Development of an Inquiry-based Learning Unit for Enhancing High-school Students’ Understanding of Animal Social Behavior

By Chanon Kowasupat, Piyachat Jittam, Namkang Sriwattanarothai, Pintip Ruenwongsa and Bhinyo Panijpan.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Animal social behavior, an essential part of biology, involves the process and mechanism of how animals live in groups. Because it is a topic usually taught by the traditional method in a very abstract way, students end up having an inadequate understanding and even some misconceptions of it. This study, thus, aimed to develop a learning unit, based on the 5E learning model, to enhance high-school students’ understanding of some aspects of animal social behavior by using the Siamese fighting fish as a concrete example. Students were engaged by video clips on animal behavior together with other learning materials. They designed their own experiments, which involved observing fish behavior in tanks and constructed their own knowledge from data gathered and discussion in class. The experimental group was given the 5E learning unit, whereas the control group was taught traditionally, both with the same objectives. Student achievements were assessed by pre- and post- tests and their documents. Students participating in the 5E learning unit gained better conceptual understanding of animal social behavior as well as acquired science process skills. They had acquired positive attitudes toward the learning unit as evidenced by their reflections and semi-structured interviews.

Keywords: Animal Social Behavior, Fighting Fish, High School Student, Inquiry-based Learning, 5E Learning Cycle

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp.167-190. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 902.398KB).

Chanon Kowasupat

Ph.D. Student, Institute for Innovative Learning, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Buddhamonthon, Thailand

Mr. Chanon Kowasupat is a Ph.D. candidate in Science and Technology Education at the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University. He was supported by the Office of Higher Education Commission (National University Research Grant allocated to Mahidol University) to do research work on a biology learning unit on diverse social behavior of fighting fish in Thailand.

Piyachat Jittam

Lecturer, Institute for Innovative Learning, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Nakhonpathom, Thailand

Piyachat Jittam holds a M.Sc. in Biochemisty and a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Education. She is a Program Director of the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Namkang Sriwattanarothai

Lecturer, Mahidol University, Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Namkang Sriwattanarothai is a lecturer at the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University, Thailand. Her research discipline is Life Science Education, specifically, in the topics of Behavior, Biodiversity, Evolution and Molecular Biology.

Pintip Ruenwongsa

Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

Associate Professor Pintip Ruenwongsa is a past Program Director of Science and Technology Education (2004–2010) at the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University. She is currently affiliated with the Multidisciplinary Unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Thailand.

Bhinyo Panijpan

Mahidol University, Thailand

Associate Professor Bhinyo Panijpan is the founding and former Director of the Institute for Innovative Learning, Mahidol University. At present he works at the Multidisciplinary Unit, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University. He also the senior consultant to the Faculty of Science and The Institute for Innovative Learning of Mahidol University, Thailand.

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