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Hammerhead Shark Research Immersion Program: Experiential Learning Leads to Lasting Educational Benefits


Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 15, Number 1, ISSN 1059-0145


High school students (n = 45) participated in a 5-day research immersion study on juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. Self-surveys were used to evaluate scientific concepts and skills taught during the program. There was a significant shift in students' perceived level of understanding for all categories of concepts and skills. A month following the immersion, a subset of participants (n = 9) was given the opportunity to communicate what they had learned to a small group of professional science teachers. A second set of surveys were used to evaluate whether the students had retained knowledge from the 5-day immersion well enough to communicate information to others. During this follow-up, students were able to recall knowledge and demonstrate skills even without a review session. Students reported that they had a good understanding of what they were teaching and were able to teach effectively 79% of the time. Independently, the teachers also rated the students' effectiveness at 79%. The similarity between the teacher and student responses is evidence that the high school students were capable of accurate self-evaluations, validating the positive shift in concepts and skills documented by self-surveys. The lasting impact of the 5-day immersion provides support for experiential and constructivist teaching.


Handler, A. & Duncan, K. (2006). Hammerhead Shark Research Immersion Program: Experiential Learning Leads to Lasting Educational Benefits. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 15(1), 9-16. Retrieved June 25, 2022 from .

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