Bricker, L. A., & Bell, P. (2014). “What comes to mind when you think of science? The perfumery!”: Documenting science-related cultural learning pathways across contexts and timescales. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 260–285. doi:10.1002/tea.21134
Current science education reforms emphasize the ways in which students’ scientific practices, such as experimenting, collecting data, and interpreting results, develop over time. Bricker and Bell suggest that practices develop not only over time, but also across multiple settings and opportunities. Their study shows how, over several years, one youth’s identification with science was shaped by many everyday moments, social configurations, and collaborators.
Maltese, A., Melki, C., & Weibke, H. (2014). The nature of experiences responsible for the generation and maintenance of interest in STEM. Science Education, 98(6), 937–962. doi:10.1002/sce.21132
Researchers Maltese, Melki, and Wiebke investigated when lasting interest in STEM is sparked and how it is maintained by comparing the remembrances of adults who did and did not persist in STEM. Both groups said that they became interested in STEM early, usually by Grade 6. Those who persisted in STEM were more likely than those who did not to say that they had always been interested in STEM. Parents and teachers were early influences for those who stayed in STEM fields.
Van Schijndel, T. J. P., Franse, R. K., & Raijmakers, M. E. J. (2010). The Exploratory Behavior Scale: Assessing young visitors’ hands-on behavior in science museums. Science Education, 94, 794–809.
The authors of this paper were interested in knowing how parents can support exploratory behaviors of their preschool-aged children at museum exhibits. They developed a quantitative instrument based on psychological literature on exploration and play in order to describe and quantify young children's increasing levels of exploration of their environment. They then tested the measurement tool with parents and their preschool-aged children to investigate what types of adult coaching would achieve high-level exploratory behavior at various exhibits.
Blikstein, P. (2013). Digital fabrication and “making” in education: The democratization of invention. In J. Walter-Herrmann & C. Büching (Eds.), FabLabs: Of machines, makers and inventors (pp. 1–21). Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript Publishers.
The field of informal science education has embraced “making” and design activities as a powerful approach to engaging learners. This chapter by Blikstein finds that in order to create disruptive spaces where students can learn STEM, design and build inventive projects, educators . This paper provides theoretical background and concrete cases that illuminate program design and implementation issues related to making.
Alexander, J. M., Johnson, K. E., & Kelley, K. (2012). Longitudinal analysis of the relations between opportunities to learn about science and the development of interests related to science. Science Education, 96(5), 763–786. doi:10.1002/sce.21018
This study considers the relationship between preschoolers’ early exposure to informal science experiences and their interest in science, with particular attention paid to gender differences. A longitudinal study of children ages 4 to 7 found that early science interest was a strong predictor of later parent-provided opportunities to engage in science learning.
Briseño-Garzón, A. (2013). More than science: Family learning in a Mexican science museum. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 8(2), 307–327. doi:10.1007/s11422-012-9477-0
Briseño-Garzón analyzed interviews with 20 families after they visited Universum Museo de las Ciencias. She concluded that the benefits of visiting a science museum are “much more than science,” including spending quality time together as a family, interacting with others, learning about local culture and history, learning from each other, and, of course, learning science.
Szechter, L. E., & Carey, E. J. (2009). Gravitating toward science: Parent-child interactions at a gravitational-wave observatory. Science Education, 93(5), 846–858.
This study looks at how characteristics of parent-child dyads, in combination with exhibit qualities, contribute to their interactions in a science center. Parent schooling, parent and child attitudes toward science, and the type of activity supported at the exhibits play a role in how they interact together. For ISE professionals, this study shows that parents exert a great deal of influence over what and how their children feel and learn about science.
McClain, L. R., & Zimmerman, H. T. (2014). Prior experiences shaping family science conversations at a nature center. Science Education, 98(6), 1009–1032. doi:10.1002/sce.21134
To support learning across settings, educators need to develop ways to elicit student interests and prior experiences. McClain and Zimmerman describe how, during outdoor walks at a nature center, families talked about prior experiences with nature, which were mostly from non-school settings. They used the prior experiences to remind, prompt, explain to, and orient one another during shared meaning-making activity.
Gutiérrez, K.D. , Baquedano‐López, P., & Tejada, C. (1999). Rethinking diversity: Hybridity and hybrid language practices in the third space, Mind, Culture, and Activity,6(4), 286-303. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039909524733
Within learning environments kids talk can often be seen as disruptive or off task. However, Gutierrez et al reframe how teachers can engage kids talk and welcome diverse activities and linguistic practices to deepen learning and participation. This article explores how teachers allow students to offer local knowledge, reorganize activities, and make meaning that can connect to the official curriculum in unexpected ways.