Keyword: informal education

5 results found.

Research Article
Adding Relevancy to STEM Interest Through Adventure Education: A Mixed Methods Study
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(4), e2294,
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this mixed methods concurrent triangulation study was to assess the vocational relevancy of adventure STEM for sixth grade students attending the Science Adventure School (SAS), a residential, informal education program focused on delivering adventure STEM education to low-income, rural students. Specifically, this study sought to research any changes in STEM attitudes, including science interest (Eccles, 2007; Gilmartin et al., 2007) and science career interest (Sadler et al., 2011) as a result of participating in SAS. In the quantitative phase of the study, curriculum relevancy and STEM attitudes were assessed with a pre- and post- adventure STEM experience survey. The qualitative portion of the study consisted of semi-structured in-person interviews with 14 students and eight teachers shortly after their SAS experience to gain additional insights into the results of the statistical analysis and identify how students and teachers see the relevancy of adventure STEM curriculum. This study’s findings add to the body of adventure STEM literature and lends support to the positive benefits of engaging youth in adventure STEM programming.
Research Article
Conversations About Evolution During Family Visits to an Exhibition About Darwin in a Mexican Museum: An Analysis of Scientific Reasoning
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2022, 18(2), e2267,
ABSTRACT: Studies investigating the conversations held in museum settings have proved important for understanding the learning experiences of their visitors. The aim of this mixed-methods study is to analyze the experiences of families on visits to an exhibition on Charles Darwin at Museu Trompo Mágico (Guadalajara, Mexico), particularly their conversations about evolution and what types of scientific reasoning they employed. Ten family groups with a total of 42 visitors participated in the study. The visits were recorded and the audiovisual material loaded into the Dedoose 8.0.23 software, for analysis of the conversations using a protocol which includes three types of reasoning: (i) evolutionary – rudimentary (not in-depth) Darwinian scientific thinking; (ii) intuitive – everyday common-sense explanations; and (iii) mixed – drawing on evolutionary and intuitive reasoning. The results indicate that the exhibition sparked the families’ interest and curiosity: in 24% of the total visit time, they held conversations about evolution-related topics and themes. At that time, the most used reasoning was intuitive reasoning, code applied 124 times, followed by evolutionary reasoning (118 times) and mixed reasoning (120 times). Our results provide evidence that the exhibition brought families closer to scientific knowledge about evolution, prompting conversations about evolutionary terms and topics, in the three types of scientific reasoning investigated. As implications, this study demonstrates that understanding what family members talk about and deciphering how they apply reasoning patterns can help in the definition and structuring of exhibition learning, assist in the reasoning transition process and in the assimilation of concepts that are the basis for understanding evolutionary processes.
Research Article
Student Mental Models of the Longleaf Pine Ecosystem
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(4), e2254,
ABSTRACT: There is a nationwide focus in science education in the United States on the ability of students to develop and use models. Using the Contextual Model of Learning that considers learning is inseparably bound to the context in which it occurs, this study looks at drawings of the longleaf pine ecosystem created by 293 4th Grade students prior to and again after their multiple day visits to an environmental education center in the southeastern United States. Using flora and fauna processes considered as indicative of the ecosystem by ecologists, seven distinct mental model categories were developed from student artifacts. Comparison of the pre to post-frequencies in each model demonstrate a statistically significant increasing level of sophistication in the mental models to more closely approximate the conceptual models of ecologists after participation in instruction at the Center. Progression to more sophisticated mental models was documented even when addressing these models and their development was not a direct intent of the instruction. These data also support the importance that context can play in the learning of ecological concepts and the significance of including informal experiences to the formal K-12 curriculum.
Research Article
Measuring Intrinsic Traits of Children at Zoos
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(4), e2246,
ABSTRACT: Zoos are in a unique position to affect the development of youth in ways that are consistent with cultivating pro-environmental behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine three intrinsic traits of youth important to the goals of conservation education: prior knowledge about animals, interest in animals, and value for animals. The framework of this study is the conceptual model of learning that posits that any changes that occur during a single visit to an informal learning institution (such as a zoo) will be affected and informed by the intrinsic traits of the individual and various external factors. This study explored three intrinsic traits predicted to be important for informal learning. The research design followed a constructivist design meant to capture measurements of prior knowledge, interest, and value from the participants’ own perspectives. This study describes these three traits in a sample of 37 youth between the ages of 7 and 14, largely zoo members, attending the zoo with their parents. In particular, I describe unique methods of measuring these three traits including a drawing activity meant to assess the children’s construction of knowledge about animals, and questionnaires meant to assess the youth’s interest and value. The data analysis in this paper provides descriptions of the three traits as they are constructed among the youth participants in order to inform future correlations between intrinsic traits and in-zoo behavior. The results of the study indicated that youth organize their knowledge about animals around ecological and morphological concepts and that this forms the basis for their interest in and value for animals.
Research Article
Becoming WISE about the Environment: A Novel Approach to an Overnight Summer Science Camp for Young Females
Interdisciplinary Journal of Environmental and Science Education, 2021, 17(2), e2233,
ABSTRACT: In order to encourage female students to pursue science as a career, an overnight science camp known as the Women in Science Experience (WISE) was developed and implemented at Mount St. Joseph University. The camp was developed for girls who were 14-17 years of age as a residential experience to simulate life on a university campus. This manuscript describes the implementation of the camp, including development of content and organization of the camp schedule.  The camp was evaluated by student participants using a survey that contained Likert-style and open response questions, with students reporting overall satisfaction with the camp. The manuscript discusses the student responses to the survey and describes the lessons learned from the entire process of developing and running WISE.