Realistic Explorations in Astronomical Learning (REAL)

  • Jennifer Wilhelm
  • Ronald Wilhelm
  • Merryn Cole


Since the initial launch of REAL, we have implemented and researched its effectiveness with dozens of studies in over 20 middle schools in two states. We conducted professional development with 70 middle level science and/or mathematics teachers reaching more than 8000 students. These studies not only researched how students learned in a project-based instruction (PBI) environment but also compared gender differences in Earth/Space understandings. Control groups were also incorporated into our research design, and we examined differences in students’ learning by comparing the effects of business as usual (BAU) Earth/Space instruction with our PBI REAL unit. More recently we studied, at length, differences in teacher implementation (concerning the fidelity with which the curriculum was taught) and its effect on student learning outcomes (Lamar, Wilhelm, & Cole, 2018). One study examined how different gender groups and racial/ethnic groups performed on lunar content and spatial assessments within BAU and REAL classrooms (Wilhelm, Toland, & Cole, 2017).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Wilhelm
    • 1
  • Ronald Wilhelm
    • 2
  • Merryn Cole
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of STEM EducationUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physics & AstronomyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Teaching and LearningUniversity of Nevada Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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