Learning About Learning

September 15th, 2012 - August 31st, 2016 | PROJECT

In late 2012, Providence Children’s Museum began a major three-year research project in collaboration with The Causality and Mind Lab at Brown University, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (1223777). Researchers at Brown examined how children develop scientific thinking skills and understand their own learning processes. The Museum examined what caregivers and informal educators understand about learning through play in its exhibits and how to support children’s metacognition – the ability to notice and reflect on their own thinking – and adults’ awareness and appreciation of kids’ thinking and learning through play. Drawing from fields like developmental psychology, informal education and museum visitor studies, the Museum’s exhibits team looked for indicators of children’s learning through play and interviewed parents and caregivers about what they noticed children doing in the exhibits, asking them to reflect on their children’s thinking. Based on the findings, the research team developed and tested new tools and activities to encourage caregivers to notice and appreciate the learning that takes place through play.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Project Products

Learning About Learning
Learning About Learning Summative Evaluation

Team Members

Robin Meisner, Project Manager, Providence Children's Museum
David Sobel, Principal Investigator, Brown University
Susan Letourneau, Project Staff, Providence Children's Museum
Jessica Neuwirth, Project Staff, Providence Children's Museum
Valerie Haggerty-Silva, Project Staff, Providence Children's Museum
Chris Sancomb, Project Staff, Providence Children's Museum
Camellia Sanford-Dolly, Evaluator, Rockman et al
Claire Quimby, Evaluator, Rockman et al


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: REAL
Award Number: 1223777


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Learning Researchers | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: General STEM | Nature of science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs