What did you learn outside of school today? Using structured interviews to document home and community activities related to science and technology

  • Korpan C
  • Bisanz G
  • Bisanz J
 et al. 
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"Children's activities related to science, nature, and technology were studied via structured interviews of parents and students in pre-school through upper-elementary grades. Interviews can be used to construct profiles of students to be used as a platform upon which to build instruction. Describes how interviews were developed, what type of information the research obtained, and lessons learned" (Author/DKM). Methods used Two surveys were developed to be administered to kindergarten students' parent and to elementary aged students to uncover their leisure time habits surrounding science-related activities. The kindergarten surveys were divided into seven sections 1) child information, 2) watching television, 3) adult-child reading, 4) science activities in the home, 5) community outreach activities, 6) questions about science and technology, and 7) household information. Concepts used The authors advocate for the structured interview as a technique to have greater understanding of children's development, motivation, competencies areas of student expertise, presence and quality of science instruction and more. Claims made Kindergarten students: Children watch television shows about science on average 3 times a week and were rarely cited as a favorite programs. Parent read with their child 8 times a week and 83% of mothers read science related book to their children and on average 1 in 3 books relates to science, nature or technology. Once a month, 93% of parents reported participating with their child in a community outing related to science, technology or nature including zoos, science centers and science classes. Parents also reported a high percentage of children's questions about science, nature or technology, moderate to high interest in science and opportunities to do simple science experiments at home with their child. Elementary students: Children surveyed on average spent over 2 hours watching television shows about science, on average students participated in community activities relating to science just under 17 time per year, 40% read books about science, and spent little of their computer time on science.

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  • Connie A. Korpan

  • Gay L. Bisanz

  • Jeffrey Bisanz

  • Conrad Boehme

  • Mervyn A. Lynch

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