Impact of Implementing STEM PBL Approach on Elementary Students’ Science Academic Achievement in Sharjah
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Nowadays, STEM education is trendy due to high demand for its professions: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. As the future is in need of improving students with a variety of required skills, many countries are improving their educational systems to meet such high demand. Project Based Learning (PBL), in the STEM education is considered as one of the best practices where the United Arab Emirates is paying a great deal of attention in order to improve the educational system. The current study was carried out in order to investigate the impact of implementing STEM PBL approach on elementary students’ academic achievement in science classes in the UAE. In this study, the participants were from a school in Sharjah that adopts the American curriculum. This study followed the explanatory sequential mixed method approach with focus on quantitative approach. Pretest posttest quasi-experimental design were used to collect quantitative data were one hundred and twelve grade five boys were divided in to control group (57 students) and experimental group (55 students). The experimental group students were taught using STEM PBL approach for five weeks while the control group learned the same topic with Non-STEM PBL approaches. Data were collected using the energy transformation test (ETT) that was developed by the researcher as a pretest and posttest for both groups. Data collected from the test was analyzed using SPSS statistical package. Qualitative data was collected using semi-structured interviews that was carried out with many students from the experimental group after finishing the experiment in order to gain stronger and deeper interpretations that support the findings of the quasi-experiment. After analyzing the data, the results showed that STEM PBL approach has a positive impact on the academic achievement of elementary students in science where the scores mean in the posttest for the control and experimental groups were 6.07 and 7.38 respectively. The independent T-test results between the posttest scores for the experimental and control group was for t (110) = 4.142 with a P = 0.000 ˂ 0.05 which indicate a statistically significant difference between both groups which means that STEM PBL approach enhanced the students’ achievement in science. Moreover, the qualitative results indicated that STEM PBL approach had a positive effect on the students ' motivation, achievement and developing their 21st century skills. In addition, it is found that STEM PBL have an impact on increasing the interest of learners in future, STEM careers. Thus, to provide data that are more reliable it is advised to carry out this study with larger number of students from different schools that follows different curriculums from different levels. Moreover, the current study did not focus on the challenges that may face the implementation of STEM PBL approach, so it is recommended to carry out a research to study these challenges in addition to the role of admins in the implementation of STEM PBL.
STEM education, project-based learning, United Arab Emirates (UAE)