Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Henson, Harvey

Second Advisor

Fadde, Peter


This study compared the learning effectiveness of two inquiry-based strategies for implementing computer simulation-based instruction for teaching science concepts: POE (Predict, Observe, and Explain) and 5E (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate). Participants in this study, who were pre-service teachers in science education classes, successfully completed worksheets and tests that indicated they both learned key concepts related to density as well as how to use measures of weight and volume to calculate density. Further, participants expressed appreciation of the density simulation’s ease of use and consistency of measurements. In terms of findings and implications, pre and post knowledge tests and worksheets showed no significant differences between using POE and 5E to guide use of a computer-based density simulation. This suggests that either one of these proven and accepted inquiry methods effectively enhance simulation-based learning. The choice of either one can depend on the preferences of the instructor. The POE group completed worksheets faster (38 min.) than the 5E group (41 min). No differences for the knowledge gained, problem-solving skill, and attitudes towards the simulation were shown between POE and 5E. The underlying assumption is that if pre-service teachers have a successful learning experience using science simulations in conjunction with systematic inquiry methods, then they will see the potential and value of using specific inquiry-based teaching strategies when used with computer simulation to teach science topics. This study affirmed the benefits of computer simulations and adds to the body of knowledge on the use of computer simulation plus inquiry-based teaching strategies, such as POE and 5E, to teach science. Students could learn about density concepts with either inquiry-based strategy along with computer simulation combinations, and these inquiry+simulation teaching strategy combinations should also allow science teachers and their students, to have a more positive attitude while learning science with computer simulations.




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