Matching Items (32)
- All Subjects: Education
- Creators: School of Life Sciences
- Member of: Theses and Dissertations
- Status: Published
First-semester student retention is a constant priority for undergraduate institutions. The transition to the collegiate level, and to a new scholastic program and format, is frequently challenging academically and socially—for this reason, many first-semester course schedules for incoming freshman undergraduates feature an introductory seminar to ease transition to an undergraduate lifestyle. Arizona State University features a required “Careers in the Life Sciences” course for its first-semester School of Life Sciences students, which has had tractable results in first semester student retention and academic success. Here, we evaluate a component of the seminar, the peer-mentorship program, for its efficacy in students’ first semester experience. Analysis of self-reports from 168 first-semester “mentees” and their 25 mentors indicates frequency of mentee-mentor contact was the best indicator of a higher first semester GPA, comfort with academic resources and study habits, and desire to engage in extracurricular activities and internships. These data indicate that access to a mentor who actively engages and verbally connects with their mentees is a valuable component of first-semester student academic integration and retention.
STEM education stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and is necessary for students to keep up with global competition in the changing job market, technological advancements and challenges of the future. However, American students are lacking STEM achievement at the state, national and global levels. To combat this lack of achievement I propose that STEM instruction should begin in preschool, be integrated into the curriculum and be inquiry based. To support this proposal I created a month-long physics unit for preschoolers in a Head Start classroom. Students investigated the affect of incline, friction and weight on the distance of a rolling object, while developing their pre-math, pre-literacy and social emotional skills.
We, a team of students and faculty in the life sciences at Arizona State University (ASU), currently teach an Introduction to Biology course in a Level 5, or maximum-security unit with the support of the Arizona Department of Corrections and the Prison Education Program at ASU. This course aims to enhance current programs at the unit by offering inmates an opportunity to practice literacy and math skills, while also providing exposure to a new academic field (science, and specifically biology). Numerous studies, including a 2005 study from the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC), have found that vocational programs, including prison education programs, reduce recidivism rates (ADC 2005, Esperian 2010, Jancic 1988, Steurer et al. 2001, Ubic 2002) and may provide additional benefits such as engagement with a world outside the justice system (Duguid 1992), the opportunity for inmates to revise personal patterns of rejecting education that they may regret, and the ability of inmate parents to deliberately set a good example for their children (Hall and Killacky 2008). Teaching in a maximum security prison unit poses special challenges, which include a prohibition on most outside materials (except paper), severe restrictions on student-teacher and student-student interactions, and the inability to perform any lab exercises except limited computer simulations. Lack of literature discussing theoretical and practical aspects of teaching science in such environment has prompted us to conduct an ongoing study to generate notes and recommendations from this class through the use of surveys, academic evaluation of students' work and ongoing feedback from both teachers and students to inform teaching practices in future science classes in high-security prison units.
Over the past few years, the issue of childhood trauma in the United States has become significant. A growing number of children are experiencing abuse, neglect, or some other form of maltreatment each year. Considering the stressful home lives of maltreated children, the one sure sanctuary is school. However, this idea requires teachers to be actively involved in identifying and caring for the children who need it most. Traumatic childhood experiences leave lasting scars on its victims, so it is helpful if teachers learn how to identify and support children who have lived through them. It is unfortunate that teachers will most likely encounter children throughout their career who have experienced horrendous things, but it is a reality. With this being said, teachers need to develop an understanding of what traumatized children live with, and learn how to address these issues with skilled sensitivity. Schools are not just a place where children learn how to read and write; they build the foundation for a successful life. This project was designed to provide teachers with a necessary resource for helping children who have suffered traumatic experiences. The methodology of this project began with interviews with organizations specializing in working with traumatized children such as Arizonans for Children, Free Arts for Abused Children, The Sojourner Center, and UMOM. The next step was a review of the current literature on the subject of childhood trauma. The findings have all been compiled into one, convenient document for teacher use and distribution. Upon completion of this document, an interactive video presentation will be made available through an online education website, so that distribution will be made simpler. Hopefully, teachers will share the information with people in their networks and create a chain reaction. The goal is to make it available to as many teachers as possible, so that more children will receive the support they need.
