Development of Knowledge About Electricity and Magnetism During a Visit to a Science Museum and Related Post-Visit Activities

September 1st, 2000 | RESEARCH

This article reports on part of a larger study of how 11- and 12-year-old students construct knowledge about electricity and magnetism by drawing on aspects of their experiences during the course of a school visit to an interactive science museum and subsequent classroom activities linked to the science museum exhibits. The significance of this study is that it focuses on an aspect of school visits to informal learning centers that has been neglected by researchers in the past, namely the influence of post-visit activities in the classroom on subsequent learning and knowledge construction. This study provides evidence that the integrated series of post-visit activities resulted in students constructing and reconstructing their personal knowledge of science concepts and principles represented in the science museum exhibits, sometimes toward the accepted scientific understanding and sometimes in different and surprising ways. A descriptive interpretive approach was adopted, with principal data sources comprising student-generated concept maps and semistructured interviews at three stages of the study. Findings demonstrate the interrelationships between learning that occurs at school, home, and in informal learning settings. The study also underscores for classroom teachers and staff of science museums and similar centers the importance of planning pre- and post-visit activities. The importance of this planning is not only to support the development of scientific conceptions, but also to detect and respond to alternative conceptions that may be produced or strengthened during a visit to an informal learning center.


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Team Members

David Anderson, Author, Queensland University of Technology
Keith Lucas, Author, Queensland University of Technology
Ian Ginns, Author, Queensland University of Technology
Lynn Dierking, Author, Institute for Learning Innovation


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1002/1098-237X(200009)84:5<658::AID-SCE6>3.0.CO;2-A

Publication: Science Education
Volume: 84
Number: 5
Page(s): 658

Related URLs;2-A/abstract


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Chemistry | Education and learning science | Engineering | Physics
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Museum and Science Center Programs | Public Programs