A Comparison Of The Effectiveness Of Two Instructional Techniques In A Planetarium Setting

Schmoll, Shannon Elizabeth (2013) A Comparison Of The Effectiveness Of Two Instructional Techniques In A Planetarium Setting. Doctoral thesis, University of Michigan Ann Arbor.


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Field trips are a ubiquitous part of modern school programs and can offer exciting, engaging, and authentic experience for students to learn science. There has been extensive research on how to best integrate field trips with classroom instruction so they can reach their full potential. Planetaria are often ignored in this literature, which is unfortunate as they are more didactic and structured environments than other informal spaces such as museums, but can still offer positive affect and learning gains to students outside of the classroom. The goal of this dissertation is to explore the unique aspects of learning in planetaria as informal settings. This is done by testing a curriculum on apparent celestial motion that integrates the planetarium and classroom environments based on the School-Museum Integrated Learning Experiences in Science (SMILES) (Griffin, 1998) framework for integrating classroom and museum learning. Data in the form of interviews, class work, audio-visual recordings, and surveys were analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods to find examples of the 6 strands of informal learning (National Research Council, 2012) and suggest revisions to the SMILES framework for use with planetaria. The results showed examples of all 6 strands of informal learning, suggesting the SMILES framework was appropriate for planetarium field trips. However, weaknesses in students’ descriptions of apparent celestial motion, reasoning skills, social interactions, and language use suggested revisions to the SMILES framework for use with planetaria. These revisions included addressing choice and control normally seen in museum settings in the classroom, preparing students for language in addition to concepts seen while on a field trip by providing teachers with a script or list of vocabulary to be addressed in context, have students collect data from the show and explicitly use it with scientific practices the classroom afterward to support multiple exposures to ideas and help them avoid using authority of facts gathered at the planetarium as a sole means of justifying answers, model specifically those scientific practices in the classroom, and address a single overarching topic in planetarium show or delineate changes between topics to avoid confusing students.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Astronomy Education Research
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2017 07:58
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2018 09:11
URI: http://istardb.org/id/eprint/168

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