Doctor of Education
Instruction & Curriculum Leadership
Celia Rousseau Anderson
Calls for increased involvement in science outreach have come from scientists (Alberts, 2018; Friedman, 2008), from professional organizations (Jayaratne et al., 2003; Lee, 2018; Toolin, 2004) and from funding agencies (Broadening Participation, 2008; Catsambis, 1995) to increase students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and STEM careers. One model of science outreach is the scientist in the classroom model, where a STEM professional visits a school classroom either in-person (Peker et al., 2012; Pratt and Yezierski, 2018) or virtually (Barry et al., 2022; McCombs et al., 2007). The St. Jude Virtual Journal Club is a scientist in the classroom program where participating classes receive three virtual visits from three different scientists. Scientist participants are trained in effective science communication prior to their virtual visits. To better support teachers in the program, the current project asked teachers to design their own research into the St. Jude Virtual Journal Club program through participatory action research (PAR). PAR was chosen to ensure that teachers had an active voice throughout the research process. The four participating teacher co-researchers chose to evaluate two research questions: 1) Does participation in the St. Jude Virtual Journal Club increase students’ interest in STEM or STEM careers?, and 2) Are students able to understand the content and to think through applications of the St. Jude Virtual Journal Club talks? Through student surveys and reflections, we found that, while our population of students held less stereotypical views of scientists prior to the outreach program, student reflections focused more on the actions and motivations of scientists after the program. We also found that our students were able to understand most of the content of the talks and were able to make some connections between the talks and the subject content but not to the same extent for all the speakers and classes. This study offers a novel approach to integrate teachers into science outreach research using PAR methodology. Use of PAR methodology is a powerful way to give teachers voice and to ensure relevancy of science outreach to their classrooms.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.
Montague, Shelby Anne, "Integrating a Virtual Science Outreach Into the Science Classroom Through Participatory Action Research" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3306.