Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Science Education

First Advisor

Dr. William Coburn

Second Advisor

Dr. David Rudge

Third Advisor

Dr. Renee Schwartz

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


In my nine years of teaching experience I have seen students struggle with understanding DNA, RNA, replication, transcription and translation. I wanted to know if students used the same model that I designed throughout a unit that covers the concepts of DNA and the processes if they would gain a better understanding. To test this idea I created a manipulative of puzzle pieces along with inquiry type lessons that includes DNA and RNA nucleotides, tRNA, a ribosome, amino acids, nitrogen bases for the tRNA and peptide bonds. Two teachers were involved and each taught a control group and an experimental group. The experimental group learned by using the new model with its accompanying lessons along with other assignments while the control group learned by lectures, a couple of different models and other assignments. The students took a pre-test before the unit and the same test as a post-test after the unit. The gain score was determined and studied using ANOVA techniques.

After comparing the gain scores for the two groups there was no significant difference between them although the experimental groups did have a slightly higher gain score. This would imply that there is a slight benefit and that with more research and adjustments to the model there may be more benefit that would be significantly different.

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