Where Young People See Science: Everyday activities connected to science

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27 Scopus citations


This project analyses the prevalence and social construction of science in the everyday activities of multicultural, multilingual children in one urban community. Using cross-setting ethnographic fieldwork (i.e. home, museum, school, community), we developed an ecologically grounded interview protocol and analytical scheme for gauging students' understandings of and identification with science. Focal participants in an ethnographic study rated the frequency of the activities in which they participated, and then they reflected on how these activities connected to scientific knowledge, practices, and tools through an interview task protocol called the Science Activity Task (SAT). The SAT analysis found that children participated in scientific practices and saw science in their home, media, and community activities as well as in school activities. Children participated in scientific practices in their everyday school activities, such as measuring, building and designing, experimenting, and observing. The analysis also identified design principles such as building science activities from the children's pre-existing connections to science (i.e. mixing things together, conducting informal experiments, and understanding electrical devices) rather than traditional home−school connections (i.e. the children did not see science in building with Legos® or in the physics behind sports). The study's primary implication is that researchers and educators should seek to understand the specific connection that the young people they are working with have with science, using tools such as SAT, so that informal and formal science curricula are made relevant and meaningful to the youth participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-53
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Communication


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