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Building Connections with Family Science Programs. Dr. Jake Noel-Storr Rochester Institute of Technology Insight Lab. Why family science?. Research shows that parental involvement has a positive impact on a child’s academic performance.

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Building connections with family science programs

Building Connections with Family Science Programs

Dr. Jake Noel-Storr

Rochester Institute of Technology

Insight Lab


Why family science
Why family science?

  • Research shows that parental involvement has a positive impact on a child’s academic performance.

  • Children with parents involved in their education have improved problem-solving skills, better school attendance, and fewer disciplinary issues.

  • Families have the greatest influence on children’s attitudes toward education and career choices.

  • Family science promotes a connection between parents, children, and learning.



Philosophy for reform
Philosophy for Reform

  • Philosophy founded on principles of improved achievement and attitude through parental involvement

  • Core components:

    • Families must learn together

    • Parent-child communication and collaboration

    • Support parents in learning how to learn with children

    • Support continuity in learning beyond these workshops

  • Programs must be based on robust evaluation, which in turn must be evaluated.


Example programs
Example Programs

  • Family Scientists Explore the Universe

  • NASA Family Science Night

  • Family Science for the Innovation Generation

  • NASA Science and Technology on the Family Calendar


Family scientists explore the universe
Family Scientists Explore the Universe

  • 8 after-school sessions through the year, hosted by the school co-led with scientist and teacher.

  • Families consist of at least one adult caregiver and one child (upper elementary)

  • Focus on recruiting and retaining families; not providing whole-class extra credit activities.

  • Designed around themes which include four science specific (physics, chemistry, biology, earth science) modules.


Nasa family science night
NASA Family Science Night

  • Nine workshops held monthly through the school year at the NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center Visitor Center, located in Greenbelt, MD [DC Metro Area]

  • “Families” must have one adult and one child aged 11-14 (younger children and ‘bringing friends’ are discouraged)

  • Sessions are in the evenings for two hours.

  • Facilitator Guides (and training) for every session will be available in the new year

  • Now being tested at other locations, we provide social networking for the facilitators


Nasa family science night sessions
NASA Family Science Night Sessions

How Big? How Far? How Old?

Have you ever seen the invisible?

You are here!

Tis’ the Season

Be a Star

Exploring the Moon

Batteries not Included

Now you see it … Now you don’t!

Searching for Other Worlds


Family science for the innovation generation
Family Science for the Innovation Generation

  • 12 modules across three topic areas (Beneath the Waves; Life in the Universe; Global Change).

  • 2 hour sessions following our most robust session design found to date

  • Modules and facilitator guides will be available in the spring.

  • Development supported by the Motorola Foundation.


Nasa science on the family calendar
NASA Science on the Family Calendar

  • Partnership between Rochester Institute of Technology and Rochester Museum and Science Center.

  • 3-year long program that will engage families in science and in developing themes science days for the museum.

  • Recruitment of first families begins later this month, with a new set of families starting every 2 months.

  • Foci on both Family Science Learning and Audience Engagement in designing new programs.


Evaluation
Evaluation

  • It is not only important to us to evaluate the effectiveness of our sessions, but also to develop effective evaluation tools

  • Mixed-methods approach:

    • Observations during each session by two trained observers

    • Surveys at the start and end of each session (for families, parents, and children)

    • Follow up conversations with participants

  • We do not evaluate the ‘content’ that anyone learns, but the effectiveness of families working together


Surveys
Surveys

  • Pre-session survey from families:

    • Understand and describe the “whole family”

    • Uncover any other recent family science activity

    • Discover any impacts of previous sessions

  • Post-session survey for Parents and kids:

    • Understand most and least effective parts of the event

    • Discover likelihood of return to future programs and of describing the science to others

    • Uncover any plans to engage in science activities over the next month

    • Find out if they are able to report learning anything new


Session observations
Session Observations

  • Each session is observed by two trained observers

    • Sessions are ‘scored’ based on learner-centerdness criteria

    • Observers report on family interaction and engagement during each session

    • Provide a ‘fly on the wall’ debrief for the facilitators



Future research
Future Research

  • Spun off from our evaluation tools, we hope to design research that will discover:

    • What strategies promote cohesive family learning

    • What key factors influence individual family member’s attitudes towards learning together

    • What drives families that learn together effectively as a group

    • What gains in attitudes towards science and science learning are promoted by family cooperation

  • Need to develop sophisticated database reference system to collate complex relationships in family data sets, allowing for evolution over time


Opportunities for collaboration
Opportunities for Collaboration

  • Participate in field-testing of materials for various programs

  • Contribute to the evaluation data sets after you run events

  • Consult on design and developing new family programs appropriate to your context


Building connections with family science programs1

Building Connections with Family Science Programs

Dr. Jake Noel-Storr

Rochester Institute of Technology

Insight Lab

[email protected]

http://insight.rit.edu

Find us on FaceBook: RIT Insight Lab


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