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.
Emdin, C. (2011). Dimensions of communication in urban science education interactions and transactions. Science Education, 95(1), 1–20.
This study is relevant to educators seeking to expand science practices and discourse in their programs for youth. The author finds that a lack of understanding of everyday communication patterns of African-American students leads many science teachers to shut down students just as they are beginning to express interest and active involvement in the science classroom. The result may be orderly looking classrooms, but the youth have in fact “checked out” and are merely following procedures. This paper presents a framework for analyzing various levels of authentic involvement in the science classroom, and is an important resource for ISE educators seeking to engage urban youth in structured science education programs.
Malone, K. R., & Barabino, G. (2009). Narrations of race in STEM research settings: Identity formation and its discontents. Science Education, 93(3), 485–510.
This study investigates specific challenges that students of color have in developing a personal identity related to science. The researchers examined how experiences in graduate school programs shaped the emergent identities of African-American women students in science and engineering. The study sheds light on the barriers cultural minority students might face in their pursuit of science in school and in careers, and suggests that educators might help to prepare students for these experiences.
Archer, L., DeWitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., Wong, B. (2010). “Doing” science versus “being” a scientist: Examining 10/11-year-old schoolchildren’s construction of science through the lens of identity. Science Education, 94(4), 617–639.
Research shows that between ages 10 and 14, children’s interest in science declines sharply. This study investigates 10- and 11-year-old children’s attitudes toward science and relates it to identity, finding that children show a preference for either school (“safe”) science or what they see as grown-up (“dangerous”) science.
Howes, E. V., Lim, M., & Campos, J. (2009). Journeys into inquiry-based elementary science: Literacy practices, questioning, and empirical study. Science Education, 93(2), 189–217.
Combining science and literacy is becoming a common teaching strategy, which builds on the importance of professional scientists’ use of reading, writing, and speaking in their work. This paper consists of descriptions of efforts of three elementary teachers to teach literacy through science. The authors’ purpose was to theorize how and why to integrate literacy practices with scientific inquiry, to provide examples for educators, and to provide considerations for implementation, all of which may also be useful for informal educators.
Clegg, T., & Kolodner, J. (2013). Scientizing and cooking: Helping middle-school learners develop scientific dispositions. Science Education, 98(1), 36–63. doi:10.1002/sce.21083
Participants in Kitchen Science Investigators, an afterschool program for middle school students, learn science through cooking, baking, and experimenting with recipes. In-depth case studies analyzed how and why girls begin to scientize, or see their worlds through a scientific lens, and how the program structure supported this shift.
Kirch, S. A. (2009). Identifying and resolving uncertainty as a mediated action in science: A comparative analysis of the cultural tools used by scientists and elementary science students at work. Science Education, 95, 308–335.
This study compares scientific practices in a research laboratory and a second grade classroom. Through conversation analysis, the author found that in both settings similar processes were followed to establish a mutual understanding about what was seen, done and concluded in a collaborative investigation. The author shows how “mutual understanding” differs from “agreement,” and suggests ways to structure science inquiry activities that can engage young children with the tentative nature of science while helping them to resolve discrepant procedures, observations or interpretations.
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.
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.
Anderson, D., Thomas, G. P., & Nashon, S. M. (2009). Social barriers to meaningful engagement in biology field trip group work. Science Education, 93(3), 511–534.
Students working in small groups during a field trip to a nature center prioritized the maintenance of social roles within groups of friends rather than exhibiting the behaviors that educators might desire a well-functioning group to engage in for science learning. ISE professionals may consider teaching strategies to help students learn to work through disagreements and discussion within a group, which students perceive as having long-lasting negative social consequences.