American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/education Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2015, 3(9), 1193-1207
DOI: 10.12691/education-3-9-21
Open AccessCase Study

Effects of Animals in Post-Secondary Science Classrooms on Academic Achievement, Academic Retention, and Intrinsic Motivation

Casey Krull1, Josie Suchomel1, and Michael Bechtel1

1Wartburg College

Pub. Date: September 14, 2015

Cite this paper:
Casey Krull, Josie Suchomel and Michael Bechtel. Effects of Animals in Post-Secondary Science Classrooms on Academic Achievement, Academic Retention, and Intrinsic Motivation. American Journal of Educational Research. 2015; 3(9):1193-1207. doi: 10.12691/education-3-9-21

Abstract

This study investigates biophilia, the love of life, and how to incorporate this concept, originally recognized by E.O. Wilson, into schools [9] Studies have shown animals can increase student interest, motivation, attitude, academic achievement, and academic retention. However, resistance to animals in classrooms has emerged because of safety concerns. After consulting past research, the prediction is made that after attending lessons taught using the 5E Learning Cycle, students in a class with animals will have higher academic achievement, academic retention, and intrinsic motivation. Students were taught using a 5E lesson design for two nonconsecutive lab experiences. During the two-pronged study, students were differentiated into each one of the following groups at one point throughout the study: 1) content covering evolution using living herpetofauna, versus images, and 2) the Theory of Natural Selection using the classroom’s terrariums and enclosures as models, versus images. After the study, a paired t-test was run and found no significant difference in the academic achievement and academic retention for student taught with animals versus those that were not. There was however, a difference in intrinsic motivation, which turned the focus into what the change in motivation means for future research. This study was one step in a much larger academic reform involving how students learn, and continued research is needed in order to ensure significance with biophilia in the classroom.

Keywords:
biophilia science classroom E.O. Wilson student motivation

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