Studying a zebrafish might be the key to increasing students’ science knowledge and attitudes toward science education–at least, that’s what a five-year evaluation of 20,000 K-12 students indicates.

Students taking part in the Project BioEYES program were tested before and after the one-week program and demonstrated significant positive gains in learning in the post-test. Of eight knowledge questions, elementary students demonstrated significant positive gains on seven. Middle school students demonstrated significant positive gains on 8 of 9 knowledge questions.

The program uses live zebrafish to teach students about basic scientific principles, animal development and genetics. The zebrafish embryo is clear, making it ideal for observations.
As of spring 2016, 100,000 students and 1,400 teachers in six states and two countries have participated in the week-long program.

During the week-long BioEYES experiment, students take on the role of scientists in a student-centered approach, a key strategy that has been shown to increase learning, researchers noted.

(Next page: How the experiment changed students’ views on science)

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