It is important for students to experience STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities for our country to be able to increase their scientific research capacity and economic progress. The aim of this research was to determine the effect of problem based STEM activities aided by concept cartoons on academic success and conceptual comprehension levels of fifth grade middle school students. In the research, the single group pre-test and post-test experimental design was used. The participitants the research was consisted of 17 fifth grade students who were receiving education at a state school in the Akhisar district of the city of Manisa in the fall semester of the 2017-2018 academic year. The data of the research were collected with the academic success test and conceptual comprehension test developed by the researchers. In the analysis of data, non-parametric tests were used. The study was carried out in a total of 20 hours for 10 weeks in the science applications lesson which was given for two lesson hours per week. It was determined that the performed activities resulted in a statistically significant increase in the academic success and conceptual comprehension levels of the participating students. In addition, it was found that the effect of problem based STEM activities aided by concept cartoons conceptual comprehension is more positive compared to its effect on academic success. No statistically significant difference was detected between the female and male students’ academic success and conceptual comprehension levels after the practical activities. In the light of the obtained results, recommendations were made about the effective use of problem based learning in the STEM activities.
Concept cartoon assisted problem based learning, STEM activities, measuring force and friction, engineering design process