RIP - Empowered Classrooms Pursue Effective K-12 Education Strategies

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Schools not only gain student and teacher critical thinkers when the Research Investigation Process (RIP ®) is introduced, but they also gain an inquiry methodology for investigating the impact of the instructional tools they use to promote learning. Based on findings from their own research investigations, teachers are making decisions about what to use and not use in the K-12 classroom.

K-12 students are not the only ones who benefit from using the Research Investigation Process (RIP ®) scientific inquiry / critical thinking model in the classroom. Their teachers also learn by using this approach to gather data and make evidence-based decisions about tools for curriculum, instruction, and assessment that they adopt to enhance student learning and performance.

ANOVA Science Education Corporation (ANOVA Science; http://www.ScientificInquiry.com; http://www.anovascience.com) is exploring the various ways that teachers are using the Research Investigation Process ( RIP ®) scientific inquiry / critical thinking model in schools. "We were surprised to learn that many K-12 teachers are using RIP inquiry to become informed practitioners of instruction through investigations that they and/or their students are conducting," said RIP developer and neuroscientist Dr. Robert Landsman, also the president of ANOVA Science.

And all of their classrooms have one thing in common. Teachers and even their students want to determine whether an instructional strategy or program really works to support quality learning.

For example, the entire sixth grade class at Mesa View Middle School in Farmington, New Mexico used the RIP to see if one instructional strategy that relies on the premise that physical activity (body orientation, movement, and exercise) can enhance learning was effective. Student performance on a reading comprehension assessment task was measured under three conditions: students who had previously engaged in physical activity, a mental task, or a period of relaxation. Statistical analysis of the data indicated that there was no difference in performance among the three groups of students.

These students learned the RIP and applied this critical thinking tool to actually find out the answer to their research question. According to teacher Donna Chrisman, "Our students wanted to know if programs that emphasize engaging in physical activity to increase cognitive performance really work. Using RIP scientific inquiry as an assessment tool for evaluating the techniques that I use in my teaching has provided me a way to make informed decisions to determine what are effective teaching strategies. While examining the background information available on the impact of physical activity-based instructional strategies, I learned that there is not much scientific support for the efficacy of such strategies in the classroom."

Third grade teacher Maki Kobori from Hokulani Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii, involved her students to help her determine whether the "Mozart Effect" (playing a certain musical piece by Mozart, Sonata in D Major, to increase learning) would enhance performance on a multiplication test. Her investigation found that neither the Sonata nor another Mozart piece resulted in better test scores than when students heard no music at all. "The RIP gives me a tool to test ideas regarding the pedagogy that I would like to introduce into my classroom. By looking at the data from the research investigation that I conducted with my students, I was able to make a data-based decision on whether to use music to enhance their performance on test taking," stated Ms. Kobori. "In the future, I hope to guide my students in their own inquiry to discover how they best learn. In other words, they will assist me in shaping instructional strategies that most benefit them."

Crystal Doi, another Honolulu third Grade teacher, coached her Queen Liliuokalani Elementary School students as they engaged in a research investigation designed to test whether studying words for a spelling test before sleeping at night would lead to higher spelling test scores than studying the words after waking up in the morning. "The impact of sleep on learning and cognitive performance has been a controversial area of research," noted Dr. Landsman. Based on their data analysis, Ms. Doi's students found no difference in pre-test and post-test spelling scores for the students that study in the mornings. However, there was a statistical increase in spelling performance for those students who studied before sleeping. According to Dr. Landsman, "This student and teacher investigation yielded results consistent with a number of recent scientific studies that suggest evidence for some form of memory processing during sleep."

"In addition to enabling me to assess teaching strategies, by doing this RIP with my students, we also learned that when there is interest, involvement, and the results are relevant to the students' lives. There is more depth in their understanding and more application of learning," said Ms. Doi.

Teacher Jami Muranaka of Kaimuki High School in Hawaii studied the impact of reading strategies promoted in one of the popular instructional programs that target college-bound students. Her ninth and tenth graders used paraphrasing, repetition, illustration, and a combination of these three strategies to see which would work the best for learning the material. According to Ms. Muranaka, "The big thing now is to use data to inform instruction. We are told to use certain strategies without knowing if they really work. If you are using strategies that aren't effective, there is no reason to use them. We need to see how effective they really are. This was a good way to quantitatively measure effectiveness of certain teaching strategies and to make informed decisions, she added. I wish more teachers would do this type of assessment of their own strategies."

"In this age where accountability and transparency are stressed, it is a very exciting prospect that teachers are using the process of scientific inquiry to generate their own data from which they can make their own informed decisions about teaching and learning," concluded Dr. Landsman. "More important than the findings of these investigations is the fact that teachers are using the RIP to assess their own decisions. They are becoming critical consumers of the information used as evidence to support practices in education."

RIP is a trademark or registered trademark and service mark or registered service mark, of ANOVA Science Education Corporation, ANOVA Science Publishing, and Dr. Robert Landsman in the U.S. and/or other countries. ANOVA Science Education Corporation assists schools in implementing scientific research-based science education programs, providing students with critical thinking and decision-making tools for life-long learning skills that support economic growth and the maintenance of security in the USA. As sole distributor of products and services associated with the Research Investigation Process (RIP ®) inquiry-based science education program for K-12 schools, the contribution of ANOVA Science's vision toward the nation's movement for science education reform has been recognized and is well received by national and state education organizations. ANOVA Science's activities and services include professional development workshops, seminars and projects; teacher coaching and mentoring; curriculum development addressing state and national standards; and publishing education materials available online at http://www.anovascience.com or http://www.ScientificInquiry.com.

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