This article presents results from a survey intended to measure adolescents’ continuing motivation for science, such as their involvement in extracurricular science-related activities. The researchers investigated the relationship between school type, grade, and gender and participants continuing motivation for science learning. Almost 3,000 5th-8th grade students from various schools in Israel participated. Results indicate that females had lower continuing motivation for science than boys and the continuing motivation for individuals in traditional schools decreased between 5th and 8th grade, but that those in democratic schools had a constant level of continuing motivation.
From Education Next:
Researchers from the University of Arkansas examined the impact of high-quality theater productions on school groups. This is the first randomized experiment to discover what students get out of seeing live theater. Among students assigned to see live theater, the researchers found enhanced knowledge of the plot and vocabulary in those plays, greater tolerance, and improved ability to read the emotions of others. These results are generally consistent with the researchers’ previous work looking at the impact attending a field trip to an art museum has on students.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has just published their second special issue dedicated to science communication. The research-based papers include topics like how to gain trust as well as respect from scientifically inclined audiences, using storytelling with non-expert audiences and how to best communicate different types of scientific uncertainty.
From The New York Times:
A new study, published in the journal CBE Life Science Education, looked at six semesters of an introductory biology class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Three terms took a lecture-based approach and three demanded more participation by students. The more active approach gave students more in-class activities and online exercises that forced students to think about the material rather than just memorize it. This active learning strategy raised average test scores more than 3 percentage points. This score increase was doubled, to more than 6 percentage points, for black students and first-generation college students. Other studies have shown similar improvements from demanding more student interaction, but did not break that down by demographic groups. Full text of the study can be found here.
This ethnographic research project studied how two 11-year-olds who learned computer programming in an after school program translated their new roles as experts into their formal classroom community. The researchers identify specific instances where teachers, friends and other community members all had a role in defining the identity of the children. Implications include the importance of having flexible bridging activities between formal and informal settings to support transitions of personal identity.