Acquisition and transference of physics-based conceptual knowledge : an analysis of fourth-grade student's ability


Distressingly, at the end of the 2008-2009 school year, 53% of fifth-grade students scored the equivalence of a D or lower on Florida's standardized science assessment (NCLB School District and State Public Accountability Report, 2009). One possible way to adapt methods of science education that is becoming more popular is through the use of computer games, as numerous studies have shown positive correlations between the use of computer games and increased learning gains in science.

This thesis not only discusses previous researc concerning computer games as tools for science education but it also provides a description and the results of an original study. The purpose of the study found within this thesis was to examine how effectively 40 fourth-grade students could acquire knowledge from a text-free, physics-inspired computer game and then subsequently transfer any acquired knowledge to a text-containing, paper-and-pencil assessment without any scaffolding. Through the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative research data, this study revealed that students' assessment scores increased from pretest to posttest by an average of 12% for all students and by an average of 22.43% for the students who scored in the lowest one-third.

Concerning only the assessment questions that were completely text-based, students' scores increased by an average of 14.6% for all students and by an average of 32.73% for the students who scored in the lowest one-third. Thus, in the researcher's opinion, there was enough transference to justify the use of the wordless, physics-based computer game as an effective and engaging educational tool among the 40 fourth-grade students who participated in this study: especially among those students who struggled with science.


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Thesis Completion





Andreasen, Janet B.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Education

Degree Program

Elementary Education


Dissertations, Academic -- Education;Education -- Dissertations, Academic







Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus-only Access


Document Type

Honors in the Major Thesis

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