- Capen, Barbara M.
University of Maine Graduate School
Field and classroom methods for teaching ecology were compared by dividing a class of 93 prospective elementary teachers and presenting half with three ecology lessons at selected field sites. The other half of the class received the ecology lesson in the classroom. Testing of knowledge of basic ecological principles and attitude towards environment before and after the learning experience revealed that the field method was more effective (p<0.05) for teaching basic concepts of the ecosystem; the classroom method was more effective for the lesson on succession; and both methods were equally effective for teaching biogeochemical cycles. Favorable attitudes towards the environment improved slightly in field groups after the ecology lessons but not in classroom groups. Discriminant analysis, using eight characteristics of the student teachers, revealed that there was a significant difference (p<0.05) among students grouped on the basis of score chances on the basic ecology questionnaire.