The two readings for this week focused on how students can learn science from informal education settings. Quinn and Bell focused on how designing, making and playing can support and help the goals of the A Framework for K-12 Science Education, of which we read earlier in the semester. Braund and Reiss argue that out-of-school experiences would benefit science learners.
Motivating and interesting students seems to be the overarching theme for why informal science education should be used in schools. Braund claims that out-of-school trips and projects would allow students to experience ‘authentic’ science. Quinn has similar feelings, and says projects and out of school experiences would allow students more autonomy in what they learn, which would boost their intrinsic motivations to learn. He calls it identity-driven, which reminded me of the Buehl chapter on identities. Other earlier reading touched on this idea as well. In the modeling, argumentation and explanation papers, the authors argue that students should have the ability to choose a question they wanted to answer. Teachers can scaffold what questions could be asked, but the students should want to find out the answers. Quinn and Braund argue that informal education could lead to student interest, as it would be student driven. Furthermore, it can give students a positive idea of what practicing science and engineering is like. I liked the example, where physics students to can to a theme park to see physics and engineering practices at work. However, going back to Beuhl’s identities and motivating students; how can we motivate a student who’s strengths are not in the science, engineering, or computational fields?