Evans, M. A., Lopez, M., Maddox, D., Drape, T., & Duke, R. (2014). Interest-driven learning among middle school youth in an out-of-school STEM studio. Journal of Science Education Technology, 23(5), 624–640. doi:10.1007/s10956-014-9490-z
In this paper, Evans, Lopez, Maddox, Drape, and Duke investigate how intentionally designed features of an out-of-school time program,Studio STEM, influenced middle school youths’ engagement in their learning. The authors took a connected learning approach, using new media to support peer interaction and engagement with an engineering design challenge in an open and flexible learning environment.
Jakobsson, A., Mäkitalo, Å. & Säljö, R. (2009). Conceptions of knowledge in research on students' understanding of the greenhouse effect. Science Education, 93(6), 978–995.
This study suggests that the assessment of students’ understanding of scientific vocabulary, concepts, and reasoning associated with the greenhouse effect may be better accomplished by observing and understanding learners’ developing language use over time. The indication of previous research that students hold tenacious misconceptions may be an artifact of the questionnaires used. The authors argue that listening to student conversations is the key to better recognize learning. This paper can help ISE educators think more deeply about how and when to assess for student understanding, including considering most appropriate and informative methods.
Devine-Wright, P., Devine-Wright, H., & Fleming, P. (2004). Situational influences upon children’s beliefs about global warming and energy. Environmental Education Research, 10(4), 493–506.
This study highlights the ways in which individuals’ beliefs and their perceptions of self-efficacy can affect their attitudes toward global climate change. Individuals with personal philosophies favoring active cooperation and participation seem more likely to see the value in taking action to fight climate change.
Medin, D. L., & Bang, M. (2014). The cultural side of science communication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 13621–13626. doi:10.1073/pnas.1317510111
What do images communicate about humans’ place in nature? Medin and Bang posit that the artifacts used to communicate science—including words, photographs, and illustrations—commonly reflect the cultural orientations of their creators. The authors argue that Native Americans traditionally see themselves as part of nature and focus on ecological relationships, while European Americans perceive themselves as outside of nature and think in terms of taxonomic relationships.
Douglas, J. A., & Katz, C. (2009). It’s all happening at the zoo: Children’s environmental learning after school. Afterschool Matters, 8, 36–45.
The authors of this article advocate for broad opportunities for young children to engage with the natural environment. In one out-of-school time (OST) program, called Animal Rescuers, children aged 10–12 participated in zoo visits, environmental education activities, and the creation of an online space. This project can give ISE educators insight into how zoos might connect children’s development with issues such as animal and environmental justice.
Barton, A. C., & Tan, E. (2010). 'It changed our lives': Activism, science, and greening the community. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 10(3), 207–222.
In this article, researchers report on the ways that middle school students positioned themselves as agents of change in their community by using the results of their research into local scientific phenomena and advocating for environmental reforms. This article might be of interest to ISE educators who are exploring how their programs can support the emergence of positive science learning identities in their youth participants.
Boyes, E., & Stanisstreet, M. (2012). Environmental education for behaviour change: Which actions should be targeted? International Journal of Science Education, 34(10), 1591–1641.
This study shines light on the complex relationship between student beliefs and student behaviour in the particular context of climate change. Findings indicate that affecting student behaviour is more complicated that simply providing them with information. Rather, their willingness to act is related to their perceptions on the usefulness of such actions.
Carlone, H. B., Huffling, L. D., Tomasek, T., Hegedus, T. A., Matthews, C. E., Allen, M. H., & Ash, M.C. (2015). “Unthinkable” selves: Identity boundary work in a summer field ecology enrichment program for diverse youth.International Journal of Science Education, 37(10), 1524–1546. doi:10.1080/09500693.2015.1033776
Many youth consider participation in environmental science “unthinkable.” This study challenges the view that scientific practices must be “thinkable” before engagement is possible. Over the course of a four-week summer enrichment ecology program, students addressed their fears, operated outside of their comfort zones, and productively engaged with science.
Birmingham, D., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2014). Putting on a green carnival: Youth taking educated action on socioscientific issues. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 51(3), 286–314.
Through a critical ethnography, Birmingham and Calabrese Barton examined why and how a group of six middle school girls took civic action, defined as “educated action in science,” after studying green energy in an afterschool science program. The paper follows the students’ process in planning and implementing a carnival to engage their community in energy conservation and efficiency issues.
Whitmarsh, L. (2009). What’s in a name? Commonalities and differences in public understanding of “climate change” and “global warming.” Public Understanding of Science 18(4), 401–420. doi:10.1177/0963662506073088
At first glance, public knowledge of climate science appears encouraging. When prompted, most people can correctly identify some of the contributors to climate change. But they are much less likely to do so when they are not shown a checklist of possible causes. This study examined public understanding of two commonly used terms: “global warming” and “climate change.” The findings have important implications for informal science educators seeking to develop effective programmes and exhibitions on climate science.