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Reading Nonfiction Science Literature with and without Arts Integration Activities
Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions
  • Elizabeth McCartney, Jefferson Elementary, Davenport Community School District, Davenport, Iowa
  • Catherine Mochal, Mary Welsh Elementary in Williamsburg, Iowa
  • Victoria Boyd, Waterloo Community School District, Waterloo, Iowa
  • Audrey C. Rule, University of Northern Iowa
  • Sarah E. Montgomery, University of Northern Iowa
This study explores the integration of the arts into the teaching of science nonfiction texts during literacy instruction. Sixty-one elementary students (15 second graders, 25 third graders, and 21 fifth graders) attending schools of differing socio-economic levels participated in this study. The study examined the effects of artsintegration on student content knowledge, engagement level, and attitudes toward learning regarding science nonfiction texts. Throughout the eight-week study, students experienced both the traditional no-arts control condition and the experimental arts-integration condition in two-week segments for different science topics. Both conditions employed literacy strategies to teach comprehension of science nonfiction texts. The resulting pretests, posttests, and distal posttests, attitude surveys, and teacher observations indicated that students learned and retained content knowledge taught through both ways of teaching. The fifth-grade students evidenced greater learning during the experimental condition with very large effect sizes. Students’ overall attitudes and engagement were better when the arts were incorporated into daily instruction. The excitement for learning and academic abilities of the participants throughout the study supports the idea that different ways of creative teaching positively impact the way students learn in the classroom.
Citation Information

McCartney, E., Mochal, C., Boyd, V., Rule, A. C., & Montgomery, S. E. (2017). Reading nonfiction science literature with and without arts integration. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions, 2(2), 74-99.