed by a four day unit that focused on the concept of stress employing a constructivist approach. The four day unit was monitored in two ways. First, a daily reflective journal was recorded by the teacher about each lesson. Second, students were interviewed at the end of the unit regarding their perceptions of learning through a constructivist approach. A post-test was administered to evaluate students' knowledge. Data analysis for the pre-test consisted of descriptive statistics. The teaching reflective journal and students' interviews were analyzed using constant-comparison. An overview of the results of the study indicates that students reported increased self awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the feelings of others, and enhanced appreciation of human relations from the unit. Other findings indicate that the females scored higher on the pre and post test than the males. Both the individual groups of males and females improved as a result of the unit. The implications of this study may provide educators with insights into the possible effectiveness of a constructivist approach to teaching various health concepts.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Elementary education|Science education

Recommended Citation

Harling, Frederick Jibran, "Fifth-grade students' perspectives of learning through a constructivist approach" (2004). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3118304.