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Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 331–345 | Cite as

How Should Students Learn in the School Science Laboratory? The Benefits of Cooperative Learning

  • Ayala RavivEmail author
  • Sarit Cohen
  • Ester Aflalo
Article

Abstract

Despite the inherent potential of cooperative learning, there has been very little research into its effectiveness in middle school laboratory classes. This study focuses on an empirical comparison between cooperative learning and individual learning in the school science laboratory, evaluating the quality of learning and the students’ attitudes. The research included 67 seventh-grade students who undertook four laboratory experiments on the subject of “volume measuring skills.” Each student engaged both in individual and cooperative learning in the laboratory, and the students wrote individual or group reports, accordingly. A total of 133 experiment reports were evaluated, 108 of which also underwent textual analysis. The findings show that the group reports were superior, both in terms of understanding the concept of “volume” and in terms of acquiring skills for measuring volume. The students’ attitudes results were statistically significant and demonstrated that they preferred cooperative learning in the laboratory. These findings demonstrate that science teachers should be encouraged to implement cooperative learning in the laboratory. This will enable them to improve the quality and efficiency of laboratory learning while using a smaller number of experimental kits. Saving these expenditures, together with the possibility to teach a larger number of students simultaneously in the laboratory, will enable greater exposure to learning in the school science laboratory.

Keyword

Cooperative learning Individual learning School science laboratory Students’ attitudes 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hemdat Hadarom CollegePOB 412, Azata Educational CampusNetivotIsrael

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