2632 Views
  1. Marley Jarvis
  2. Outreach and Education Specialist
  3. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  4. Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, University of Washington
  1. Sapna Cheryan
  2. https://depts.washington.edu/sibl/sapna-cheryan/
  3. Professor
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  1. Allison Master
  2. http://staff.washington.edu/almaster/cv.html
  3. Research Scientist
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Washington
  1. Andrew Meltzoff
  2. http://ilabs.washington.edu/institute-faculty/bio/i-labs-andrew-n-meltzoff-phd
  3. Professor and Co-Director
  4. Presenter’s NSFRESOURCECENTERS
  5. University of Washington
Presenters’
Choice

Motivation and Learning in STEM

NSF Awards: 0835854, 1420351, R305A180167

2020 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Informal / multi-age

Our video describes an NSF-funded research study that found measurable improvements in young children’s interest and performance in STEM by fostering a sense of belonging to a social group. We discovered that 4- and 5-year-old children did better on math and puzzle tasks when they believed they were part of an imaginary team than those who were not associated with a team. Children who felt like they belonged to a group reported being more interested in math and puzzles. They also persisted longer at these tasks. Social group membership, even when other humans aren’t present, is a powerful learning motivator. This project demonstrates exciting new ways to promote children's early motivation in STEM that can be used by parents and educators alike.

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Original Discussion from the 2020 STEM For All Video Showcase
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 4, 2020 | 07:21 p.m.

    Thanks for taking the time to watch our video! We’re glad you’re here and are looking forward to the discussion. The findings that inspired this video are part of an on-going field of research for us. Our studies investigate how we can help more students foster interests in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), with a particular focus on reducing current gender gaps in STEM motivation and participation. We welcome comments on any aspect of our project, but are especially interested in your thoughts on these questions:

    1. What are some effective ways you’ve found to help young children feel socially connected while learning?
    2. How can we encourage young girls and other underserved and underrepresented children to feel a sense of belonging in STEM?
    3. Do you have suggestions for important next steps for our research?
     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
    Marcy Seavey
  • Icon for: Jesus Paz-Albo

    Jesus Paz-Albo

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 9, 2020 | 04:43 p.m.


    As a teacher educator in Spain, this STEM video makes sense from a European perspective. Thanks.


     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 9, 2020 | 09:12 p.m.

    Excellent. It is important that our messages are not limited to the USA. The issues of stereotypes and how to draw more children into STEM are, in fact, a worldwide issue. Hope you are doing well in Spain!

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 10:05 a.m.

    I feel like this is such an important point to make right now, at this moment in history. So many of us are involved in distance learning right now, as teachers and parents. Even though our students aren't physically together, we can still help them feel connected as a group and motivated to learn.

     
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    Erica Fields
    Carol Fletcher
    Andrew Meltzoff
    Marcy Seavey
    Lorna Quandt
    Marley Jarvis
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 6, 2020 | 12:57 p.m.

    Yes, absolutely. I'd love to hear any other participants' ideas of how they've helped to foster a feeling of belonging and connectedness during these times of physical distance.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Bourgeault

    Jennifer Bourgeault

    United States GLOBE Country Coordinator
    May 12, 2020 | 11:21 a.m.

    Wow! This is a really interesting finding, especially when so many students and teachers are struggling to keep the "classroom" alive virtually right now. Have you done any work with older students to see if the team idea tapers off with age? With GLOBE, participants have the ability to join virtual teams and if they are in a GLOBE school, the data they collect is found all together under their school. I wonder if this has an impact.

     
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    Marcy Seavey
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 03:19 p.m.

    My colleague Greg Walton has found very similar effects with college students (Walton, Cohen, Cwir, & Spencer, 2012), so I suspect the power of social connections does not taper off with age.

    Thanks for sharing the link to the GLOBE program--what an awesome program!

     
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    Jennifer Bourgeault
  • Icon for: Paul Nelson

    Paul Nelson

    Researcher
    May 5, 2020 | 11:03 a.m.

    Nice! It sounds like you are specifically supporting your students' basic psychological need of "relatedness" from Ryan and Deci's self-determination theory. At least that's one way to think about it...

     
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    Carol Fletcher
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 11:13 a.m.

    Yes, absolutely! And I think these kinds of cues to relatedness are even more important in STEM learning, because there can be so many other cues that students don't belong (particularly girls and members of underrepresented groups), especially as they get older.

     
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    Jennifer Bourgeault
    Carol Fletcher
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Chelsea Carnes

    Chelsea Carnes

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 5, 2020 | 02:38 p.m.

    Beautifully crafted video and important content! I work on a project that uses creative hands-on learning (guitar-building, rocketry, and robotics) to encourage underrepresented students to engage in STEM learning in an elective course "Wide World of Science" that is peppered with entry-level STEM skills. While a focus on creativity, fine art, and design helps ease students into self-efficacy in math and science skills, I've found that it is equally important to make sure that the faculty teaching our course receive plenty of training in universal design for learning and understand how to curb microaggressions and their own implicit bias to share our curriculum in an inclusive and accessible way. Innovative curriculum is useless if it isn't taught with an awareness of research like yours. I'm bookmarking your video to share with our faculty. Check out our project if you get a chance https://videohall.com/p/1683 

     

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 02:59 p.m.

