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.
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.
Byrne, J., Ideland, M., Malmberg, C., & Grace, M. (2014). Climate change and everyday life: Repertoires children use to negotiate a socio-scientific issue. International Journal of Science Education, 36(9), 1491–1509. doi:10.1080/09500693.2014.891159
The premise underlying this paper by Byrne, Ideland, Malmberg, and Grace is that citizenship should not be regarded as a privilege — and responsibility — only of adulthood. Children, too, can be actively engaged as citizens. In their study, Byrne and colleagues examined the interpretive repertoires of children engaged in discussions about socioscientific issues. They found that the children used productive argumentation to negotiate complex issues and propose solutions.
Bouillion, L. M., & Gomez, L. M. (2001). Connecting school and community with science learning: Real world problems and school-community partnerships as contextual scaffolds. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38(8), 878–898. doi:10.1002/tea.1037
To improve science education for culturally and linguistically diverse students, schools and communities can create “mutual benefit partnerships” to identify and address local problems. Through the example of the Chicago River Project, Bouillion and Gomez illustrate how such partnerships can connect formal learning contexts with the rich ways communities experience science outside of school.
Morehouse, H. (2009). Making the most of the middle: A strategic model for middle school afterschool programs. Afterschool Matters, 8, 1–10.
This paper summarizes key design elements for programs for middle-school-aged children, addressing issues of relationships, relevance, reinforcement, real-life projects, and rigor. The authors argue that these five components take into account the intellectual and emotional developmental needs of this age range.
Mallya, A., Mensah, F. M., Contento, I. R., Koch, P. A., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2012). Extending science beyond the classroom door: Learning from students’ experiences with the Choice, Control, and Change (C3) curriculum. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(2), 244–269.
This paper explores how a school-day science and nutrition curriculum, Choice, Control and Change (C3), shaped student thinking, decision making, and actions outside the classroom. The curriculum taught health science content and engaged students in activities focused on analyzing and changing their personal health choices.
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.
Hampden-Thompson, G., & Bennett, J. (2013). Science teaching and learning activities and students’ engagement in science. International Journal of Science Education, 35(8), 1325–1343. doi: 10.1080/09500693.2011.608093
This study uses data from the 2006 PISA survey to examine the association between student engagement in science and the nature of teaching and learning activities. It also explores school and family factors. Key findings are to be expected but also surprising. For example, variety in types of activity is associated with greater engagement. However, smaller classes do not necessarily result in greater enjoyment of science!
Archer, L., Dewitt, J., Osborne, J., Dillon, J., Willis, B., & Wong, B. (2012) ‘Balancing acts’: Elementary school girls’ negotiations of femininity, achievement, and science. Science Education, 96(6), 967–989. doi:10.1002/sce.21031
This paper explores how science-aspiring girls balance their aspirations and achievement with societal expectations of femininity. In-depth interviews revealed two models that the girls tended to follow, termed feminine scientist or bluestocking scientist, and the precarious nature of both of these identities. Archer et al. suggest ways that practitioners can better support girls in their balancing acts.