With the overall health of the environment rapidly declining \u2014 mostly due to human behaviors, solving the problem of nature deficit disorder and getting more children interested and aware of nature could be paramount to improving the environmental health of our planet. In this study, the relationship between children's learning and emotion is explored. Pre- and post-tests were given to children attending a week-long summer freshwater ecology camp; their knowledge of and emotional connection to different ecological concepts were measured. Two separate ecosystems were tested \u2014 a freshwater ecosystem that was taught over the course of the week, and a marine ecosystem for comparison. Increases in knowledge and emotion were seen in every freshwater ecosystem concept. Additionally, the knowledge and emotion scores were correlated, suggesting a positive relationship between them. The marine ecosystem did not show improvements in concrete knowledge, but showed increases in abstract learning, indicating that the abstract concepts learned about the freshwater ecosystem were able to transfer to the marine. Overall results show the ability of a hands-on learning experience to foster an emotional connection between a child and the subject matter. However, long-term studies are needed to track the relationship between children and their knowledge of and emotional connection to the subject matter.
As part of a group project, myself and four teammates created an interactive children's storybook based off of the "Young Lady's Illustrated Primer" in Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age. This electronic book is meant to be read aloud by a caregiver with their child, and is designed for reading over long distances through the use of real-time voice and video calling. While one part of the team focused on building the electronic book itself and writing the program, myself and two others wrote the story and I provided illustrations. Our Primer tells the story of a young princess named Charname (short for character name) who escapes from a tower and goes on a mission to save four companions to help her on her quest. The book is meant for reader-insertion, and teaches children problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills by presenting challenges for Princess Charname to solve. The Primer borrows techniques from modern video game design, focusing heavily on interactivity and feelings of agency through offering the child choices of how to proceed, similar to choose-your-own-adventure books. If brought to market, the medium lends itself well to expanded quests and storylines for the child to explore as they learn and grow. Additionally, resources are provided for the narrator to help create an engaging experience for the child, based off of research on parent-child cooperative reading and cooperative gameplay. The final version of the Primer included a website to run the program, a book-like computer to access the program online, and three complete story segments for the child and narrator to read together.
Education plays a key role throughout many different fields of study. My question has to do with not what we are learning, but how we are learning it, therefore focusing more on the teaching and instructional design aspect of the learning process. Specifically, the goal of my thesis is to theoretically define collaborative learning and develop a framework that demonstrates how collaboration and interactivity can be successfully implemented in a language learning classroom. Language learning is essential in schools because it enables students to be culturally aware. According to the Modern Language Teachers' Association of South Australia, language learning plays a significant role in 21st Century learning. It assists students in being more community engaged as well as culturally diverse. They state that "knowing additional languages and cultures involves connecting, engaging, and interacting with others and negotiating boundaries based on diverse ways of understanding the world." (MLTASA) Collaboration can be very beneficial in the human learning process. According to Webb, students that collaborate with each other engage in challenging conversations and produce joint solutions whereas students that don't collaborate engage in conversation about practical rather than abstract matters (Webb, 2009). The success of collaboration is defined by the content of the dialog, groups won't necessarily engage in beneficial dialogue without help and facilitation by the teacher. It's important for teachers to keep groups on task and monitor their progress throughout the lesson. Through collaborative learning the student is able to take more from the lesson and view each concept from an alternate perspective. With teacher facilitated group discussions, students preform knowledge construction and challenge individual thoughts in order to come up with a joint solution that's takes everyone's point of view into perspective (Nastasi, 1999). Many researchers have concluded that collaborative learning, is a very beneficial learning method when it comes to challenging thoughts and concepts between students. Because each individual has a different thought process and ideas, each student brings a different concept that can be challenged and discussed among the group. Many researchers have previously studied the benefits of collaborative learning as well as the teacher's role in correctly facilitating and implementing it. Webb, highlights the importance of teachers actively pushing students to collaborate and challenge ideas. She states "In classrooms in which teachers pushed students to make explicit the steps in their mental processes (whether students' answers and strategies were correct or incorrect), collaborative groups engaged in frequent explaining and provided explanations that were correct and complete" (Webb, 2009, pg.18). Similarly, researchers such as Rijkje Dekker and Marianne Elshout-Mohr argue that collaboration in classrooms is especially important in terms of the type of work that is assigned. Assignments that require collaboration generally go more in depth and are considered more challenging than those given in individual assignments "Collaborative learning tasks are in general designed as complex, challenging and authentic problems. Such problems motivate students to attempt different strategies and co-construct and justify solutions" (Elshout-Mohr and Dekker, 2000, pg.40). Collaboration in language learning classrooms is beneficial and quite easy to implement (Elshout-Mohr and Dekker, 2000).