    I completely agree: we need to ask important questions like why some children lose interest in STEM. So often we inadvertently place the "blame" on the individual children for their lack of interest in STEM while ignoring so many negative messages baked into educational settings that impact children's sense of identity and belonging. Thank you for your comment, and for sharing your work!

     
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    Marcy Seavey
    Carol Fletcher
    Patti Curtis
  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 06:26 p.m.

    I looked at Chelsea's video and very much appreciated her emphasis on underrepresented minorities. It's a very important aspect of the push towards STEM. Thanks.

  • Icon for: Marcy Seavey

    Marcy Seavey

    May 5, 2020 | 03:22 p.m.

    I love this! 

    Question 1 - I work with mostly slightly older children.  One thing I have done is to lobby my funding sources, administration and research and sponsored programs department that camp t-shirts or bags are program supplies and not incentives.  We reach about 150 day campers each year and more than half of them are from one or multiple under-served populations.  It was easy to make the argument that our staff should be given unique camp staff shirts.  "There are hundreds of adults on our campus and I am background checking only those who work directly with our campers.  Staff shirts are the way campers and their parents identify who is involved in our program."  It was much more difficult to get support for camper shirts or bags.  We only have these children for 5 days out of a year but I believe we can make a huge difference in their self-efficacy.  By providing them with something that periodically reminds them that they are a part of our community, I think we can extend the reach of those 5 days.

    2 - How do we encourage girls and other underrepresented groups?  Some of our past campers gave me some things to think about regarding this.  Through an EPSCoR grant, we were able to start an Introduction to Robotics day camp that was open to any 5th-7th grader.  After two years this camp had lots of racial and socioeconomic diversity but only 2 girls (out of 48 total) had participated.  We added a second session, Introduction to Robotics - For Girls, a session only open to girls.  After this session opened (generally with 18 campers to the other sessions 24), the participation of girls in the original session doubled, then tripled, and now we don't even offer "for girls" annually because the other session is about half girls.  I was interested in the girls who, given an option to be in a girls only camp selected a mixed session.  I asked them about why they signed up for the session they chose.  Some girls said they were at camp that week because their sibling was also on campus (in the same camp or another) or that this was the only week they had free.  Those were answers I was expecting.  But the majority of the girls in the mixed session camp said something along the lines of "I don't need a girls only session.  I belong here."  But... Where were these girls when we only had one session open to anyone?  Did offering a girls session somehow signal to them that this was a safe place?  Maybe it was the increased number of girls in our promotional materials as we were able to show case more and more past female campers?  I don't actually have the answers to why this worked but it even spilled over into other camp sessions so that we have been able to maintain approximately 50/50 male/female participation in our sessions overall with about 1 in every 6 camps targeted at girls.  Having a sense of belonging definitely plays a role in interest and self-efficacy. 

     

     
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    Jennifer Bourgeault
    Marcy Seavey
    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 04:29 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing - you bring up a lot of really interesting points! To your first comment, it is great to be able to have t-shirts or other items that help signal to youth that they belong. As you mention, though, the cost of material items can certainly be a barrier. We can also work to think about non-material things that can foster a sense of belonging such as songs, sayings, and other positive and identity-affirming cultural traditions. It's so important to let children show up with their full selves in our learning spaces. 

    And thank you for sharing some interesting insights from your Robotics day camps! It would be great to hear if other programs saw similar patterns. I think your wonderings around what signals your promotional materials are sending are so important! Some of our other research looks at subtle messages in classroom environments and their impact on whether or not girls were interested in taking a computer science class. We found that girls were less interested in signing up for a computer science class if the classroom space depicted stereotypes (e.g., posters on the wall of science fiction movies). These small signals can really make an impact on who feels like they do or don't belong, and it's great to hear about how you have been thinking deeply about this in your program!

    If you're interested, you can check out this classroom environment study here as well as the 2018 STEM For All video we made here

     
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    Jennifer Bourgeault
    Marcy Seavey
    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Sapna Cheryan

    Sapna Cheryan

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 12:20 a.m.

    Such an interesting observation that adding the "girls only" session resulted in more girls in the original session. My student Adriana Germano has some related data. She finds that when college women have a choice of applying for a "women's only award" and an award open to everyone, more of the women choose to apply for the women's only award, even if it is less lucrative. When there are two awards open to everyone, women are more likely to choose the more lucrative award. In Adriana's research, she's showing a related but different effect than the one you observed -- that the presence of the diversity award pulls women out of the award open to everyone. But what you are proposing also sounds right when it comes to day camps. It would be interesting to study whether the girls-only session gets their attention but then they assume it won't be as good in some way or that they will be seen negatively for choosing it. It is something we or someone else could consider testing in the future. Thanks for sharing this interesting finding!

     
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    Marcy Seavey
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Patti Curtis

    Patti Curtis

    Robert Noyce/Ellen Lettvin STEM Education Fellow
    May 5, 2020 | 04:28 p.m.

    I want to be on the Green Team too.  What a great finding!  Are there safe & productive social media ways of keeping young STEM girls connected?

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 5, 2020 | 04:50 p.m.

    Yes, social media can be a great way to foster a connection with community around STEM! A wonderful place to start is in exploring some hashtags that affirm children's various identities along with STEM. Some examples include Twitter hashtags like #WOCinSTEM, #BlackAndSTEM, #QueerInSTEM, and #WomenInSTEM.

