Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Week 11

Quinn & Bell, 2013 make connections between A Framework for k-12 Science Education and the role of designing, making, and playing when learning science in various contexts. The authors make the case that the formal (i.e. school) and informal (i.e. museums) educational settings should work in tandem to create a more seamless learning experience for students. The interest generated through design and play in informal environments can be leveraged to encourage a deeper appreciation of core scientific concepts in formal settings. The authors note that in order to implement the new science standards, the formal sector should focus on incorporating practice in addition to knowledge; at the same time, the informal sector should include more focus on knowledge in addition to design and play (“minds on” as well as “hands on”). In this way, the formal and informal sectors may collaborate to improve science literacy, creativity, and critical thinking skills.

Braund & Reiss, 2007 contend that science education is in a “crisis” because students fail to form positive attitudes towards science. According to the authors, the reason for this may be the lack of authenticity of science in the classroom, including the overuse of the laboratory for “practical work”. Indeed, students may be put off of science because they see the lack of authenticity. Today’s students are also more challenging to engage (or impress): “the days are long gone when pupils of secondary age would be impressed by a demonstration of a collapsing can when attached to a vacuum pump… or the meanderings of desiccated woodlice or dazzled maggots.” Informal learning experiences can provide benefits for students by cultivating interest, promoting social relatedness, and improving learning outcomes. Thus, schools and informal learning environments should collaborate to make science education more authentic.

These two articles differ from other articles we have read so far because they emphasize the affective side of science education. These articles call into question the real purpose of science education - is it to transmit knowledge and correct misconceptions, or to help students develop a positive attitude towards science and empower students to take control of their own learning?


  1. One thing we haven't really discussed much in this class is that our students will be children of the Information Age. We may have seen the Internet and ways to use it grow up as we did, but these guys are growing up with it in full swing and a minimum (probably) of 2 ways to access it available to them regularly. As to the question you posed at the end of your post, I would argue that in this age where students can find any information they want in an instant, our role must be to help them develop a positive attitude towards science and empower them to learn, including critically evaluating the information they find.

  2. To your question I think it's both, but then again a lot of it depends on individual motivation. Of course we see school trips as a way to help students view science in a more exciting and applicable light, but I can't help to think that some will view such trips as just fun excursions outside the classroom. I think the trips must be organized and well thought out so students will get a lot out from them.

  3. True but there is a huge difference at the beginnig and end of the trip.Most of the students that view the trip as just an excursion (which will more than likely be a wide majority) will have a better understanding later on after the field trip is completed . Theese students are exactly what this type of activity is designed for. They dont belive that this impacts of effects them and 2 hours later are forced to make those connections and dive back into their studies to reconsidered what was talked about and re read the material previously presented.