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For girls, learning the sciences outside is related to better grades, knowledge

For girls, learning the sciences outside is related to better grades, knowledge

The Muddy Sneakers program uses the outdoors to engage children in science. Credit: WNC Capture

In a new study, researchers at North Carolina State University found that an outdoor science program was related to a higher average science degree and an increase in scientific knowledge for a group of fifth-graders. North Carolina degree.

The findings, published in International Journal of Science Education, indicates that outdoor education could be a promising tool to help close gender gaps in science.

“The outdoors is a space where teachers can find tangible ways to revive science,” said the study’s lead author, Kathryn Stevenson, assistant professor of parks, recreation and tourism management at NC State. “The natural environment is also a place that everyone has in common. In a way, it is also an ideal context for employing reform-based teaching practices such as hands-on learning, research-based learning or group work. internships can be good for all students, but they can be especially good for reaching students who are not so well served in the classroom. “

The researchers studied the impact of an outdoor science education program called Muddy Sneakers on the scientific grades and science knowledge and attitudes of fifth-graders. Fifth grade students in western North Carolina attended between six and ten days of mute shoes during the 2016-2017 school year. They had science classes in nearby natural areas, including state parks and the school grounds. Outdoor lessons followed the standard course of science study through hands-on activities, field trips, science journalism, nature exploration, and reflections.

The researchers compared the performance of 237 students who learned science in the classroom with 403 students who participated in the outdoor program. They compared students ’grades (which were provided by their teachers) and also used surveys to assess students’ knowledge of how science works and their feelings about science.

When the researchers assessed students’ scientific grades by gender, they found that the girls who participated in the outdoor science program maintained their average science grades, while the average grades of girls in science classes traditional went down. They also saw that participating in the outdoor program helped girls learn more about how science works on average, but traditional classrooms did not.

Boys in the traditional and outer classes had a fairly stable average of scientific grades and saw similar gains in knowledge of how science works.

The researchers reported that their findings for girls were consistent with research showing that girls begin to break away from science around the age of 10. he argued.

“Outdoor education seems to be one of those contexts that helps everyone learn, but it can be very helpful for some students in particular,” Stevenson said.

On average, students of both genders who participated in the program experienced an increase in scientific qualifications. In comparison, they saw a decrease in the grades of students who did not participate. In addition, students of both genders reported greater knowledge of how science works on average, but there were no differences between treatment groups. They saw no significant differences for students of color.

When they assessed self-efficacy grades, which is students ’confidence in their own scientific ability and interest in the field, they found that the ratings of boys and girls actually decreased on average.

The researchers argued that measuring the effectiveness of science may miss an important component that could be more important in fostering long-term interest in science: an attitude of persistence despite failure. It could be that the results captured students being less likely to see scientific ability as an innate talent rather than the product of hard work.

They also say the outdoor program could have been a new challenge for students. This could explain why students had less confidence in their scientific ability after the program, but still show gains in science grades and know how science works.

“A good combination for students to stay successful is: they need to learn, but they feel comfortable without knowing everything,” Stevenson said. “Even though self-efficacy fell, the successes were stable.”

Shocking science teaching requires five hours a week of instruction

More information:
Kathryn T. Stevenson et al. How outdoor science education can help girls stay committed to science, International Journal of Science Education (2021). DOI: 10.1080 / 09500693.2021.1900948

Provided by North Carolina State University

Citation: For girls, learning science out of the best grades, knowledge (2021, April 6), retrieved April 6, 2021 at -girls-science-linked-grades-knowledge.html

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