    You can also explore social media campaigns that humanize researchers, such searching the hashtag #ScientistsWhoSelfie on Instagram or the #ILookLikeanEngineer hashtag on Twitter. These campaigns are helping to challenge stereotypes of who can do science. 

    In addition, many inspirational female scientists have started their own blogs or YouTube channels to share their science with the next generation. These can be great ways for young girls and other underserved children to connect with STEM researchers that look like them, which can be a powerful motivator.

     
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    Allison Master
  • May 5, 2020 | 05:45 p.m.

    This is great work and nicely presented. I wonder if you are finding any developmental differences in this work? Is the need to belong more important at particular ages in developing a can-do-STEM identity? I'm also wondering if you have any hypotheses about how these effects might translate to children from cultural communities underrepresented in STEM educational and career pursuits. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
    Becky Mazur
    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 10:51 a.m.

    Hi Catherine,

    Thanks for these great questions!

    1) We have some new cross-sectional data that we are writing up for publication right now. We found that children's sense of belonging was strongly correlated with their interest in STEM at every grade level in our study (1st grade-12th grade), for three different STEM fields (math, science, and computer coding, which this sample of students experienced as part of their curriculum). I think these findings show that feelings of belonging and connection are important for children's STEM motivation throughout development.

    We do see developmental differences in what predicts students' sense of belonging--we found that belief in cultural stereotypes (that girls aren't as interested in STEM as boys, or aren't as good at STEM as boys) begins to correlate more strongly with girls' lower interest in STEM in middle school. I think that's a time when students become more sensitive to whether or not they feel that they belong.

    2) I think feelings of belonging and connection are universally important for students, but I think they are even more important for students who frequently experience cues that they do not belong. I think children from underrepresented cultural groups may experience lots of cues that they do not belong, such as a lack of role models like them, stereotypes that work in STEM is solitary rather than communal or team-based, biased behavior from teachers (e.g., calling on other students before them), etc. So I think effects like ours can improve the motivation of all students, but the effects may be strongest for students who previously doubted whether they belonged and were valued in their STEM class.

     
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    Catherine Haden
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 06:37 p.m.

    Catherine's point about cultural communities underrepresented in STEM is crucial. We've mostly studied females and STEM, but Catherine is alluded to the idea that there are stereotypes that people from certain cultural groups/ethnicities (Black, Hispanic) aren't associated with STEM whereas other races/ethnicities groups are (Asian). The sad thing is that such stereotypes begin to seep into the minds of our young children; and the combination of gender with race/ethnicity  ('intersectionality') is incredibly important in today's world, and is something that Prof. Onnie Rogers (Northwestern) is studying.

     

     
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    Catherine Haden
  • May 12, 2020 | 04:14 p.m.

    Thanks for putting me on to Onnie's work! We are also looking at ways to provide rich STEM learning opportunities for young children and parents from diverse cultural communities tath can counteract these stereotypes about who is good at and can enjoy STEM. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 07:58 p.m.

    Thank you presenters for sharing a clear and succinct video description. Tell us a little more about the study participants. How many people in the study? Were you able to get racial diversity in the group? How did you account for socio-cultural prior knowledges that participants brought with them to the experience?

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:20 a.m.

    Hi Preeti,

    These are great questions and issues--thanks for bringing them up!

    1) This particular study had 141 4-year-old children. (These findings also replicate earlier research with 130 different preschool children, in Master & Walton, 2013.)

    2) This sample was about 75% White and 25% racial minority or multiple race/ethnicities (and mostly from middle- to upper-middle-class backgrounds), which is typical for our university lab-based samples, but far from ideal. In more recent studies, we've been making efforts to increase the diversity of our participants. In the research study I mentioned above to Catherine, with 1st-12th grade students, we have a much more diverse sample (36% White, 23% Hispanic/Latino, 14% multiple races, 9% Asian American, 8% Black, 1% Native American) from a school district in which 43% of students receive free/reduced price lunch.  

    3) This is a very complex question. I have a partial answer, but would love to hear more about your thoughts on this issue. One way in which we accounted for children's socio-cultural prior knowledge is through our methodology: this was a within-subjects design. All children completed two STEM activities, one as part of a "group" and one as an individual (and we counterbalanced the order of the activities, and whether the math or spatial activity was described as group-based or individual). So, when comparing children's motivation for the group and individual tasks, we statistically controlled for their prior knowledge and experiences, because those were equal across our conditions. However, this brings up a great point about psychological interventions in education, which is that the size of effects can vary greatly across different samples. David Yeager and colleagues have a new paper that does a great job of summarizing this issue: http://gregorywalton-stanford.weebly.com/upload...

    The main point is that the size of an effect like ours could be very different in groups of children who come from different contexts. Effects could be larger in groups of children who have a classroom environment in which they do not feel connected or valued. This can also affect how long these kinds of effects last--do students have a teacher who can support their feelings of connection over time?

    Were there specific socio-cultural prior knowledges that you had in mind?

     
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    Marcy Seavey
    Carol Fletcher
    Andrew Meltzoff
    Marley Jarvis
  • Icon for: Zenon Borys

    Zenon Borys

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 5, 2020 | 10:11 p.m.

