Effects of the School Science Fair on Students’ Understandings of Science: Personalized reflections on research published 1995-2015

Nicolle, Sarah (2016) Effects of the School Science Fair on Students’ Understandings of Science: Personalized reflections on research published 1995-2015. [Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)]

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Abstract

Science teachers hope that their school science fair will improve participating students’ understandings of science but sometimes, as in the example of the author’s prior case-example (Nicolle, 2015a), outcomes of the event fail to deliver the expected gains. Using a personalized mixed-methods approach, in this study the author holistically explores the question “What are the effects of the school science fair on participating students’ understandings of science?” as a means to understanding the (disappointing) outcomes in her own school science fair case-example.

An empirical ‘bottoms-up’ process following the tenets of basic qualitative research (Ary, 2006) is used to collate and critically review recent scoped research literature in order to expose and categorize effects of the school science fair on participating students’ understandings of science. In parallel, via an interpretive methodology termed ‘bricolage’ (Kincheloe and Berry, 2004), knowledge from the same literature corpus is assessed ‘tops-down’ in the light of the author’s personal case example.

Finally, aligning with twenty-first century pedagogy (for example, Dillon, 2009), it is discussed how reflections adopting a world-view beyond simplistic notions of success in school science fairs leads the author to new insights into the outcomes of the participant students’ understandings of science. By considering her own case example, the author suggests that a re-framing of expectations by participant teachers and students alike may lead to an enhanced appreciation of how their school science fair has been a valuable catalyst of students’ understandings of science. Further suggestions for research are made for academic stakeholders, school science teachers and their science fair students.

Item Type: Dissertation (University of Nottingham only)
Depositing User: Gigg, Diane
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2017 13:28
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2017 09:52
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/44652

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