Take me to the science center!
Evidence that visits to the local science center matter in children’s sense of scientific relevance and their own self-efficacy in science
Analyses of data from our Multi-Modal Science Effects Study reveals a significant and positive relationships between visiting science centers and children’s perceived science relevance and science self-efficacy. Over 1,700 fifth and sixth-grade students were asked to rate their level of agreement to questions such as “Science will be useful in my future” and “Science helps me understand the world around me” that are designed to measure a perceived relevance of science. Additionally, students were asked to rate their level of agreement to the questions “I like science” and “I know quite a bit about science” that are designed to measure a perceived science self-efficacy.
These ratings for science relevance and science self-efficacy were then averaged and their relationships with science center visitation analyzed.
Utilizing T-Tests, we found that children who had visited their local science center at least once in their life had higher ratings of science relevance than those that had not (4.00 and 3.87 respectively on a scale of 1 to 5). We also found that children who had visited their local science center at least once in their life had higher ratings of science self-efficacy than those that had not (4.08 and 3.98 respectively on a scale of 1 to 5).
Additionally, utilizing a regression model, we found that every visit to the local science center could predict a corresponding increase of .015 units in children’s science self-efficacy rating.
Interestingly, this relationship was slightly greater for girls, in which each visit could predict a corresponding increase of .016 units.
While the statistical tests we utilized don’t prove causation, their statistically significant and predictive quality provides evidence that there definitely is a positive relationship between science center visits and children’s sense of the relevance of science and their own self-efficacy with science.
Another great reason to round up the kids and head out to the science center this weekend!
Posted Mar 23, 2022