    Really interesting and compelling.  It reminds me of the story about the brick layers.  One slogs along laying brick after brick, when the other finds meaning in their work because they aren't just laying bricks - they are building a cathedral.  By having students see them selves as part of something beyond themselves it seems like you've tapped into this connection.  I wonder if pointing out this connection to big and meaty problems where a solution can't be found by one individual is a way to help sustain the feeling of belongingness.  Great presentation!  

     
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    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:30 a.m.

    Hi Zenon,

    Yes, I love this metaphor! Other researchers have found that creating a sense of purpose and relevance to what students are learning is a very effective way to motivate them. Similarly, there's also a lot of research that emphasizing the communal nature of STEM (how people work in teams and use STEM to help others) is very motivating for students. I think our study absolutely fits in with that--we helped give children a sense that they are part of something bigger than themselves, with a sense of shared purpose. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • May 11, 2020 | 05:50 a.m.

    This is a clever study, a terrific presentation.  And the underlying message is super important.  It would be interesting to be able to tease apart the sense of belonging to a group from what Zenon and Allison are talking about here, a sense of contributing to something bigger than themselves.  The kids in your study may have experienced both, but they aren't the same thing. 

    Anyway, I think you are exploring similar issues as my team in the video 'Learning to Collaborate' -- our research suggests that very young children are eager to be part of what is going on around them.  That involves both being part of the social scene and contributing to moving the shared agenda forward.  Anyway, just a thought...  Best, Barbara

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 02:27 p.m.

    Hi Barbara,

    Thanks so much for joining our discussion--I agree that our work intersects in interesting ways!

    Preeti brought up this same issue down below, about the difference between being part of a group and collaborating with others as part of a larger cultural group. I think the "social motivation" that we find in our study is part of what lays the foundation for children's desire to participate in their family's cultural practices. They are learning "this is who we are, and these are the things that we do," and they are very motivated to participate in those shared goals.

    I think identification with the group can also serve as a bridge between these two senses of belonging. We found that the effects in our study were strongest among the children who were most identified with their (minimal) group. If we are part of a group that we don't care about or feel identified with, then we won't be motivated to work toward's the group's goals. But when children are embedded in meaningful, rich cultural traditions and communities (which they feel strongly identified with), they are highly motivated to fully participate in community life. 

  • May 11, 2020 | 05:27 p.m.

    Great Points! I wonder what you mean by being more or less identified with their group, in this context.

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 06:01 p.m.

    In this case, we had children use a simple Likert-type scale to tell us how much they liked their group and how happy they were to be part of it. Most of the children liked their group and were happy with it, but the few who did not were less motivated for the group's task.

     
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    Barbara Rogoff
  • Icon for: Hsiu-Wen Yang

    Hsiu-Wen Yang

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 08:50 a.m.

    Belonging and STEM identity is really important for young children's STEM learning. I wonder how the STEM activities were chosen. 

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 6, 2020 | 11:34 a.m.

    Hi Hsiu-Wen,

    Great question! We wanted to find activities that were not too easy for children, because then all the children would complete the task. We also wanted the activities that were not too challenging, because then all the children might get frustrated and give up. We tried to find activities that were moderately challenging for children at this age--if children felt motivated, they would persist and be more successful. We also wanted to see whether this effect worked for different types of STEM tasks, so we used a math task (where children matched numerals to sets of objects) and a spatial task (unusual jigsaw puzzle).

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 10:50 a.m.

    Fascinating project!  Insightful discussion!  And what a clever use of visual storytelling, symbology and semiotics to tell us about your work…  I noticed that you did not credit the visual production team.  Was this intentional?  Who did the work? 

     

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 10:52 a.m.

    It was the amazing Marley Jarvis herself!

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 12:38 p.m.

    Ha, thanks Allison - yes, no visual production team here. Just me drawing on a tablet and recording the voiceover and sound effects under a blanket at home. :-)

     
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    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Nickolay Hristov

    Nickolay Hristov

    Facilitator
    May 7, 2020 | 01:00 p.m.

    Hi Marley!  Love to hear these stories!  Wish you had put that in the credits and recognized yourself with the credit that you deserve.  It strikes me that often as academics we forget to practice the very thing we study – PLAY!?  That’s the only thing I’d change (like here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MITcIuiwLGI&amp... Kudos about the rest! 

     
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    Marley Jarvis
  • May 7, 2020 | 12:18 p.m.

    Does this work across age spans?

    marcia

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 02:00 p.m.

    Hi Marcia,

    My collaborator Greg Walton has done similar studies with college students (Walton, Cohen, Cwir, & Spencer, 2012):

    http://gregorywalton-stanford.weebly.com/upload...

    We haven't tried with other ages in between, but I suspect that the effects would be similar across age spans.

  • May 7, 2020 | 05:32 p.m.

    This is such important work and I really enjoyed your video. Did your sample include children with disabilities? 

     
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    Marley Jarvis
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 05:50 p.m.

    Hi Chih-Ing,

    No, our sample did not include children with disabilities. Do you have thoughts on whether effects would be similar or different for them?

  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 06:15 p.m.

    It is possible (but would need to be tested) that children with autism spectrum disorder MIGHT not react in the same way to 'being part of a social group.'  

  • May 8, 2020 | 11:15 a.m.

     

    I would think that the effects can be similar if activities are individualized based on the needs of the children with disabilities. The desired outcomes of inclusion for children with and without disabilties is "a sense of belonging and membership, positive social relationships and friendships, and development and learning to reach their full potential" (NAEYC/DEC, 2009), so that already aligns well with your project. There is also evidence in autism literature that peer-based interventions can lead to positive outcomes for children with autism: https://ncaep.fpg.unc.edu/sites/ncaep.fpg.unc.edu/files/imce/documents/EBP%20Report%202020.pdf 

     
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    Allison Master
    Marley Jarvis
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2020 | 11:43 a.m.

    Yes, the individualization piece you mention is so important! Thanks so much for sharing: that's a really great resource.

  • May 7, 2020 | 05:37 p.m.

    Nice work! The social belonging and connection is an important aspect to STEM learning that is often overlooked. Our project is Culturally Responsive Indigenous Science Project: Connecting Land, Language and Culture. Our aim is to increase Native American students (5-8th grade) engagement and aspirations in STEM. We have focused on increasing students' sense of belonging by engaging Native American elders and cultural/language specialists to help design curriculum utilizing indigenous knowledge systems and co-teach science classes to help remove stigmas that Native American people aren't "scientists" when in fact they are an innovative scientist. Your video highlights all the STEM-related activities children do without knowing, which is also important for children to realize. Thanks, Zoe

     
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    Marley Jarvis
    Allison Master
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 05:58 p.m.

    Hi Zoe,

    Thanks for sharing your project as well! You bring up such an important point that students from underrepresented backgrounds can feel excluded from having an identity as a "scientist." There's some really interesting new research that talking about "doing science" instead of "being a scientist" can help girls and young children from racial/ethnic minority backgrounds feel more interested and efficacious in science (Lei, Green, Leslie, & Rhodes, 2019):

    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111...

    I love how your project uses both the people and the cultural knowledge systems to help students feel a better sense of belonging and connection in science.

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Meena Balgopal

    Meena Balgopal

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 7, 2020 | 06:20 p.m.

    Thanks for sharing your interesting project and video! As I was learning about your work on belonging, it made me think of our work on place-based education (PBE). One of the goals of PBE is to help learners (and teachers) feel connected to their local community through locally relevant issues. We are focusing on environmental place-based issues, which almost always include social and cultural issues. What a perfect opportunity for PBE lessons to address issues of belonging.

     
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    Marley Jarvis
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 07:23 p.m.

    That's so great! I love that you're bringing in place-based learning to this conversation. What affirms our identity and sense of belonging can be so varied across individuals, cultures, and communities. I'm excited to check out your project!

     
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    Meena Balgopal
  • Icon for: Sapna Cheryan

    Sapna Cheryan

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 12:37 a.m.

    Just wanted to say hi Meena Balgopal! This is Sapna Cheryan from Urbana. Sounds like you are doing some really interesting work. Would be fun to connect at some point! Thanks for your interest in this work! 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • May 7, 2020 | 09:36 p.m.

    Belonging is so important to engagement I am glad you are doing this work. I am especially drawn to the intervention, which might target System 1 processes. Do you know if increased persistence is the main source of improved performance, and what other factors are at play? As an prior engineer I also greatly appreciate the focus on broadening STEM participation. I definitely attribute the lack of diversity to driving me away. Great research! Thank you for sharing it

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • May 8, 2020 | 05:18 a.m.

    Wonderful video. And Kudos to Marley for her skillful animation. (What software?  I loved your swimming brain--our project is at an Aquarium and this might be an interesting image to put into one of our video productions.  Is that an animated .gif, or what?).  Serious question:  were there ethical issues involved with telling kids they were part of a group when no such group actually existed?  Some discussants wanted to know if this approach works on adults.  I have only to think about brown shirts and red hats and white sheets to know that it does, in frightening ways.  Were such questions raised by your IRB for this vulnerable population?

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 8, 2020 | 09:36 a.m.

    Hi Jeffrey,

    (I'll leave the software question for Marley to answer.)

    That's a very important point. Our IRB (and an IRB at another institution who approved earlier similar studies) did not see any ethical concerns for this procedure. Since there were many children who participated, they really were part of a group that existed in our lab across time. The poster of "other green group members" that we showed to children had photographs of local children who had already participated in similar studies in our lab.

    The ease with which human beings create in-group and out-group biases and prejudices is a serious concern, with serious real-world consequences. We often mention this when we talk about the implications of fostering a sense of group connectedness in schools. Teachers must also make sure that they do not create an out-group in the classroom. One way for teachers to do this is to great classroom-wide identities, so everyone feels included.

     
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    Carol Fletcher
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 8, 2020 | 12:30 p.m.

    Hi Jeffrey, thank you for your very important question. Allison gave a great answer, but I thought I'd share her full paper that this video is based on as she and her co-authors talk much more about this in Master, Cheryan, and Meltzoff, 2016: http://ilabs.uw.edu/sites/default/files/17Master_Cheryan_Meltzoff_Making%20math%20social_DP.pdf

    And thank you for your comments around the animations. I mostly drew into the Procreate app on my iPad, but some illustrations were drawn in Photoshop. Both allow you to either make a GIF or export single images which you can piece together in a movie editing software like iMovie, which is what I did here. I'll also note that the free and open-source software Gimp makes a great Photoshop alternative if you don't have access to paid software at the moment. I've made many similar illustrations in Gimp, which also has the same capacity to export images or GIFs. I was envisioning the brain as flying (super brain!) but it's always great to see how my illustrations are interpreted by others. I'm a former marine scientist, so always interesting to see connections to work at Aquaria. Thanks for your comments!

