Motivational Patterns Observed in Sixth-Grade Science Classrooms

Okhee Lee, Jere Brophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on theories of student motivation to learn and conceptual change learning in science, this article describes five patterns of student motivation observed in sixth-grade science classrooms: (a) intrinsically motivated to learn science; (b) motivated to learn science; (c) intrinsically motivated but inconsistent; (d) unmotivated and task avoidant; and (e) negatively motivated and task resistant. These motivational patterns were related in theoretically predictable ways with the learning strategies and other behaviors that the students exhibited in the classrooms. The study highlights the value of distinguishing motivation to learn from intrinsic motivation, and of distinguishing general motivational traits from situation-specific motivational states. The study also highlights the importance of considering subject-matter content in classroom motivation. Implications for motivation research and classroom practices are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-318
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in Science Teaching
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Motivational Patterns Observed in Sixth-Grade Science Classrooms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this