The ASU Page Turners is an entrepreneurial community action program founded by Chase Fitzgerald and Hannah McAtee. In 2014, a third program partner, Chloe Holmes, replaced Hannah as co-president. The ASU Page Turners program aims to enhance opportunities for the children of the Tempe/Mesa school districts through a unique one-on-one weekly reading program that is designed to draw together engaged ASU Barrett students and similarly motivated second and third grade students at the Tempe Public Library. The ASU Page Turners empowers the youth of our community by growing reading confidence, vocalization, and public speaking that can serve as transformative skill sets both in and out of the classroom. This document serves as a description and appraisal of the work done to establish the program, expand its reach and success, reflect on the experiences of the primary collaborators, appraise the value of the work as seen by the Tempe Public library, and set it on a sustainable path of growth for its future with Barrett, The Honors College and the Tempe Public Library. The Page Turners community consists of thirty Barrett students and thirty second and third grade students from ASU's greater community who actively embrace our mission to cultivate their own intellectual growth in a safe and productive manner. We look for every opportunity to encourage academic development, hold ourselves accountable, and realize our potential through the work we are doing, regardless if you are the student or the teacher. We have learned that these roles regularly reverse themselves, as there is much to learn from an inquisitive child's mind.
Due to what is known as the “biologically desert fallacy” and the pervasive westernized ideal of wilderness that has influenced widespread American Conservation culture for millennia, urban areas have long been deemed as areas devoid of biodiversity. However, cities can contribute significantly to regional biodiversity and provide vital niches for wildlife, illuminating the growing awareness that cities are crucial to the future of conservation and combating the global biodiversity crisis. In terms of the biodiversity crisis, bats are a relevant species of concern. In many studies, different bat species have been broadly classified according to their ability to adapt to urban environments. There is evidence that urban areas can filter bat species based on traits and behavior, with many bats possessing traits that do not allow them to live in cities. The three broad categories are urban avoiders, urban adapters, or urban exploiters based upon where their abundance is highest along a gradient of urban intensity. A common example of an urban exploiter bat is a Mexican Free-tailed bat, which can thrive and rely on urban environments and it is found in the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Bats are important as even in urban environments they play vital ecological roles such as cactus pollination, insect management, and seed dispersal. Bat Crazy is a thesis project focused on urban enhancement and the field of urban biodiversity. The goals of this thesis are to observe how bio-conscious urban cities that work to promote species conservation can serve as a positive tool to promote biodiversity and foster community education and engagement for their urban environment.
The incidence of childhood obesity has become increasingly prevalent in the United States in recent years. The development of obesity at any age, but especially in adolescence, can have lasting negative effects in the form of cardiometabolic disease, increased incurred healthcare costs, and potential negative effects on quality of life. In recent years, a rising trend of obesity, in both adults and adolescents, has been observed in lower income and ethnic groups. Increased adiposity can be influenced by modifiable factors -(physical activity, caloric intake, or sleep) or by non-modifiable factors (ethnicity, genetic predispositions, and socioeconomic status). The influence of these factors can be observed in individuals of all ages, including infants. A common indicator of the development of childhood obesity is rapid weight gain (RWG) within an infant’s first year of life. The composition of the gut microbiome can act as a predictor for RWG and the development of childhood obesity. Infants are exposed to an immense microbial load when they are born and their gut microbiome is continually diversified through their method of feeding and the subsequent introduction to solid foods. While currently understudied, it is understood that cultural and socioeconomic factors influence the development of the gut microbiome, which is further explored in this analysis. The DNA from 51 fecal samples from infants ranging from 3 weeks to 12 months in age was extracted and sequenced using next-generation sequencing, and the resulting sequences were analyzed using QIIME 2. Results from alpha-diversity and beta-diversity metrics showed significant differences in the gut microbiome of infants when comparing groups based on baby race/ethnicity, household income, and mom’s education. These findings suggest the importance of sociodemographic characteristics in shaping the gut microbiome and suggest the importance of future studies including diverse populations in gut microbiome work.