1. Maureen Callanan
  2. https://psychology.ucsc.edu/faculty/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=callanan
  3. Professor
  5. University of California Santa Cruz
  1. Garrett Jaeger
  2. Postdoctoral Researcher
  4. University of California Santa Cruz
  1. Cristine Legare
  2. http://www.cristinelegare.com
  3. Associate Professor
  5. University of Texas at Austin
  1. David Sobel
  2. https://www.brown.edu/research/labs/causality-and-mind/home
  3. Professor
  5. Brown University

Collaborative Research: Explaining, Exploring, and Scientific Reasoning in Mu...

NSF Awards: 1420241, 1420259, 1420548

2018 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

Our research uses observational methods to examine how parent-child engagement in explaining and exploring is related to children’s learning. Children’s museums provide an important informal learning context to gain insight into variability in family interaction as well as in children’s engagement and creativity in STEM learning. A primary focus of our video will be how we cultivated mutually beneficial partnerships between children’s museums and university-based research teams.The data collected on parent-child interactions were complemented by surveys of parents’ attitudes toward science and their beliefs about the relation between play and learning. These methods allow us to evaluate how parents’ beliefs about play and science are related to interactions with their children at museum exhibits. Further, after parents and children interacted at exhibits, children participated in follow-up tasks where they played with toys similar to the target exhibits. These follow-up tasks allow us to consider how explaining and exploring at exhibits may be related to children’s learning and STEM engagement.A strength of this research is that it integrates a diverse set of populations in the US, highlighting subtle differences in affordances of museum exhibits at different sites. Our data show significant associations among children's systematic exploration of the exhibit, their troubleshooting behaviors, and subsequent generative behaviors on their own. Our submission to NSF Stem for All will show families interacting at several exhibits we studied, along with comments by museum partners and researchers regarding the value of productive, reciprocal relationships for both research and practice.

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