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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: [email protected].
    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 Schools 2010 Welleby Elementary’s Science Alive night helps make science experimentation a family fun activity Bits & Pieces, Central Area of Broward County Department of Education’s newsletter April 2011 11
2. Brown M, Brown PL 2010 Enhancing elementary students’ experiences learning about circuits using an exploration-explanation instructional sequence Science Activities: Classroom Projects and Curriculum Ideas 47 2 54 57
3. Brown PL, Abell SK 2007 Examining the learning cycle Sci Children 44 5 58 59
4. Cabe Trundle K, Mollohan KN, McCormick Smith M 2013 Plants, alike and different: laying the foundation to help preschoolers understand inheritance of traits Sci Children 50 6 52 57
5. Donovan K, Schmitt E 2014 Service learning in science education: a valuable and useful endeavor for biology majors Bios 85 3 167 177 10.1893/0005-3155-85.3.167 http://dx.doi.org/10.1893/0005-3155-85.3.167
6. Marincola E 2006 Why is public education important? J Transl Med 4 7 10.1186/1479-5876-4-7 http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1479-5876-4-7
7. National Research Council 1990 Fulfilling the promise: biology education in the nation’s schools The National Academies Press Washington, DC
8. Ogens EM, Padilla C 2012 It’s tradition! How one district wide evening evolved into years of family science at the school level Sci Children 49 6 47 49
9. Paris SG, Yambor KM, Wai-Ling Packard B 1998 Hands-on biology: a museum-school-university partnership for enhancing students’ interest and learning in science Elem School J 98 3 267 288 10.1086/461894 http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/461894
10. Ramirez A 2013 Save our science TED Books
11. Smetana LK, Chadde Schumaker J, Severin Goldfien W, Nelson C 2012 Family style engineering Sci Children 50 4 67 71
12. TEDx Talks 2013 TEDxNSU: “Lighting the Bulb: Sharing Your Profession and Passion with the Community.” E Schmitt January [Online.] www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgtj3Ue3uDY
13. The National Academies 2011 Expanding underrepresented minority participation: america’s science and technology talent at the crossroads The National Academies Press Washington, DC
14. The New York Times 2010 48 th is not a good place Editorial 26 October
15. Tsang J 2007 Teach for America: an opportunity for biology majors Bios 78 4 127 131 10.1893/0005-3155(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 Committee 2012 STEM education: preparing for the jobs of the future A Report by the Joint Economic Committee Chairman’s Staff Senator Bob Casey, Chairman April 2012
17. Whitaker JR 2012 Responding to the need for intervention: six easy steps prime students for mastery of science concepts Sci Children 50 4 75 79

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2016-05-04
2019-03-19

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

Image of FIGURE 1

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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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