Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies


College of Education

First Advisor

Christopher Bogiages


The present dissertation in practice (DiP) proposal delineates an action research study designed to evaluate the use of problem-based learning (PBL) in an eighth-grade earth science class to assess the impact of PBL on student achievement. I have observed that students often struggle with developing an understanding of how the motions of the sun, earth, and moon (SEM) cause observed phenomenon on the earth. In addition, I have observed the unintentional marginalization of cisgender female students within the science classroom. The identification of the problem of practice (PoP) led to the development of the following two research questions: How does PBL impact the conceptual understanding of students in an earth science class? What are the perceptions of the teacher-researcher while conducting a series of PBL scenarios and attempting to create a more equitable eighth-grade earth science classroom? The study used an actionresearch methodology and followed the four-step cycle of planning, acting, developing, and reflecting. During the planning phase, I developed a problem of practice, conducted a literature review, and developed a research plan. The acting phase involved the collection and analysis of data. The developing phase involved the implementation of an action plan using the collected data. The reflecting phase involved a systematic reflection of the study and the communication of results. The findings of the study show that PBL was somewhat effective in bringing conceptual change in this study. In addition, the actions of the PBL tutor can create a more equitable science classroom, PBL may reduce confusion in science class, and risk-taking is an important aspect of the PBL process.