Animals, Emperors, Senses: Exploring a Story-based Learning Design in a Museum Setting

January 1st, 2014 | RESEARCH

The aim of this qualitative case study was to explore the use of stories as tools for learning within formal and informal learning environments. The design was based on three areas of interest: (a) the story as a tool for learning; (b) the student as subjects engaging with the story; and (c) the context in which the story learning activity takes place. In this study, students were engaged in a themed exhibit about human and animal senses at a public science centre. A story was created to support students’ engagement and interaction with the themed exhibit. The story was specially designed to provide opportunities for designing and conducting inquiry-based investigations in pre- and post-activities at school and at the science centre. Seven classes (20–25 students each) from third to sixth grade participated in the study. Four classes where fourth graders. Grades 3, 5, and 6 were each represented by one class. Data were collected through observations, teacher and student interviews, lesson plans, and assignments in a period of six months. The analysis of the data showed that three parameters influenced the use of the story: (a) the ways in which teachers used the story; (b) students’ and teachers’ understanding of the story-based learning activities; and (c) structural and design components of the story. These findings illustrate the value of stories, as learning tools, in science education and have implications for story-based learning designs in formal and informal learning environments.


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Team Members

Mai Murmann, Author, Experimentarium
Lucy Avraamidou, Author, University of Nicosia


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1080/21548455.2012.760857

Publication: International Journal of Science Education, Part B
Volume: 4
Number: 1
Page(s): 66

Related URLs


Audience: Elementary School Children (6-10)
Discipline: Education and learning science | General STEM
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits