Spring 2018

Document Type

Master's Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Teacher Education


Since 2013 the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been implemented in order to increase the scientific literacy of students (NGSS Leads, 2013). In order to bring the NGSS curriculum into the 21st century, technology should be incorporated along with the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) to allow students to understand and explain phenomena (Gouvea, & Passmore, 2017; Harris, Sithole, & Kibirige, 2017). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of integrating computer simulations in the NGSS science and engineering practice of developing and using models. This study used quantitative nonequivalent groups pretest - posttest quasi-experimental design. Both the control group and treatment group took an eight question pretest. The treatment group received computer simulations to understand an overall phenomena, while the control group received traditional learning methods (e.g., notes or lectures). At the end of the three week study, both groups took the same eight question posttest with the order randomized. After analysis of the data using independent and paired t-tests, both groups had statistically increased their understanding of scientific content. However, there was no statistically significant difference between the control and treatment group. This study shows that computer simulations may not impact student understanding more; however, it does suggest that computer simulations can be just as effective as more traditional teaching methods. Future studies should measure engagement or perception to see if students would enjoy the content more with computer simulations.