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Science Alive!: Connecting with Elementary Students through Science Exploration

    Authors: Aarti Raja1,*, Emily Schmitt Lavin1, Tamara Gali1, Kaitlin Donovan1
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    Affiliations: 1: Nova Southeastern University, Department of Biological Sciences, Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 04 May 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Supplemental materials available at http://asmscience.org/jmbe
    • *Corresponding author. Mailing address: 3301 College Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314. Phone: 954-262-7975. Fax: 954-262-4240. E-mail: aarti.raja@nova.edu.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 275-281. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
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    Abstract:

    A novel program called Science Alive! was developed by undergraduate faculty members, K–12 school teachers, and undergraduate students to enrich science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) literacy at community schools located near the university. The ultimate goal of the program is to bolster the scientific knowledge and appreciation of local area students and community members and serve as a model for similar programs. Through the program, we observed that elementary school students made gains toward learning their grade-level science curricula after a hands-on learning experience and had fun doing these hands-on activities. Through the program, undergraduate students, working with graduate students and alumni, build scientific learning modules using explanatory handouts and creative activities as classroom exercises. This helps better integrate scientific education through a collaborative, hands-on learning program. Results showed that elementary school students made the highest learning gains in their performance on higher-level questions related to both forces and matter as a result of the hands-on learning modules. Additionally, college students enjoyed the hands-on activities, would consider volunteering their time at such future events, and saw the service learning program as a benefit to their professional development through community building and discipline-specific service. The science modules were developed according to grade-level curricular standards and can be used year after year to teach or explain a scientific topic to elementary school students via a hands-on learning approach.

Key Concept Ranking

Stems
0.66142863
Lead
0.53217804
Gases
0.52500004
Water
0.48634455
Streams
0.47035933
Air
0.45392156
0.66142863

References & Citations

1. Broward County Public Schools2010Welleby Elementary’s Science Alive night helps make science experimentation a family fun activityBits & Pieces, Central Area of Broward County Department of Education’s newsletterApril201111
2. Brown M, Brown PL2010Enhancing elementary students’ experiences learning about circuits using an exploration-explanation instructional sequenceScience Activities: Classroom Projects and Curriculum Ideas4725457
3. Brown PL, Abell SK2007Examining the learning cycleSci Children4455859
4. Cabe Trundle K, Mollohan KN, McCormick Smith M2013Plants, alike and different: laying the foundation to help preschoolers understand inheritance of traitsSci Children5065257
5. Donovan K, Schmitt E2014Service learning in science education: a valuable and useful endeavor for biology majorsBios85316717710.1893/0005-3155-85.3.167 http://dx.doi.org/10.1893/0005-3155-85.3.167
6. Marincola E2006Why is public education important?J Transl Med4710.1186/1479-5876-4-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-4-7
7. National Research Council1990Fulfilling the promise: biology education in the nation’s schoolsThe National Academies PressWashington, DC
8. Ogens EM, Padilla C2012It’s tradition! How one district wide evening evolved into years of family science at the school levelSci Children4964749
9. Paris SG, Yambor KM, Wai-Ling Packard B1998Hands-on biology: a museum-school-university partnership for enhancing students’ interest and learning in scienceElem School J98326728810.1086/461894 http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/461894
10. Ramirez A2013Save our scienceTED Books
11. Smetana LK, Chadde Schumaker J, Severin Goldfien W, Nelson C2012Family style engineeringSci Children5046771
12. TEDx Talks2013TEDxNSU: “Lighting the Bulb: Sharing Your Profession and Passion with the Community.”E Schmitt January[Online.] www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgtj3Ue3uDY
13. The National Academies2011Expanding underrepresented minority participation: america’s science and technology talent at the crossroadsThe National Academies PressWashington, DC
14. The New York Times201048th is not a good placeEditorial26October
15. Tsang J2007Teach for America: an opportunity for biology majorsBios78412713110.1893/0005-3155(2007)78[127:TBFTFA]2.0.CO;2 http://dx.doi.org/10.1893/0005-3155(2007)78[127:TBFTFA]2.0.CO;2
16. U. S. Congress Joint Economic Committee2012STEM education: preparing for the jobs of the futureA Report by the Joint Economic Committee Chairman’s Staff Senator Bob Casey, ChairmanApril2012
17. Whitaker JR2012Responding to the need for intervention: six easy steps prime students for mastery of science conceptsSci Children5047579
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
2016-05-04
2017-11-24

Abstract:

A novel program called Science Alive! was developed by undergraduate faculty members, K–12 school teachers, and undergraduate students to enrich science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) literacy at community schools located near the university. The ultimate goal of the program is to bolster the scientific knowledge and appreciation of local area students and community members and serve as a model for similar programs. Through the program, we observed that elementary school students made gains toward learning their grade-level science curricula after a hands-on learning experience and had fun doing these hands-on activities. Through the program, undergraduate students, working with graduate students and alumni, build scientific learning modules using explanatory handouts and creative activities as classroom exercises. This helps better integrate scientific education through a collaborative, hands-on learning program. Results showed that elementary school students made the highest learning gains in their performance on higher-level questions related to both forces and matter as a result of the hands-on learning modules. Additionally, college students enjoyed the hands-on activities, would consider volunteering their time at such future events, and saw the service learning program as a benefit to their professional development through community building and discipline-specific service. The science modules were developed according to grade-level curricular standards and can be used year after year to teach or explain a scientific topic to elementary school students via a hands-on learning approach.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

(replicate of Fig. 1a in Appendix 5 ). Summary data for all survey questions relating to the Forces Day Module activities and learning outcomes. The percentage of student responses (for all survey questions) that were no response (NR), low, medium, and high quality answers for pre-event (red) and post-event (green) questions given as part of Forces Day at Welleby Elementary School for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The NR answers decreased post-event in all years, suggesting greater confidence in answering, and the high-quality answers increased significantly.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 275-281. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

(replicate of Fig. 1c in Appendix 5 ). Summary data for four program-specific survey questions: learning outcomes 2 (understand that magnets can be pushed or pulled by other magnets) and 3 (being able to predict what will happen in various experimental settings specifically related to forces) for forces, motion and energy. NR = no response. Pre-event answers are red; post-event answers are green.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 275-281. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

(replicate of Fig. 4a in Appendix 5 ). Summary data for all survey questions relating to the Matter Day Module activities and learning outcomes. Percentage of student responses (for all survey questions) that were no response (NR), low, medium, and high quality answers for pre-event (red) and post-event (green) questions given as part of Matter Day at Manatee Bay Elementary School (MBE) for the year 2014. A decrease in NR responses and an increase in high-quality responses indicated learning gains.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 275-281. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

(replicate of Fig. 4c in Appendix 5 ). Summary data for four program-specific survey questions: learning outcome 3 for matter (being able to predict what will happen in various experimental settings specifically related to matter). MBE = Manatee Bay Elementary School; NR = no response. Pre-event responses are red; post-event responses are green.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 275-281. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1074
Download as Powerpoint

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