     
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    Carol Fletcher
  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    May 8, 2020 | 05:05 p.m.

    This is a lovely video, and nicely narrated. I want to come back to Marcia's question. The video frames the problem as losing interest in STEM over time, and wonders about the social aspect of belonging. But then the research studies the effect of perceived social belonging in really young kids, where simple playfulness and curiosity make kids be part of STEM (since they don't care about the terms: things are about flowers, and dinosaurs, and trucks and helping make cup cakes, and exploring the outdoors etc. On the other hand, we know a lot about the role of group belonging and cohorts. That made me wonder: what relevance does the study have for the framing in the video?  Again, I think it is a great project and a fantastic video, but I am not sure how it connects to all the work being done in "keeping the choir" together through a plethora of mechanisms that are related to group belonging, all the way from young age to grad school.

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 8, 2020 | 06:30 p.m.

    Hi Martin, I recognize your name back from when I worked with Eve and Anna at Pacific Science Center (I was on the Portal to the Public team there), so it's nice to see your comment!

    Thank you for asking about the relevancy of the age of children in the study. You are absolutely correct that young children (even infants!) naturally use STEM skills. This framing is central to our study because, unfortunately, children as young as those in our study are already developing self-concepts around their identity and stereotypes as it pertains to math and STEM. Some of our other research that has developed a timeline of sorts, for example as described in Cvencek, Meltzoff, & Greenwald 2011.

    Many children are bombarded with social messages that they are not cut out for STEM, and this can make quite an impact - even before early elementary school. Though, as you mention, our identities are evolving from childhood through adulthood and continue to be impacted by the social messages we receive. Some of our other research has looked at older students, for example in how stereotypes reflected in classroom environments can impact children's interest and sense of belonging such as in Master, Cheryan, and Meltzoff, 2015.

    A lot of our work, including this study, is aimed at exploring possible ways to counter the negative impacts of stereotypes. This video highlights one of the ways we have explored for broadening a sense of belonging to a group that is good at STEM to include groups that don't normally get this message.

    I hope that helps!

  • Icon for: Martin Storksdieck

    Martin Storksdieck

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2020 | 02:28 p.m.

    Hi Marley,

    Good to see you here: I had forgotten the connection to PoP!

    Thanks for the explanation. I am still puzzled about your video's narrative, though. You are setting it up by saying that kids lose interest as they get older, then say that early math skills are predictors of future academic success (acting through a whole bunch of mediating factors, right?) and then you ask "how can we help children stay motivated", which suggests keeping them engaged in STEM later. Maybe it is just my expectation from this framing that confuses me, but it feels as if you are looking at social belonging as a mechanism to craft early STEM identities. in terms of your problem statement: are you saying that you can inoculate the kids against later mechanisms that pull them away from STEM?  Will you go back in a few years and check with the kids in your sample?

     

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2020 | 06:08 p.m.

    Hi Martin, thanks for the conversation. Messaging and crafting a narrative is such an iterative process, so it's really valuable to hear when it's not quite working for some audiences. I'd love to better understand what's not clicking for you. 

    Given the many benefits of having strong early STEM skills plus the growing opportunity gap for some children, there is a lot of interest in trying to boost children's early STEM skills. Often this results in a focus on simply increasing the amount of time children spend working on these skills (e.g. preschool math curricula). In contrast, with this study we were interested to learn whether a social aspect--belonging to an "in-group" associated with STEM--might positively impact young children's engagement with STEM. This wasn't a longitudinal study, but that would be a fantastic next step in this research to be able to do so!

    And yes, we do anticipate that these kinds of interventions would have positive effects on young children impacted by negative stereotypes around who "can do STEM." In other words, we believe that all children have the ability to succeed in STEM: it's just when our societal beliefs and stereotypes get in the way that we begin to see disparities. Thus to counter this, we think a key area of focus is in creating more opportunities for positive engagement for all children around STEM while affirming and honoring children's identities.

    For example, in some of our other work (Master, Cheryan, Moscatelli, and Meltzoff, 2017) we found that, while initially 6-year-olds held stereotypes that boys were better at robots and programing, a short robotics session that was fun and engaging eliminated these gender differences in technology interest and self-efficacy. We don't know how "big a dose" of positive experiences are needed for each individual (though even the minimal amount provided in this intervention was very effective), or how long these effects might last. These are excellent areas for future investigation.

    In general, we know that humans tend to learn best through meaningful, identity-affirming, social experiences rather than mindless repetition. So while it is essential that all children have access to STEM, we believe that a key way to achieve this meaningfully is to incorporate social engagement strategies like the ones we mention here. Through our research, we hope to provide practical ideas that can be used as simple interventions or integrated into classrooms, informal learning environments, or the home to help make a difference in boosting girls' and other underserved children's interest in STEM.

     

  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2020 | 03:32 p.m.

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks so much for this discussion! In addition to Marley's comments, I wanted to point to another resource for understanding how a sense of belonging in STEM is important for children throughout development. Andy and I just published a review of research on STEM stereotypes and their impact on motivation from a developmental perspective: http://genderandset.open.ac.uk/index.php/gender...

    There is also some very interesting new research on how even preschool children are less motivated in science if they feel excluded from having an identity as a "scientist": https://www.pnas.org/content/117/18/9808

    It sounds like our video was just missing a little narrative piece that connects the importance of fostering a sense of belonging and identification with STEM at a young age to the barriers that many students face as they get older in STEM (like cultural stereotypes). I agree it would be very valuable to have longitudinal studies that track the development of young children's motivation in STEM (and consequences of effects like ours). 

  • May 9, 2020 | 08:17 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful video, it was a pleasure to watch it and to read the comments. Your findings are really interesting and the implications can operate at many different levels and contexts.

    For example, when I collect videos in classrooms, I observe that some students do not engage in whole group conversations organized by their teachers. While most students show signs that they listen and share ideas with each other, some of them do not visibly engage in the discussion. While can be different reasons for that, I have been asking myself if it is in any way related to a sense of belonging to the group trying to answer the focus question because they are "good" at it.

    But then, I have been positively surprised to see that as the conversation moves forward, nearly all students end up contributing to the group that they see forming around the effort of co-constructing answers - even by simply marking agreement through gestures with what a classmate says.

    I feel like it has to do with teacher moves and the nature of what is asked of them. For example, I see teachers asking students to prioritize classmates who haven't shared yet, when they pick who will talk next. Also, it looks like asking them to answer intriguing and open-ended focus questions that invite to prolonged discussions, makes an increasing amount of students take agency over the co-construction of knowledge. Especially when what matters to the teacher is how they reason to support their ideas, rather than the ideas themselves.

    To go back to your third question, I wonder how such dialogic teaching might foster the sense of belonging. Can it affect the feeling of not belonging that underserved and underrepresented children might feel?

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Chris Mainhart

    Chris Mainhart

    K-12 Teacher
    May 9, 2020 | 08:43 p.m.

    I really like the video. I plan to share it with my preschool colleagues. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 10, 2020 | 11:17 a.m.

    Great, thank you. And thanks for sharing this with folks on the front-lines. Let us know how you embody it in the real world. Probably using colored t-shirts won't be effective, but there are many good, practical ways of conveying team work and group activities. Good luck!

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    feng-ming tsao

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2020 | 07:52 a.m.

    I am a teacher in Taiwan, and would like to share this info with my students.

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2020 | 11:44 a.m.

    That's wonderful to hear! And if they have any feedback for us, please do pass it along.

  • Icon for: Andrew Meltzoff

    Andrew Meltzoff

    Co-Presenter
    May 10, 2020 | 11:16 a.m.

    Feng-ming, Hello Taiwan! We are happy that this work on 'social groups' has resonance in your setting.

    In fact, there is reason to believe that Asian cultures often bring in notions of "belongingness" and "working for and with the group" as part of education and everyday life. If we are to develop sound principles and practical strategies for supporting children's interests in STEM, we will want to take into account societies and cultures beyond the USA. Our team is trying to do this as best we can. 

  • Icon for: Preeti Gupta

    Preeti Gupta

    Facilitator
    May 10, 2020 | 04:21 p.m.

    The construct of " Belonging" has been a key thread of conversation in this discussion and it is such as rich one! Lots of research has looked at this construct across the age spans and yet it is still an under-studied idea ..so thank you for the contribution of your work to our growing understanding.. I wanted to unpack the word a bit more.

    In the discussion I am seeing belonging being used in several ways..

    1)Belonging to a group (like the green group) as a motivation in itself. The group itself is not doing anything but just knowing that you are part of a group is sufficient. 

    2) Belonging to a group that is contributing to society is some way..I think of Cultural History Activity Theory and the seminal paper by Roth & Lee from 2007, "Vygotsky's neglected legacy": Cultural historical activity theory." where they describe how youth develop identities as environmental scientists by being and doing the work of one alongside others on an authentic project of cleaning up a creek. There are several projects in this showcase that are doing exactly that, not necessarily linking to CHAT, but are talking about identity development. So doing authentic work creates a sense of belonging to that work and being identified as one that contributes to that work.

    3) Then there is belonging in the sense of a group, a cohort, a gang. a sorority, etc. It has to do with buying-in to the mission of the group and then being accepted into that group and ultimately having the power to accept others into the group. 

    What do you all think? 

    Presenters: would you say that your project really is about belonging in the way I wrote in point 1?

     
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    Marley Jarvis
  • Icon for: Allison Master

    Allison Master

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 09:57 a.m.

    Hi Preeti,

    Thanks for this discussion!  In some of our previous work, we've argued that #1 and #2 are theoretically intertwined (Master & Walton, 2013). The social motivation that arises from #1 lays the foundation for #2. This is in line with Vygotsky's work on "internalization": the interpersonal becomes the intrapersonal. When young children are part of a group that is "like me" (Meltzoff, 2007), they develop a sense of shared intentionality--"this is who we are, and these are the things that we do." This kind of motivation for the group's shared goals can help support collective engagement in cultural practices (Tomasello et al., 2005). This relates to Barbara Rogoff's work as well (see her comment above).

