Jun 012012

Author: Fernando Díaz del Castillo

Students in various courses worked with KF and KB, and we are particularly proud of the advances made by seventh graders in Biology class. They studied in-vitro fertilization. We attempted to find differences between two groups of students: one of the groups followed a traditional methodology, where the teacher guided the activities and lectured about the topic (control group).The other group worked with KF and KB pedagogy roughly as described by Scardamalia (2002), Scardamalia and Bereiter (2007) and Zhang (2009) (experimental group). Students in the experimental group were able to ask questions and answer them as a group by searching in different sources and guiding the depth of the research. They included their findings in KF and discussed or completed the information brought by their classmates. They asked for help when they didn’t understand a term, definition or procedure, solved their peers’ doubts and learned as a group.
Outcomes were assessed through tests that included descriptions of the procedures and vocabulary acquisition. They were precise when comparing different techniques and when explaining the risks included. They read more articles, books and journals than the control group and were also able to understand and describe all the procedures in detail. The acquisition of scientific vocabulary increased, as they needed to understand medical articles related to the topic. By the end of the curricular unit, the experimental group outperformed the control group in most measures used, especially vocabulary acquisition.

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