Telling the Stars: A Quantitative Approach to Assessing the Use of Folk Tales in Science Education
This research examines the impact of paired folk tales and science explanations on students in third through sixth grades who viewed program modules from the SkyTeller Project of Lynn Moroney and the Lunar and Planetary Institute of Houston, Texas. The audience consisted of over 3500 students in eight locations in the United States. Because few quantitative studies have been conducted to examine the use of stories in science education, the development of an instrument to assess students’ attitudes toward science and stories forms a major part of this research. During the final stage of testing, the revised instrument and methods found significant increase in positive attitude toward science after the presentations. Questionnaires, telephone calls, and on-site visits with program presenters and teachers confirmed quantitative results. Despite the difficulties of conducting large-scale studies and the traditionally small response compliance, quantitative assessment can provide useful information for evaluating storytelling media.