How Families Use Questions at Dioramas: Ideas for Exhibit Design

January 1st, 2004 | RESEARCH

This paper explores the role of questioning in scientific meaning-making as families talk, look and gesture in front of realistic and artful dioramas at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The focus is on the ways questioning can either enable movement towards scientific understanding or hinder such progress. The socio-cultural framework of this research emphasizes Vygotsky's interpretation of the zone of proximal development (zpd). Questions are viewed as tools for mediation in the zpd. This paper examines three families' dialogues, excerpted from a larger study of collaborative sense-making among family groups in a natural history museum. It seeks to understand how collaborative dialogue meshes everyday understandings with canonical science, in this case through the use of questions.


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Team Members

Doris Ash, Author, University of California, Santa-Cruz


Identifier Type: doi
Identifier: 10.1111/j.2151-6952.2004.tb00367.x

Publication: Curator: The Museum Journal
Volume: 47
Number: 1
Page(s): 84

Related URLs


Audience: Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Education and learning science | History | policy | law | Life science | Social science and psychology
Resource Type: Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits