Addressing the falling interest in school science in rural and remote areas using experiments and science fairs

Anderson, Neil, Courtney, Linda, Hajhashemi, Karim, and Zee, Ruth (2014) Addressing the falling interest in school science in rural and remote areas using experiments and science fairs. World Applied Sciences Journal, 30 (12). pp. 1839-1851.

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This paper reports on outcomes from the 'CYScience' project which was developed and used in North Queensland, Australia. This mainly 'hands-on' approach includes teacher professional development, a Science Fair and a CYScience experiment kit, consisting of many of the components required for the completion of the experiments outlined in the manual. There is also a website where information about the project and resources such as videos can be accessed. The prime motivation for development of the project was to contribute to addressing the problem of falling levels of interest in studying science in the state and nation’s student group, particularly in rural areas with an emphasis on Indigenous students. The founding proposition was that hands-on,inquiry-based science would boost student interest in science in ways that a didactic style of pedagogy failed to do. This paper outlines the evidence that interest in science has declined in Australia. It also examines the ongoing debate about the respective merits of inquiry versus didactic pedagogical approaches in terms of content development, understanding scientific processes, appreciation of science and preparation for effective citizenship whereby citizens are well-prepared to understand and participate in important public debates around issues such as climate change. Results will be presented from a mixed-method study that included data from the CYScience website evaluation survey; CYScience Fair and kit evaluation taken directly after delivery; telephone interviews approximately 12 months after the Science Fair, continuing use of the CYScience kit, as well as an in-depth interview with the CYScience facilitator. The paper concludes by examining the results and drawing conclusions concerning the effectiveness of the CYScience program.

Item ID: 32191
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1818-4952
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Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2014 01:09
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 100%
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