    Your #3 feels a little different to me--it makes me think about the choices that students make to enter into a group voluntarily. To me, this one also connects to the process of developing a sense of identification with the group, and it makes me think about the research on how students develop (or fail to develop) a sense of identity related to STEM--as a scientist or "math person" or "tech person."

    Would love to hear others' thoughts as well!

     
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    Marley Jarvis
    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Faiza Peetz, MD

    Faiza Peetz, MD

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2020 | 09:51 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work. I agree, children are indeed born scientists and the limiting thought of telling a child that math or science is only for boys does a disservice to the population as a whole. I must say, this notion is something I encountered here in the US. I have never heard of math or science being only for boys in the country where I come from (Germany)

  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2020 | 11:51 a.m.

    Thanks for your comment! You are absolutely right that stereotypes and bias change depending on country and cultural context. And they have to, since we form bias based on the societal messages we receive. Additionally, the "math is for boys" stereotype doesn't need to be something children are told directly for it to seep in through cultural messages like media. So many interesting things to unpack and think about! I'd love to hear more about how you think this relates to your home country and the experiences you've had in the US. Thanks so much for sharing. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • May 11, 2020 | 10:00 a.m.

    Great research and engaging video. I run a research project working with a group of middle and high school teachers all focused on increasing female representation and success in computer science courses called AWSM in CS (Accelerating Women's Success and Mastery in Computer Science). We've worked with our teachers explicitly on the construct of student "identity" but this goes even further to focus on the community building that needs to happen to support that individual CS identity. I"m wondering if anyone has practical suggestions for high school teachers on how to structure a class to build that sense of community? 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 11, 2020 | 12:00 p.m.

    Hi Carol, thanks so much for sharing your work: I look forward to checking out your program and video! Building community around supporting CS identity is such important work. As far as practical suggestions, I think a great place to start is to have high school teachers in taking an "audit" of their learning spaces, such as their classrooms. Students spend so much of their day sitting in classrooms, and small signals that they do (or don't) belong can be hidden amongst the objects in the room and have a powerful effect. You might be interested in checking out some of our research on this as it directly pertains to CS and high school girls. You can access this paper here in Master, Cheryan, and Meltzoff, 2015. For general resources for supporting middle and high school girls in STEM, I always like to recommend SciGirls. They have some great resources that you can download for free that provide practical tips! I hope that helps.

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Larry Bell

    Larry Bell

    Informal Educator
    May 11, 2020 | 10:47 a.m.

    This is very interesting work and, as the discussion above suggests, lead to a number of interesting questions. I am particularly interested in the finding that your subjects seem to have adopted values or behaviors associated with a peer group the members of which they never had interacted with. I wonder if there is an age at which that assignment to a peer group no longer works because of membership in an actual peer group. I am making a big leap here to socio-scientific decision-making where personal experience and peer-group values trump scientific evidence in decision-making, a phenomenon referred to in some comments above.  This seems relevant not only to the commitment to an extra effort in learning but also to all sorts of other behaviors.

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 12, 2020 | 05:01 p.m.

    Hi Larry, thanks for the discussion! One of the things your comment brings to mind is wonderings about how likely a child might be to actually identify with a group as they get older. For example, you could imagine a preschooler finding a math group as "cool" but perhaps that's a harder sell for a teenager. Regardless of age, though, feeling a sense of shared identity with the group seems to matter quite a bit. So rather than age, it seems like identifying with the group is likely to matter more. This seems to be coming through in some of our most recent research that Allison references in answer to Catherine's question earlier in this discussion. More on that soon, as this work is currently being written up for publication.

     

  • Icon for: Larry Bell

    Larry Bell

    Informal Educator
    May 12, 2020 | 05:21 p.m.

    Thanks for your reply, Marley.

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    SIMON M.YALAMS

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2020 | 02:00 p.m.

    What a wonderful idea. I am excited with it. This is really good. 

  • Icon for: Lucía Alcalá

    Lucía Alcalá

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 11, 2020 | 11:07 p.m.

    What an interesting video! I see similar patterns in the Maya village where I work. Children report helping and learning new things (such as the use of medicinal plants) because they feel connected to their family and they want to help others in need. 

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Icon for: Marley Jarvis

    Marley Jarvis

    Lead Presenter
    Outreach and Education Specialist
    May 12, 2020 | 05:04 p.m.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Lucía! It's so important to understand this research in context with the many languages, experiences, and cultures of children around the world. I'm excited to check out your video as well!

  • May 12, 2020 | 10:23 a.m.

    Great highlight of the importance of early childhood education, and engaging ways to bring our earliest learners into STEM fields!

  • Small default profile

    Zhidan Wang

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 12, 2020 | 12:01 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing this interesting video. As a developmental psychologist from China, I have benefited a lot from this video. I think these findings are even very helpful in promoting STEM education in my country.

     
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    Andrew Meltzoff
  • Small default profile

    Keen

    Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2020 | 04:50 p.m.

    May I ask what is the main purpose of this research.Have the opportunity to communicate.

     
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    Keen
  • Icon for: Keen

    Keen

    Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2020 | 04:50 p.m.

    May I ask what is the main purpose of this research.Have the opportunity to communicate.

     
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    Keen
  • Small default profile

    chang

    Undergraduate Student
    May 12, 2020 | 07:21 p.m.

    This video looks great and makes us very excited. This will surprise many parents and teachers. 

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